Lectures & Seminars

Month

  

Programs listed below are in chronological order.



The Pulse on Modern Medicine: Insights from NIH Experts

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

In a five-part series, listen to National Institutes of Health directors and scientific and medical experts discuss what is currently “hot” in biomedical research—and what it all means for our health and medical treatment today and in the future. This session features Eric Green, Director, National Human Genome Research Institute.

Rum: From Cane to Cask

Thursday, September 8, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Americans have been raising toasts with rum since before there officially was an America. Now rum is the latest drink to be caught in the craft-beverage boom. Get an overview of the spirit’s history in American, and try samples of rum-based cocktails, in an evening hosted by Reed Walker and Jordan Cotton, the duo behind Washington’s first rum distillery, Cotton & Reed.

Extravagant Elegance: The Gilded Age

Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

Art historian Bonita Billman examines the opulent art, architecture, fashion, and interior design of the American upper crust between 1870 and 1910, and also explores the dramatic distance between their lives and those on the other end of the social and economic scales. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Death and Beyond: Comparative Reflections on World Religious Traditions

Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

Finding meaning in death, as well what might follow, has long been a focus of global religions. Graham M. Schweig, a professor of philosophy and religion at Christopher Newport University, surveys differing visions of death—and the life that leads up to it— from a variety of Eastern and Western cultural perspectives.

Puzzling Out Politically Correct Language

Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 10:30 a.m.

What’s the good word? With today’s rapidly evolving language trends, sometimes it’s hard to know. Linguist Anne Curzan offers perspectives on a debate about contemporary terminology that can elicit both passion and bewilderment.

The Hollywood Musical: Four Decades of Magic! Part 3: The 1950s

Monday, September 12, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

The supposedly bland Eisenhower era was never more vibrant than when its exuberant musicals filled local movie houses with Technicolor-drenched, widescreen original productions and adaptations of big Broadway hits. American music specialist Robert Wyatt examines the decade when the studio musical reached its creative zenith.

Roald Dahl: The Curmudgeon Who Built Charlie’s Chocolate Factory

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

On the anniversary of Dahl’s birth, explore the life and art of this storyteller with author Daniel Stashower. Actor Scott Sedar offers a dramatic reading of some of Dahl’s most memorable writings as we raise a toast in celebration and enjoy a special cake.

The Supreme Court: A Preview of the New Term

Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 10 a.m.

Spend a morning getting a rare behind-the-scenes look at the Supreme Court—including the courtroom where cases are argued. Then, a panel of top legal experts previews the issues that will come before the court when the new session begins in October.

The Supreme Court: A Preview of the New Term (Afternoon Panel Only)

Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 1:30 p.m.

Spend the afternoon with a panel of top legal experts who will preview the issues that will come before the Supreme Court when the new session begins in October.

John Wilkes Booth

Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

The Many Cuisines of China

Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Skip the General Tsao’s Chicken. Cookbook author and illustrator Carolyn Phillips opens the door to the regional delights of Chinese dining that you’ve never known about when she offers an overview of the sweeping variety of cuisines within the country. Then shift from big to bite-sized as she shares tasty insights on dim sum’s traditions.

Cultural Heritage Sites of China

Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

From the grand splendor of the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace to the serene beauty of the gardens of Suzhou and the grand tombs of Ming and Qing dynasty rulers, spend a day with art historian Robert DeCaroli as he introduces spectacular places in China that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

The Harlem Renaissance: From New York to Washington, D.C.

Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 10 a.m.

Historian and scholar Michele L. Simms-Burton, a former professor of African-American studies at Howard University, leads a day that examines the creators and the works that came alive during one of the most creative and intellectually productive eras in African American history, the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.

Abstraction Takes Shape: 3D Printing and Math

Sunday, September 18, 2016 at 1 p.m.

Spend an afternoon watching and learning as mathematician and 3D designer Laura Taalman gives a 3D-printing demonstration and explains the process of transforming abstract geometrical ideas into beautiful objects.

Mid-Atlantic Cuisine on the Rise

Monday, September 19, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

From Chesapeake crab cakes to shoo-fly pie, Mid-Atlantic cuisine is now in the midst of rediscovery and revival. Chefs Jeremiah Langhorne and Spike Gjerde join Washington Post food and dining editor Joe Yonan to discuss the region’s culinary history and why it’s seeing a boost in popularity. They also talk about the trends that might be ahead on the regional dining horizon.

Frankenstein Revisited

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Two hundred years ago, Mary Shelley brought the tale of Victor Frankenstein and his man-made creature to life, and it shows no sign of fading from our consciousness. Bernard Welt of George Washington University explores the tale’s enduring power and its ever-evolving significance.

The Color of Beer

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

A Smithsonian Libraries exhibition at the Natural History Museum invites visitors to look at color in a new light. What you may not realize is that color is an important part of evaluating beer. In this special evening, beer expert Neil Witte leads a tasting that examines beer through the lens of color and what it signals about a beer’s flavor and how it was made.

Alessandro de’ Medici, the Black Prince of Florence

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Drawing on her new book, The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de’ Medici, historian Catherine Fletcher presents the story of a man and a family that is a never-ending source of fascination.

Mary Roach: The Curious Science of Humans at War

Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Can diarrhea be a threat to national security? Why are zippers a fashion problem for snipers? Author Mary Roach, whose books deftly combine popular science and humor, learned the answers to these—and plenty of other intriguing questions—as she researched and wrote her newest book, Grunt.

A Postal Salute to National Parks: Ethel Kessler on Designing Commemorative Stamps

Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

The centennial year of the National Park Service is being marked by the U.S. Postal Service with the release of a pane of Forever stamps that celebrate 16 national parks, created by award-winning stamp designer Ethel Kessler. She talks about the commemorative collections and how they represent the regional diversity of the National Park System.

Murals, Morals, and Krazy Kat: How Gilded-Age Artists Told America’s Story

Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Art historian Theodore Barrow examines the work of various muralists who played a key role in interpreting and magnifying stories and themes of American history in the Gilded Age. He also discusses artists like Winsor McCay and George Herriman, whose work reflected an entertaining and populist version of America’s story at that time. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Ottoman Arts

Saturday, September 24, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

Self-Publishing: A Practical Guide for Writers

Saturday, September 24, 2016 at 10 a.m.

In a practical and informative program, writer and self-published author Monica Bhide covers the basics of self-publishing, following the process from completed manuscript to published work. Important tips are also shared by a panel of authors who have successfully self-published, as well as founders of local publishing houses.

What is Your Attachment Style?: Building Better Relationships Through Science

Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 1 p.m.

According to psychiatrist and neuroscientist Amir Levine, each of us has one of three distinct attachment styles that describe our behavior in a relationship: anxious, secure, or avoidant. Find out what your own style is—and how to figure out the style of others. It can make a big difference in how we manage our close relationships.

Madagascar: A Lost World, Found

Monday, September 26, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

RESCHEDULED: Madagascar, the world’s fourth-largest island, had managed to keep its secrets for 40 million years. Among them were plants and animals that had evolved in isolation since the days of the dinosaurs. Edwin Smith, a biologist at the National Zoo, delves into some of Madagascar’s storied mysteries and explores the possibilities of the island’s future as human civilization expands across the once-isolated home of its unique plant and animal species.

DC’s Historic Sites: Welcome to Georgetown

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 12 p.m.

Our D.C. lunchtime lecture series continues with a focus on Georgetown. Founded in 1751, it predates the establishment of the federal district and Washington City by 40 years. Each week, expert lecturers focus on one of the extraordinary historic places that make Georgetown the unique neighborhood it is. This lecture features the Old Stone House.

Rembrandt: Close-up on a Master

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

The 17th-century Dutch painter and printmaker Rembrandt van Rijn is one of the great innovators in Western art. Using web-based, high-resolution images that provide a look at Rembrandt’s practice from an uncommonly close point of view, art historian Aneta Georgievska-Shine explores some of the most unique aspects of his artistic language. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Rock Creek Park: Washington’s True Wild Side

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

In a presentation that is a virtual journey through Rock Creek Park, local natural historian Melanie Choukas-Bradley talks about its history and shares her impressions of its natural wonders. Part of a Lecture & Bus Tour Combo.

The Change-Makers and Social Justice

Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Ideas that can change the world—and lives—all share the same source: a motivated person who dares to ask, “Why not?" Tonight’s program features individuals who used their platforms to highlight issues as diverse as xenophobia, bigotry, sexism, and other social issues which then allows further discussions on these topics.

Making the Most of Your Memory

Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Are you worried about your memory, or someone else’s? Understand more about how memory works and how you might optimize yours from Barry Gordon, a nationally recognized expert on memory and memory disorders. It is an evening you won’t forget.

The Great Cathedrals and Basilicas of Italy

Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

Join Eric Denker, senior lecturer at the National Gallery of Art, as he leads a lavishly illustrated daylong program that focuses on the churches of Venice, Rome, Siena, and Florence that represent some of Italy’s most exceptional repositories of ecclesiastical art. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

The Enduring Magnificent Seven

Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 10 a.m.

The latest version of The Magnificent Seven, starring Chris Pratt and Denzel Washington, is set for a September release. It’s a remake of the 1960 film of the same name.  Find out why this timeless story has endured across the decades, various media, and languages and cultures.

Creating Poetry From Your Family History: A Writing Workshop

Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 10 a.m.

Family memories, members, and events can provide rich material for poets. Writer Kirun Kapur leads a day-long practical workshop designed to help you turn your family history into effective, meaningful poetry. No writing or poetry experience is required, but in-progress works are welcome at the session.

DC’s Historic Sites: Welcome to Georgetown

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 12 p.m.

Our D.C. lunchtime lecture series continues with a focus on Georgetown. Founded in 1751, it predates the establishment of the federal district and Washington City by 40 years. Each week, expert lecturers focus on one of the extraordinary historic places that make Georgetown the unique neighborhood it is. This lecture features the Oak Hill Cemetery.

Hot Pots, Museum Raids, and the Race To Uncover Asia’s Archaeological Past

Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

The chance discovery 50 years ago of beautiful Bronze Age artifacts in the Thai village of Ban Chiang, led to a new understanding of an ancient Asian culture. It also led to one of the largest antiquities-trafficking cases ever investigated by the U.S. Justice Department. In this evening program, discover an exciting detective story that also reveals the harm caused by archaeological looting.

Meet Astronaut Mike Massimino—No Ordinary Spaceman

Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Former astronaut Mike Massimino is the veteran of NASA space flights aboard space shuttles Columbia and Atlantis. His final mission was to repair the Hubble Space Telescope in 2009. He tells a compelling story about following a dream and what having the “right stuff” really means—at NASA, in space, and in life. 

DC’s Historic Sites: Welcome to Georgetown

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 12 p.m.

Our D.C. lunchtime lecture series continues with a focus on Georgetown. Founded in 1751, it predates the establishment of the federal district and Washington City by 40 years. Each week, expert lecturers focus on one of the extraordinary historic places that make Georgetown the unique neighborhood it is. This lecture features Dumbarton Oaks Gardens.

The Pulse on Modern Medicine: Insights from NIH Experts

Thursday, October 13, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

In a five-part series, listen to National Institutes of Health directors and scientific and medical experts discuss what is currently “hot” in biomedical research—and what it all means for our health and medical treatment today and in the future. This session features William Gahl, Clinical Director, National Human Genome Research Institute and Director, NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Program.

Origin Stories and the Star Wars Trilogy: Joseph Campbell and Myth in the 21st Century

Thursday, October 13, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Joseph Campbell called mythology “Humankind’s one great story.” Explore that story with Doug Herman, senior geographer at the American Indian Museum, and Robert Walter, president and executive director of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, as they carry on a wide-ranging conversation about myths, culture, and what it means to be fully human.

South Africa: Empire, War, and Sovereignty

Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 1 p.m.

Queen Victoria’s military adventures in Africa demonstrate both the global reach of the mighty British Empire in the 19th century and the dangers of overreach. Historian Benedict Carton explores three pivotal conflicts that profoundly shaped South Africa and its legacy of empire.

The Bayeux Tapestry and the Norman Conquest of England

Monday, October 17, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Much has been written about the Norman Conquest of 1066, but nothing begins to compare with the telling of the story on the Bayeux Tapestry. Richard Abels discusses the fascinating history of this time and this special tapestry. 

Welcome to the Universe: An Intimate Look at the Stars

Monday, October 17, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

This evening, take a seat and listen in as world-class astrophysicists J. Richard Gott and Michael A. Strauss engage in a conversation that takes you from our home solar system to the outermost frontiers of space. Describing the latest discoveries in astrophysics, they address questions that stretch our imagination.

DC’s Historic Sites: Welcome to Georgetown

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at 12 p.m.

Our D.C. lunchtime lecture series continues with a focus on Georgetown. Founded in 1751, it predates the establishment of the federal district and Washington City by 40 years. Each week, expert lecturers focus on one of the extraordinary historic places that make Georgetown the unique neighborhood it is. This lecture features the C&O Canal.

Challenges in Cheetah Conservation

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Laurie Marker, founder of the Namibia-based Cheetah Conservation Fund and Suzan Murray, the director of the Smithsonian Global Health Program at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, delve into the complex network of social, economic and environmental problems that must be unraveled if the cheetah, Africa's most endangered big cat, is to have a permanent place on Earth.

Light and Color in Art

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

When Isaac Newton’s work with prisms in the 1600s revealed the visible color spectrum, artists began to find ways to use contrasting and complementary colors in their work. Learn how artists over the centuries have manipulated light and color, enlisting their unique properties to create masterpieces. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Your Brain in the Digital Age

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Have you ever wondered how our brain allows us to make decisions in light of the barrage of external and internal stimuli we confront daily? Sarah Shomstein, an associate professor of cognitive neuroscience at George Washington University, addresses the science behind that question and suggests ways we might enhance the brain’s ability to keep us focused.

The Holy Land in the Time of Herod

Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

In the Gospel, King Herod the Great is associated with the Massacre of the Innocents. The truth of that event is open to scholarly debate, but there’s little doubt that Herod was the single greatest builder in the history of the Holy Land. Archaeologist Jodi Magness explores some of the major archaeological sites dating to Herod’s reign.  

Taraji P. Henson: This Cookie Doesn’t Crumble

Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 1 p.m.

At the center of Fox’s wildly popular hip-hop drama, Empire, is the captivating Cookie Lyon. The force behind Cookie is D.C. native Taraji P. Henson, an Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner. Henson talks about her new memoir, Around the Way Girl, about making a life and building career—and what really happens behind the scenes on Empire.

Spiders: Predators and Prey

Monday, October 24, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Tonight, Hannah Wood, curator of arachnids and myriapods at the Natural History Museum, discusses the natural history of spiders and puts a surprising spin on the story of a remarkable species.

Chef Kwame Onwuachi: Top Chef to Chef at the Top

Monday, October 24, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

In D.C., a city already filled with extraordinary restaurants, Kwame Onwuachi is about to launch The Shaw Bijou. The chef talks about his high-concept, limited-seating restaurant with an unusual menu inspired by his own life experiences, and offers a sneak peak of The Shaw Bijou’s menu. A tasting follows the program.

DC’s Historic Sites: Welcome to Georgetown

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at 12 p.m.

Our D.C. lunchtime lecture series continues with a focus on Georgetown. Founded in 1751, it predates the establishment of the federal district and Washington City by 40 years. Each week, expert lecturers focus on one of the extraordinary historic places that make Georgetown the unique neighborhood it is. This lecture features Tudor Place.

Novelist Jodi Picoult: On Tackling Tough Topics

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

In a conversation with NPR’s Lynn Neary, best-selling author Jodi Picoult discusses her career, inspirations, writing process, and why the issues she takes on in her latest book Small Great Things spoke to her as a novelist. 

Supreme Court Justice Stephen C. Breyer

Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 7 p.m.

This evening, Nina Totenberg, NPR’s Legal Affairs correspondent, talks with Justice Stephen Breyer about his life before and after becoming a Supreme Court justice and his interpretation of the Constitution as a “living” document.

Write a Novel in a Month

Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

November is National Novel Writing Month. Each year thousands of writers around the world sign up for what’s dubbed the NaNoWriMo Challenge: drafting at least 50,000 words of their novel in "30 days and nights of literary abandon." Whether you take up the challenge or just want a solid base to begin or continue a novel at your own pace, this seminar is for you!

How the Britons Became the English, the Welsh, and the Scottish: Creating a United Kingdom

Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

How did the island of Britain come to comprise three distinctive ethnic identities—English, Welsh, and Scottish—and what does it mean to be British? Historian Jennifer Paxton traces the emergence of Britain’s diverse ethnic landscape and considers the future of the United Kingdom in a time filled with many uncertainties.

Public Speaking: From Fear to Confidence

Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

If your mouth turns dry and your knees grow weak at the very thought of speaking before a group—large or small—this all-day program is meant for you. Public speaking coach Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger offers practical, confidence-building guidance for anyone who has to speak in front of others, whether it be formal presentations to large audiences or less formal talks to small groups.

DC’s Historic Sites: Welcome to Georgetown

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at 12 p.m.

Our D.C. lunchtime lecture series continues with a focus on Georgetown. Founded in 1751, it predates the establishment of the federal district and Washington City by 40 years. Each week, expert lecturers focus on one of the extraordinary historic places that make Georgetown the unique neighborhood it is. This lecture features the Peabody Room, Georgetown Library.

A Taste of Japan

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Join Rudy Maxa, host of Rudy Maxa’s World on public television, and local restaurateur Daisuke Utagawa (Daikaya, Bantam King) for a preview of their upcoming series Taste of Japan, which follows their search for the ingredients, the people, and the traditions behind the country’s exquisite cuisine.

The Splendors of Vienna

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Mention Vienna, and waltzes, pastries, and refined elegance come to mind. But the Austrian capital also gave us Freud, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Mahler, and its remarkable achievements in painting, design, contemporary music, medicine, literature and philosophy are second to none. Opera expert Fred Plotkin reveals the many layers of this beautiful city.

Choosing the Right To Die: A Mother’s Perspective

Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

When Deborah Ziegler’s 29-year-old daughter Brittany Maynard, diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, went public with the decision to end her own life she became the face of the controversial right-to-die movement. Ziegler shares how that family anguish played out in public, and how since her daughter’s death in late 2014 she has found a role as an advocate for the growing number of people worldwide who are struggling with end-of-life issues.

Seductive Paris: American Painters in the City of Light, 1855–1920

Saturday, November 5, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

In the late 19th century, Paris beckoned young aspiring American painters like Whistler and Sargent. Art historian Bonita Billman highlights Paris’s ascension as the center of the art world, and the French masters who trained American artists and sent them home brimming with creative new ideas. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Russia’s Place in the World

Saturday, November 5, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

As Russia transformed itself from a formal empire into the Soviet Union, and most recently, into the Russian Federation, it has been a power to be reckoned with. Historian George Munro examines four key periods of Russian history, each spanning about a half century of Russia’s history, concluding with a consideration of Russia’s ambitions in the post-Cold War world. 

Jewelers Gilded Age

Monday, November 7, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Death by Shakespeare: Final Exits

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Shakespeare knew that gory, grisly, and imaginatively unusual deaths were what his fans at the Globe wanted to see. Carol Ann Lloyd Stranger of the Folger Shakespeare Library and classical actor and dramaturge Cam Magee lead an evening devoted to the onstage demises that have moved, surprised, and shocked audiences for four centuries.

The Pulse on Modern Medicine: Insights from NIH Experts

Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

In a five-part series, listen to National Institutes of Health directors and scientific and medical experts discuss what is currently “hot” in biomedical research—and what it all means for our health and medical treatment today and in the future. This session features Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The Pulse on Modern Medicine: Insights from NIH Experts

Thursday, December 8, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

In a five-part series, listen to National Institutes of Health directors and scientific and medical experts discuss what is currently “hot” in biomedical research—and what it all means for our health and medical treatment today and in the future. This session features Julie Segre, Head, Microbial Genomics Section and Chief, Translational and Functional Genomics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute.

The Pulse on Modern Medicine: Insights from NIH Experts

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 at 6:45 p.m.

In a five-part series, listen to National Institutes of Health directors and scientific and medical experts discuss what is currently “hot” in biomedical research—and what it all means for our health and medical treatment today and in the future. This session features Gary Gibbons, Director, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Back to the top

Share/Save