American History Programs
Write the Stories of Your Ancestors

You’ve gathered information about your ancestors. It’s time to share their stories. Leading genealogy expert John Colletta explores the many ways to assemble and write the saga of a family.

Saturday, December 2, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Bethlehem: America’s Christmas City
Overnight Tour

There’s no better place to get into the spirit of the season than charming Bethlehem, nestled in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. Stroll through the European-inspired Christkindlmarkt for some gift shopping, enjoy the holiday lights of Main Street at night, and visit sites that reflect the city’s strong Moravian traditions and industrial history.

Depart: Sunday, December 3, 2017 - 7:00 a.m.
Return: Monday, December 4, 2017 - 8:00 p.m.
Christmas with the First Ladies: The Sweetest Traditions

Spend an afternoon with professional decorator and author Coleen Christian Burke as she covers the traditions of White House holiday decorating, brings you behind the scenes as the seasonal transformation takes place, and shares how modern first ladies from Jacqueline Kennedy to Michelle Obama have lent their distinctive styles and creativity to guiding the seasonal themes.

Sunday, December 3, 2017 - 2:00 p.m.
The Battle of Cedar Creek
All-Day Tour

Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley was both a crucial invasion route and the breadbasket for the Confederacy during the Civil War, and as a result, it was a much-fought-over region. Join author and historian Garrett Peck on a daylong tour of the last major battle in the Shenandoah Valley.

Saturday, December 9, 2017 - 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Unpublished Black History: Rediscovered Images from the New York Times

A cache of photos uncovered in the New York Times archives in 2016 documents  events and personalities that shed light on African American history over the past several decades. Join Darcy Eveleigh, photo editor at the Times, and Rachel Swarns, a contributing writer for the newspaper, for look at these previously unseen photos and the story behind their rediscovery.

Monday, December 11, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
American Novels of the ’20s

If you love discovering (or re-discovering) a book and sharing it with a friend, here’s a chance to do both by reading and discussing some iconic works of 1920s American literature. This session features Jessie Redmon Fauset’s Plum Bun.

Monday, December 18, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
The Ghosts of Langley: How the CIA’s Leaders Shaped the Agency

The Central Intelligence Agency is an organization whose operations are necessarily cloaked in secrecy. Through a critical examination of CIA leaders past and present, John Prados, a senior fellow of the National Security Archive, offers a window into the workings of the world of Langley and the nature of the men who charted its direction.

Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Inside Camp David

Invitations to the exclusive presidential getaway deep in the woods of Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains go only to a select few, while the rest of us have been left to wonder, “What is Camp David really like?” Michael Giorgione, a retired naval officer who served as commander there under two presidents, offers the answer as he discusses his new book about the history-filled retreat.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Chris Matthews on Bobby Kennedy’s Indomitable Spirit

MSNBC’s Hardball anchor Chris Matthews shares an in-depth look at Robert F. Kennedy, a man who was both a pragmatic politician and an idealist who was an inspiration to millions.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - 7:00 p.m.
"Who Are You?": How Passports Changed Travel—and the Idea of Identity

Craig Robertson, author of The Passport in America: The History of a Document, traces the evolution of the most essential marker of identity for travelers. From its roots in 18th-century letters of introduction to chip-enhanced contemporary versions, he examines how this sometimes-controversial document became rooted in our lives.

Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
1968: The Tumultuous Year That Changed America

War, assassinations, riots, political and social upheavals, and national anxieties: 1968 was packed with them all. Author, journalist, and historian Ken Walsh reviews the extraordinary events of a year Americans of a certain age will never forget—and that holds lessons to remember in the face of contemporary turmoils.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Interception: How Info and Secrets Get Stolen
4-Session Daytime Course

In an absorbing series, intelligence experts and historians explore how secrets are safeguarded and stolen. They cover collection operations and counter tactics from the Cold War to today, ranging from organized campaigns by one country against another, to systems turned again citizens, and even to solo 21st-century hackers with an agenda.   

Wednesday, February 7 to 28, 2018 - 10:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
The Lives of Benjamin Franklin

Historian Richard Bell explores aspects of the public and private life of America’s favorite Founding Father, tackling his experiences as writer and printer, inventor and philanthropist, husband and father, and reluctant revolutionary.

Saturday, February 10, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.