Science & Nature Programs
Strange and Curious Smithsonian Jobs: Dove and Crowe—Their Work Is For the Birds

Smithsonian’s experts really do have some of the most curious specialties, which will be highlighted in an occasional “behind-the-scenes” series Strange and Curious Smithsonian Jobs. To kick things off, meet two scientists who study birds in unexpected ways.

Date
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Take an Elemental Journey: A Guided Tour of the Periodic Table of Elements

The Periodic Table of Elements organizes the essential building blocks of matter in our universe. Join award-winning science educators Callan Bentley and Piraba Swaminathan as they introduce the chemical elements that populate the Periodic Table's columns and rows, and hear their fascinating stories.

Date
Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Philadelphia Flower Show
All-Day Tour

Inspired by the theme Wonders of Water, the 2018 edition of the world’s largest indoor flower exhibition—all 10 colorful acres of it—celebrates the beauty and life-sustaining interplay of horticulture and water. The legendary show is the perfect place for gardeners and flower enthusiasts to spend a day filled with beauty.

Date
Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Facing Fear

Why do our bodies and minds react the way they do when we’re in danger? Joseph LeDoux, a professor of science at New York University, discusses the impact of recent research into the neurological and emotional roots of fear, and why it might change our pharmacological and behavioral approaches to helping people reframe this emotion.

Date
Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Feel Like an American: How the History of Emotions Reveals National Character
4-Session Daytime Course

The history of emotions is a relatively new area of study that offers a valuable tool to examine social developments and cultural trends. Historian Peter Stearns of George Mason University highlights some of the field’s core ideas as he looks at 250 years of American history through the lenses of happiness, love, shame and guilt, and anger and fear.

Date
Thursday, March 8 to 29, 2018 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Strange and Curious Smithsonian Jobs: Ear Wax and Glitter Poop

Go behind the scenes to hear from scientists who use samples from Smithsonian collections to trace the last 110 years of ocean contaminants and the life histories of baleen whales, and one who monitors the fluctuating hormone levels in some of your favorite zoo residents through a unique method. 

Date
Thursday, March 8, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Philadelphia Flower Show
All-Day Tour

Inspired by the theme Wonders of Water, the 2018 edition of the world’s largest indoor flower exhibition—all 10 colorful acres of it—celebrates the beauty and life-sustaining interplay of horticulture and water. The legendary show is the perfect place for gardeners and flower enthusiasts to spend a day filled with beauty.

Date
Friday, March 9, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Lessons From the Great Books of Science

In this all-day seminar, explore the works of the great scientist-writers—from those of Hippocrates, Plato, and Aristotle through 20th-century classics in biology, physics, and cosmology—that moved scientific development forward over the centuries.

Date
Saturday, March 10, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Smithsonian Greenhouses and How They Grow
Morning Tour

One of the joys of a Smithsonian visit in any season is the gloriously varied greenery and flowers that brighten your paths indoors and out. Get a preview of what spring will  look like on the National Mall with a visit to the source of all that natural beauty: the Smithsonian Gardens greenhouse facility in Suitland, Maryland.

Date
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Inside Oak Ridge National Laboratory: Where the Manhattan Project Began
4-Day Tour

A partnership between the Smithsonian and Oak Ridge National Laboratory offers a rare chance to go behind the scenes at this center for cutting-edge energy science. This one-of-a-kind 4-day study tour brings you into the heart of Oak Ridge’s past and present, guided by the staff and the scientists who lead and conduct its research.

Date
Depart: Saturday, March 17, 2018 - 7:00 a.m.
Return: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 11:00 p.m.
The Potomac: Rolling Through DC’s History and Heart

Spend a day with a variety of experts who examine the Potomac’s rich legacy, geology, and wildlife, following its course through hundreds of years of history from the region’s early inhabitants to the latest in conservation technology.

Date
Sunday, March 18, 2018 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The Smithsonian Greenhouses and How They Grow
Afternoon Tour

One of the joys of a Smithsonian visit in any season is the gloriously varied greenery and flowers that brighten your paths indoors and out. Get a preview of what spring will  look like on the National Mall with a visit to the source of all that natural beauty: the Smithsonian Gardens greenhouse facility in Suitland, Maryland.

Date
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
An Orchid Afternoon

This entertaining and informative session with an orchid expert delves into many aspects of the beloved flower and our endless fascination with it. Learn about the flower’s history and lore; basic care; create a bark-mounted orchid to take home; and bring in one from your own collection for a question-and-answer session.

Date
Sunday, March 25, 2018 - 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
2001 at 50: An Anniversary Odyssey

Re-experience the groundbreaking film that influenced such directors as George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and James Cameron in a special screening. Then join Michael Benson, author of Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece, for some insights into its creation.

Date
Tuesday, April 3, 2018 - 6:00 p.m.
Narwhal: Revealing an Arctic Legend

The narwhal, with its unique spiral tusk, has inspired legend in Inuit society and fascinated people across cultures for centuries. During a day that includes a private tour of an exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum, join experts from a variety of fields to dive deep into the lore and the natural history of these striking animals.

Date
Saturday, April 7, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The Biological Mind: The Brain as a Responsive Organ

Alan Jasanoff, director of the MIT Center for Neurobiological Engineering, explores the bodily influences on our brain and psychology, and ways that the environment connects to our behavior.

Date
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Spring Nature Walk on Theodore Roosevelt Island

Enjoy the magic of a spring morning as author and naturalist Melanie Choukas-Bradley leads a scenic walk around Roosevelt Island, a 90-acre wooded oasis and national memorial in the middle of the tidal Potomac.

Date
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Neuroscience and Art: A Creative Connection
2-Session Daytime Course

Merge recent findings on visual perception with familiar elements of art to discover how your landscape and still-life paintings can take on new and fresh creative edges.

Date
Tuesday, April 17 and 24, 2018 – 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Basic Instincts: The Wild Side of Wildlife

It’s easy to project human emotions onto animals. But have you ever considered if moose get drunk, penguins cheat on their mates, or worker ants get lazy? They do. Lucy Cooke, an Oxford zoologist and award-winning documentary filmmaker, uncovers the unexpected stories of strange animal habits from her travels around the world.

Date
Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Most Famous Address in Washington: Perspectives on White House History

In this 4-session lecture series, noted specialists explore architecture, music, gardens, and art at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—a place where every decision, no matter how innocuous, has political ramifications. Participants receive a copy of each speaker’s corresponding large-format book published by the White House Historical Association. This session focuses on White House gardens.

Date
Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Gardening for Mother Earth

This Earth Day, celebrate Mother Earth with Niraj Ray, founder of Cultivate the City, a D.C. organization of urban farmers dedicated to locally grown food. Take a tour of one of Cultivate the City’s community gardens as you gather tips on how to garden and leave the planet a better place.

Date
Sunday, April 22, 2018 - 2:00 p.m.
Spring at the National Arboretum
All-Day Tour

Enjoy a spring day at the Arboretum, during what is usually the peak blooming time for azaleas, dogwoods, and seasonal wildflowers. The day includes a combination walking and bus tour to visit popular collections on the Arboretum grounds, a picnic box lunch on site, and special guided tours of the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum and the National Herb Garden.

Date
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - 9:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past

Massive technological innovations now allow scientists to extract and analyze ancient DNA as never before. Geneticist David Reich examines how these developments have transformed our understanding of our lineage as modern humans.

Date
Thursday, April 26, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles
Weekend Tour

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Sunday, April 29, 2018 - 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles
Weekend Tour

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Sunday, April 29, 2018 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The Heart of a Comet

Jim Zimbelman, a planetary geologist at the Air and Space Museum, examines how a new explosion of insights expanded and deepened our earlier knowledge of comets, now seen as frozen remnants from the formation of the solar system.

Date
Monday, April 30, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles
Weekend Tour

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Sunday, May 6, 2018 - 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles
Weekend Tour

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Sunday, May 6, 2018 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Adventures on the C&O Canal
Overnight Tour

Explore the man-made wonders of the C&O Canal, as well as natural beauty of spring along the Potomac River, guided by writer and local historian Garrett Peck. Highlights include the Monocacy Aqueduct, the canal town of Williamsport, the Paw Paw Tunnel, and an overnight stay in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, site of America’s first spa.

Date
Depart: Saturday, May 19, 2018 - 8:30 a.m.
Return: Saunday, May 20, 2018 - 6:00 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles
Weekend Tour

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Saturday, May 26, 2018 - 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles
Weekend Tour

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Saturday, May 26, 2018 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.