What's New?
Unpublished Black History: Rediscovered Images from the New York Times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.
Introduction to American Art
2-Session Course

In a two-session course, art historian Bonita Billman introduces major artists and movements in American painting from the late 18th century to the present, revealing the connections between historical changes and artistic choices. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Friday, January 5, 2018 – 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, January 6, 2018 – 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
The Immigrant Experience in Literature
4-Session Evening Course

Fiction is ideally suited to capture the immigrant experience at its human core. Join Lisbeth Strimple Fuisz of Georgetown University in an examination of four compelling novels that tell the stories of women and men creating new lives in America—and coming to terms with the lives they left behind.

Monday, January 8, February 5, March 5, and April 9, 2018 – 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
A Dozen Offbeat Adventures: Must-See Destinations for 2018

Intrepid and inventive globetrotters Mike and Ann Howard are ready to broaden your travel horizons. The team behind the HoneyTrek.com blog offers a practical guide to putting together one-of-a-kind experiences in places like Central America, Scandinavia, the Himalayas, and other unforgettable locations.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Are We Alone in Our Place Among the Stars?: Exoplanets May Reveal the Answer

In a universe filled with infinite solar systems, could there be Earth-like exoplanets capable of sustaining life? Join Sam Quinn, an astrophysicist with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center, who describes what scientific exploration has thus far revealed. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Rilke and Rodin: A Friendship and a Clash of Egos

Author Rachel Corbett examines the vibrant creative world of Paris at the turn of the 20th century as she discusses the connection between the genesis of Carl Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet and the young writer’s unlikely but life-changing friendship with Auguste Rodin. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Great Food Cities of the World
6-Session Evening Course

Food expert and passionate culinary historian Fred Plotkin offers a gastronome’s dream tour of six global centers of food and drink: Bologna, Buenos Aires, London, Lyon, Tokyo, and San Francisco. A reception featuring specialties from each location follows the final program in the series.

Tuesday, January 16, February 13, March 6, April 10, May 8, and June 5, 2018 - 6:45 p.m. to 9:00 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.
Old Vines, New Wines: The Resurgence of American Heritage Grapes

Jerry Eisterhold of Vox Vineyards in Missouri offers insights into how winemakers are meeting the scientific and technical challenges of reclaiming the commercial viability of rare American grapes, highlighted by an in-depth guided tasting of nine of Vox’s wines.

Saturday, January 20, 2018 - 2:00 p.m.
Tea with a Bookseller: Previews of the Newest Literary Fiction Titles

Washington is home to excellent local bookstores serving every kind of literary taste. In the final installment of a new monthly series in which local booksellers preview upcoming titles, Rebecca Oppenheimer from Kramerbooks scouts the best in literary fiction. (Tea, sherry, and cookies round out each session.)

Sunday, January 21, 2018 - 4:00 p.m.
The Screenwriter and the Superstar: Frances Marion, Mary Pickford, and The Girls in the Picture

Author Melanie Benjamin discusses her new novel, The Girls in the Picture, the story of the friendship and creative partnership between two of Hollywood’s earliest female legends, screenwriter Frances Marion and silent-movie superstar Mary Pickford.

Monday, January 22, 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.
Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist

Gloria Groom of the Art Institute of Chicago examines Gauguin’s radically creative fascination with craft and decorative arts, as reflected in a major new exhibition mounted by the museum. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 6:45 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.
Scotland and England: An Imperfect Union?

Historian Jennifer Paxton explores the remarkable story of the struggle to define Scottish identity over the past thousand years, as the country went from proudly independent kingdom to junior partner within Great Britain to a nation considering its politically autonomous future.

Saturday, January 27, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Expressionism: The Art of Emotions

Influenced by the early 20th century’s explorations of human behavior, artists looked to their own experiences and emotions as the spark for works. Artist and art historian Joseph Paul Cassar examines the movement that grew from that psychological shift, tracing expressionism’s roots, meaning, influences, and notable practitioners. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Saturday, January 27, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Discovering Lombardy

Stunning architecture, centuries of glorious art, and cuisine celebrated around the world: Lombardy has it all. Food historian Francine Segan offers a guide to the cultural heritage and attractions of this northern Italian magnet for travelers—and a taste of some authentic regional specialties.

Monday, January 29, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Celebrating Brahms: The Man, His Music, and His Legacy
6-Session Daytime Course

Saul Lilienstein examines Brahms’ enduring influence and the breadth of his extraordinary output—from symphonies, concertos, and overtures to chamber music, songs, and choral music—in a series of programs highlighted by musical and DVD recordings.

Tuesday, January 30 to March 6, 2018 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 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.
The Making of a Monarch: English Kings, Queens, and Their Mums

Tudor and Renaissance scholar Carol Ann Lloyd Stanger examines the fascinating relationships of kings and queens and their mothers from the 12th century to today, illustrating that although they didn’t hold official public positions, the women who rocked the royal cradle changed the course of English history.

Saturday, February 3, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 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.
Impressionism Beyond France
4-Session Evening Course

Impressionism was a movement of wide reach, influencing artists in other countries who created their own national variations on the style. David Gariff, senior lecturer at the National Gallery of Art, examines impressionism as a major influence on the world's visual culture. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Wednesday, February 7 to 28, 2018 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Christianity’s Triumph: How Faith Conquered an Empire

How did a movement that began within a small group of illiterate day-laborers in a remote corner of the Roman Empire evolve into the dominant faith of the Western world? Bart Ehrman, a leading authority on early Christianity, the New Testament, and the life of Jesus, explores the religion’s amazing trajectory.

Saturday, February 10, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.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.
The Emerson String Quartet 2017-2018 Concert Series

The 2017–­18 season marks the Emerson String Quartet’s 38th year in residence at the Smithsonian. In collaboration with Wolf Trap, this concert will present Shostakovich and the Black Monk: A Russian Fantasy.

Sunday, March 11, 2018 - 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.