What's New?
Why Time Flies

It’s the clock that ticks inside us every living moment. But what do we really know about the idea of time? New Yorker writer Alan Burdick discusses what he discovered through his quest to explore how we conceptualize time and why we perceive it the way we do.

Date
Thursday, March 9, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Rick Steves on Thoughtful Travel: Broadening Your Global Perspective

Drawing from lessons learned while exploring the globe, travel expert Rick Steves outlines how vacationing with an open mind and curiosity can make your trip an investment in a better world. You’ll also take home the best possible souvenir: widened cultural horizons.

Date
Monday, March 27, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Defending the Capital: Civil War Forts and Fortifications
All-Day Tour

Civil War historians Ed Bearss and Gregg Clemmer lead a tour that traces the Union capital’s vital role in the conflict, focusing on the sites of forts and defensive fortifications in Maryland, Virginia, and the District. 

Date
Saturday, April 1, 2017 - 8:00 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.
Where the River Flows: Scientific Reflections on Earth’s Waterways

Geophysicist Sean W. Fleming examines how mathematics and physics can reveal the hidden dynamics of rivers, offering insights into the profound interrelationships that they have with landscapes, ecosystems, and societies.

Date
Wednesday, April 5, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Brutalism: The Architecture We Love To Hate

The muscular, aggressive buildings associated with iconic Swiss architect Le Corbusier and his modernist colleagues came to be known as “brutalist,” a play on beton brut, or “raw concrete.” Susan Piedmont-Palladino, curator at the National Building Museum, examines the influence of brutalism on Washington’s architecture and what’s in store for the future of this style here.

Date
Thursday, April 6, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
The Rise of the Airplane: From the Wright Brothers to Lindbergh

Aviation expert Paul Glenshaw explores the scientific, cultural, and social contexts for the invention and development of the airplane and how a critical period early in the last century launched the wild ride we’ve been on ever since.

Date
Thursday, April 6, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Tim Robbins

The Academy Award-winning actor and activist adds another honor to the list tonight: recipient of Smithsonian Associates’ 16th annual Benjamin Franklin Creativity Laureate Award.

Date
Friday, April 7, 2017 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
The Civil War: Three Key Sites - Harpers Ferry, Antietam, and Gettysburg
All-Day Tour

Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania were the settings for some of the most momentous events of the Civil War. During this introductory tour led by historian Gregg Clemmer, learn about and explore the sites of three major battles in our region.

Date
Saturday, April 8, 2017 - 8:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Love in World Religions: Comparative Religious Experiences

What do some of the great religious traditions of the world teach us today about the nature of love, that most powerful of human emotions? In this thoughtful daylong program, comparative religion scholar Graham M. Schweig explores and compares the expressions of perfect love found in the Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions—as well as our modern ideas and experiences.

Date
Saturday, April 8, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Meditation: From Monastery to Mobile App

Andy Puddicombe, co-creator of the Headspace app, traces how his own experience with meditation led to a quest to blend centuries-old practices with modern science and technology. The result: more than 10 million meditating users.

Date
Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
John Eaton Salutes Four Giants of American Song
4-Session Daytime Course

Pianist extraordinaire John Eaton shares insights, fascinating observations and performs selections from four legendary composers of popular American song in this engaging and entertaining course: Jerome Kern, Cole Porter; Harold Arlen; and George Gershwin.  And, of course, he always takes requests!

Date
Wednesday, April 12 to May 3, 2017 - 10:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
A Conversation with Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin has spent three decades in the spotlight, creating memorable comic and dramatic roles in films, on TV as Jack Donaghy in 30 Rock, and most recently, a certain recurring portrayal on Saturday Night Live. In a conversation, he discusses his career and life, including private facets that his new memoir, Nevertheless, makes public.

Date
Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
George Washington’s Alexandria
Morning Walking Tour

No other town is as closely associated with George Washington as Alexandria, which he considered his home town. He surveyed its streets as a teenager in 1749, and his public memorial service was held here 50 years later. Join author and historian Garrett Peck on a tour that visits churches, houses, taverns, and other sites associated with the first president.

Date
Saturday, April 15, 2017 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Gustav Mahler: The Symphonies, the Songs, the Life
6-Session Daytime Course

The music-loving public has embraced Mahler as the most important symphonic voice of fin-de-siecle Vienna. Popular Smithsonian music lecturer Saul Lilienstein takes an in-depth look at this seminal figure of the modern age and his music. Sessions are highlighted by music and DVD recordings.

Date
Tuesday, April 18 to May 23, 2017, 12 noon to 1:30 p.m.
Thomas Becket: A Martyr for All Seasons

Historian Jennifer Paxton explores how the Archbishop of Canterbury fell afoul of his king for both personal and political reasons, and why his violent death turned him into the most important saint in Europe.

Date
Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Introduction to Western Art: From Caves to Constantine
6-Session Daytime Course

Art historian Renee Gondek leads a survey of the paintings, sculptures, and architecture of the Paleolithic period, Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, and the Greek and Roman worlds, and investigates how these ancient material cultures are still reflected in our own. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Date
Wednesday, April 19 to May 24, 2017 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Urban Wildlife: Balancing Coexistence and Management

Washingtonians share our city, filled with parks and abundant green spaces, with plenty of non-human fellow residents. Wildlife biologist John Hadidian examines the challenges and rewards of becoming better neighbors in nature.

Date
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
The Iconography of Easter: Visions of Renaissance Masters

Giotto, Duccio, Piero della Francesca, da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Tintoretto each found inspiration in the biblical narratives that are central to Easter. Rocky Ruggiero, a Florence-based specialist in the Early Renaissance, follows the journey of Holy Week as depicted in two centuries of art. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
The Handmaid’s Tale: An Exclusive Series Preview
With Margaret Atwood and Elisabeth Moss

The Handmaid’s Tale, a chilling story of life in the totalitarian dystopia of Gilead, has captured the imaginations of readers around the world since its publication in 1985. The novel is the basis for a new Hulu series, which debuts April 26.

Date
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
American Wine’s Historic Roots

Today’s most familiar wines derive from Europe’s ancient grape varieties, but America has a rich diversity of indigenous—and far lesser-known—grapes of its own. Jerry Eisterhold of Missouri’s Vox Vineyards discusses the history of American heritage grapes and what they offer to producers and wine lovers.

Date
Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
George Washington’s Alexandria
Afternoon Walking Tour

No other town is as closely associated with George Washington as Alexandria, which he considered his home town. He surveyed its streets as a teenager in 1749, and his public memorial service was held here 50 years later. Join author and historian Garrett Peck on a tour that visits churches, houses, taverns, and other sites associated with the first president.

Date
Friday, April 21, 2017 - 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Arts and Crafts Movement: Simplicity, Humanity, Beauty

From William Morris’s richly pattered designs drawn from nature to the bold beauty of Greene and Greene’s California domestic architecture, the arts and crafts movement has left a wide and enduring legacy. Art historian Bonita Billman explores the artists and ideas that led to its international flowering. (World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1 credit)

Date
Saturday, April 22, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Andrew Jackson and the Rise of the Democratic Party

Historians are fascinated by Andrew Jackson, a complex man whose forceful personality (he was universally known as “Old Hickory”) influenced the political culture of his time as he dominated both the presidency and Congress for two terms (1828-36). Historian Stephen D. Engle revisits the Jackson presidency and how it relates to our current political culture.

Date
Saturday, April 22, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
The Best of Brooklyn
Overnight Tour

Brooklyn offers plenty of delights for lovers of art, music, nature, and of course, food. On this two-day visit, arts journalist and former Brooklynite Richard Selden introduces you to several of the borough’s top attractions.

Date
Depart: Sunday, April 23, 2017, 7:00 a.m.
Return: Monday, April 24, 2017, 9:30 p.m.
Sears Houses of Arlington
All-Day Tour

From 1908 to 1940, Sears Roebuck & Co. sold more than 70,000 of its prefabricated Modern Homes kits, affordable dwellings assembled on site that offered Americans of moderate means the chance to own an up-to-date house. Arlington County, which saw a boom in its growth during the 1920s, boasts a significant collection of these kit houses.

Date
Sunday, April 23, 2017 - 12:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
George Washington’s Alexandria
Afternoon Walking Tour

No other town is as closely associated with George Washington as Alexandria, which he considered his home town. He surveyed its streets as a teenager in 1749, and his public memorial service was held here 50 years later. Join author and historian Garrett Peck on a tour that visits churches, houses, taverns, and other sites associated with the first president.

Date
Sunday, April 23, 2017 - 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Radio Finds Its Voice

Jill Ahrold Bailey, producer of “The Big Broadcast” on WAMU 88.5, tunes into an era in which Americans became linked by a new and booming medium, as radio dramatically—and quickly—changed the entertainment, news, and political scenes.

Date
Monday, April 24, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Telling Fact from Falsehood: Skills to Expose Pseudoscience

How do we know what we know? It’s hard enough parsing fact from fiction in today’s so-called post-truth environment, but how can we recognize science fact from pseudoscience? Paleontologist Thomas Holtz shares questions we need to ask to get to the truth.

Date
Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Spring at the National Arboretum
Morning Tour

The National Arboretum, one of DC’s best-kept secrets, is home to 9 miles of winding parkland roads covering more than 450 acres. Enjoy a spring tour at what is usually the peak blooming time for azaleas, dogwoods, and seasonal wildflowers.

Date
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Spring at the National Arboretum
Afternoon Tour

The National Arboretum, one of DC’s best-kept secrets, is home to 9 miles of winding parkland roads covering more than 450 acres. Enjoy a spring tour at what is usually the peak blooming time for azaleas, dogwoods, and seasonal wildflowers.

Date
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
From Shtetl to Synagogue: Jewish Heritage Sites in Eastern Europe

Journalist and author Ruth Ellen Gruber redraws the map of extraordinary Jewish places in the heartland of Central and Eastern Europe and reveals the remarkable vestiges of the rich and dynamic culture that flourished for centuries.

Date
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Jane Austen: From the Parlor to Politics

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen. The passing years have increased her novels’ appeal as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, the Dashwood sisters, and Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley continue to delight us. But the real world informed Austen’s portrayals of the elegant confines of Pemberley and the social climbing of Pulteney Street. Discover how Austen introduced the realities of Regency  England into her carefully crafted worlds.

Date
Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Wheaton Arts: 300 Years of American Glassmaking
All-Day Tour

The Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center in Millville, New Jersey, honors the region’s connection to the glassmaking industry. It’s the perfect destination for a day focused on historic glass and contemporary makers, including a behind-the-scenes visit to the Museum of American Glass.

Date
Friday, April 28, 2017 - 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Maurice Ravel in 1920s Paris

He readily comes to mind as the composer of the great orchestral work, Bolero, but Maurice Ravel was one of the great mainstays of musical life in Paris of the 1920s. His work celebrated the greatness of France’s musical past as he also drew on modern techniques of musical composition.  Explore his musical genius and virtuosity in a lively daylong program highlighted by recordings and live piano performances.

Date
Saturday, April 29, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Discover Cuba: One Island, Many Worlds

After so many years, a thaw in diplomatic relations offers hope for greater opportunities for Americans to travel to Cuba and to rediscover a still-evolving island and its people. Emilio Cueto, a popular Smithsonian Journeys’ study tour leader to Cuba, takes you on a virtual journey around the amazing island in the Caribbean.

Date
Saturday, April 29, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Shedding Light on Dark Matter

During the past century, advances in technology have allowed for the introduction of radical ideas about the nature of the cosmos and our place in it. Theoretical astrophysicist Priya Natarajan traces the arc of the acceptance of two such ideas: that of dark matter and black holes. She also discusses her intriguing work in mapping dark matter and modeling supermassive black holes.

Date
Tuesday, May 2, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
The Splendors of Newport
4-Day Tour

Gilded Age society elevated summering by the sea to a whole new level when they transformed Newport into the fashionable location for an 8-week season that was both formal and flamboyant. Arts journalist Richard Selden leads a 4-day tour that lets you step into the elegant world of Henry James and Edith Wharton.

Date
Depart: Friday, May 5, 2017, 8:00 a.m.
Return: Monday, May 8 2017, 9:30 p.m.
A Day at London’s National Gallery and Tate Britain

There is a reason that London’s National Gallery and the Tate Britain are must-sees for art lovers. In them, one can explore more than five centuries of Western painting. Spend a day with art historian Bonita Billman as she examines the rich holdings of these two world-class museums. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date
Saturday, May 6, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Mark Twain: A Celebration

It's been 106 years since the death of Samuel Langhorn Clemens, but his beloved works seems as fresh, funny, and pointed as ever. Author Daniel Stashower and actor Scott Sedar illustrate why we’re still quoting the wisdom of his words.

Date
Tuesday, May 9, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.