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American History Programs
Naval Warfare in WWII: A Global Battlefield

A central element of the Second World War was the presence of dozen navies on six oceans and a number of seas, including the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Maritime historian Craig L. Symonds offers a summary and analysis of how that naval conflict determined both the trajectory and the outcome of the war.

Date
Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Caught in the Act!

The best operatives never get caught—but some spies and insurgents get stopped in their tracks. In this 4-session course, learn about notable arrests, captures, and expulsions from the 1960s through today from experts familiar with the maneuvers behind each successful catch. This session focuses on a 2012 high-stakes economic espionage case explained by special agent Randall C. Thysse.

Date
Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 10:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
The Future of U.S.-Russia Relations

For decades following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. and Russia established a mostly amicable relationship in order to avoid further conflict. Today, this relationship is beset by challenges. Explore the current tensions between the two key world powers, and where the relationship may be headed in this 3-session course. This session focuses on Washington and Moscow.

Date
Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 6:00 p.m.
18th-Century Annapolis: Architecture and Decorative Arts

Join decorative arts specialist Erin Kuykendall for a tour of historic Annapolis, Maryland, to discover architectural gems and works of art from the eve of the American Revolution. Through visits to historic Georgian-style homes and an examination of the period’s decorative arts, Kuykendall offers a portrait of a vibrant capital city in which building, politics, art, and international commerce thrived.

Date
Friday, October 19, 2018 - 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Smithsonian Sleepover at the American History Museum Halloween Special

Halloween Special for Families: (Ages 8 to 12) Go on an interactive exploration of the American History Museum. Then roll out your sleeping bag and dream away in the darkened halls of one of the world’s most famous museums! For this sleepover only, celebrate Halloween by wearing a costume.

Date
October 19 - 20, 2018, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
The Road to Abolition: Harpers Ferry and Antietam

The beginning of the end of slavery can be traced to two extraordinary events: John Brown’s ill-fated 1859 raid on the arsenal at Harpers Ferry and the Battle of Antietam. Join author and historian Garrett Peck on an exciting day trip following the steps of John Brown in Harpers Ferry and a tour of parts of the Antietam National Battlefield on foot.

Date
Saturday, October 20, 2018 - 8:00 a.m. to 6:45 p.m.
Morbid Curiosity: Presidential Last Moments Preserved

In a fascinating look into our nation’s history and how we remember our fallen leaders, museum specialists from the American History Museum uncover some of the extraordinary mementos of presidential death that Americans have saved over the centuries.

Date
Monday, October 22, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Future of U.S.-Russia Relations

For decades following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. and Russia established a mostly amicable relationship in order to avoid further conflict. Today, this relationship is beset by challenges. Explore the current tensions between the two key world powers, and where the relationship may be headed in this 3-session course. This session focuses on the post-Soviet era.

Date
Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - 6:00 p.m.
Hubert Humphrey: American Statesman

He was passionate about his beliefs, he treated his peers with respect, and they dubbed him "The Happy Warrior" for his tireless advocacy of liberal causes. Learn about the long career of Hubert Humphrey, one of the great post-war leaders who played a central role in some of the country's most divisive issues.

Date
Thursday, October 25, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Great War in Washington

Join historian and author Garrett Peck on a walk though wartime Washington. Its stops include Pershing Park, the First and Second Division monuments, the D.C. War Memorial, the spot where sheep grazed on the Ellipse, and the site where thousands of women volunteered for the American Red Cross.

Date
Friday, October 26, 2018 - 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Great War in Washington

Join historian and author Garrett Peck on a walk though wartime Washington. Its stops include Pershing Park, the First and Second Division monuments, the D.C. War Memorial, the spot where sheep grazed on the Ellipse, and the site where thousands of women volunteered for the American Red Cross.

Date
Saturday, October 27, 2018 - 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Racing Into the Sky: The Women Who Broke the Original Glass Ceiling

Between the world wars, no sport was more popular, or more dangerous, than airplane racing. Drawing on his new book, Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History, Keith O’Brien recounts how a cadre of those women banded together to break the original glass ceiling: the entrenched prejudice that conspired to keep them out of the sky.

Date
Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Benjamin Rush: The Overlooked Founding Father

Though it’s among the signatures on the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Rush’s name is one that doesn’t immediately come to mind as one of the most influential patriots of the Revolutionary era. Drawing from his new biography, Stephen Fried resurrects and celebrates the most significant Founding Father we’ve never heard of.

Date
Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Future of U.S.-Russia Relations

For decades following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. and Russia established a mostly amicable relationship in order to avoid further conflict. Today, this relationship is beset by challenges. Explore the current tensions between the two key world powers, and where the relationship may be headed in this 3-session course. This session focuses on Russian propaganda.

Date
Wednesday, October 31, 2018 - 6:00 p.m.
Nature, History, and Art in Fairfax County

Join Rachel Cooper and Renee Sklarew, authors of 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Washington, D.C., as they lead a fall excursion to the Lorton, Virginia, area to explore a trio of distinctive sites in Fairfax County: Mason Neck State Park, American statesman George Mason’s mansion Gunston Hall, and Lorton Workhouse Art Center.

Date
Saturday, November 3, 2018 - 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Jefferson: Fashioning an Image

Was Thomas Jefferson an 18th-century version of a celebrity who cannily uses signature looks to shape his public image? Historian Gaye Wilson explores how the Jefferson “brand” was cultivated in clothing, portraits, and even architecture—and how it reflected his politics.

Date
Monday, November 5, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
What the Midterm Elections Reveal About America

With a nation of highly polarized voters heading to the polls on November 6, the 2018 midterms will help clarify what’s important to a restless electorate. Two days after the ballots are cast, White House and political analyst Ken Walsh brings together four leading political analysts to interpret what the victories and losses mean for the country.

Date
Thursday, November 8, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
An Excursion on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad

Led by rail historian Joe Nevin, climb through the Allegheny Mountains on a historic restored diesel locomotive as you enjoy a 30-mile round-trip excursion between Cumberland and Frostburg on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

Date
Saturday, November 10, 2018 - 8:15 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
How Hamilton Remixes History and Show Biz

Historian Richard Bell examines this musical phenomenon to reveal what its success tells us about the marriage of history and show business. He investigates what the show gets right—and wrong—about Alexander Hamilton, the American Revolution, and the birth of the United States, and why it all matters.

Date
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Washington: City of Writers

Literary history—and that of the nation’s capital—is written in the words of Walt Whitman, Henry Adams, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, and many other authors who called the city home. Writer and local historian Kim Roberts offers a lively cultural overview of D.C. through a literary lens.

Date
Thursday, November 15, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Alexandria: Where DC’s Breweries Began

Join Garrett Peck, author of Capital Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in Washington, D.C, on a walk through Old Town’s alleyways, archaeological finds, ice wells, warehouses, and waterfront as you explore the beverage’s local heritage and its renaissance.

Date
Saturday, November 17, 2018 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Alexandria: Where DC’s Breweries Began

Join Garrett Peck, author of Capital Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in Washington, D.C, on a walk through Old Town’s alleyways, archaeological finds, ice wells, warehouses, and waterfront as you explore the beverage’s local heritage and its renaissance.

Date
Sunday, November 18, 2018 - 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Alexandria: Where DC’s Breweries Began

Join Garrett Peck, author of Capital Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in Washington, D.C, on a walk through Old Town’s alleyways, archaeological finds, ice wells, warehouses, and waterfront as you explore the beverage’s local heritage and its renaissance.

Date
Saturday, November 24, 2018 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Americans and the Holocaust: History’s Enduring Questions

The Americans and the Holocaust exhibition at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum raises many questions about the response of the international community and the U.S. to the rise of Nazism. Two experts from the museum explore the exhibition’s issues, and participants are invited to experience the exhibition after-hours.  

Date
Thursday, November 29, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Advances in Military Medicine: From Mercy Street to the 21st Century

Many of the scientific, medical, and technological innovations of the past two centuries have had their roots in military medicine. Visits to the National Museum of Health and Medicine and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine offer insights into that history, as well as military medicine’s links to modern healthcare.

Date
Saturday, December 1, 2018 - 9:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
How the Great War Changed America

Drawing on his new book, The Great War in America: World War I and Its Aftermath Garrett Peck chronicles the American experience during the war and connects it to the changes that rocked the country in its wake—including women’s suffrage, Prohibition, the Red Scare, and race riots.

Date
Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Holiday Charms in Fairmount Park: Philadelphia’s Historic 18th-Century Neighborhood

Three of the splendid “Charms” of Fairmount Park open their doors for a holiday-season guided tour, offering an intimate look at the lives of well-to-do Philadelphians of the Revolutionary period and the evolution of domestic architecture and interiors as the Federal era began. Bill Keene leads this tour.

Date
Friday, December 7, 2018 - 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The Cambridge Five: Soviet Intelligence Spies

Why would a group of young men from one of England’s elite universities betray their country for Russia? Using recently declassified British, American, and Soviet intelligence records, Historian and author Calder Walton examines the lives, motivations, damage, and legacy of the notorious Cold War operatives that came to be known as the Cambridge Five.

Date
Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Strange and Curious Smithsonian Jobs: Religion and Politics

The Smithsonian often uses politics and religion to tell stories of American life and history. Curator Lisa Kathleen Graddy of the American History Museum and Brad Braxton of the African American History and Culture Museum reveal how their work shapes those narratives.

Date
Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Michael Beschloss on Wartime Presidents

From James Madison and the War of 1812 to recent times, a procession of American presidents took the nation into conflict and mobilized the country for victory. Author and presidential historian Michael Beschloss examines the chief executives who made the most difficult decisions that face any leader, and how the evolution of presidential powers in regard to war have shaped those actions.

Date
Thursday, December 13, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Holiday Charms in Fairmount Park: Philadelphia’s Historic 18th-Century Neighborhood

Three of the splendid “Charms” of Fairmount Park open their doors for a holiday-season guided tour, offering an intimate look at the lives of well-to-do Philadelphians of the Revolutionary period and the evolution of domestic architecture and interiors as the Federal era began. Bill Keene leads this tour.

Date
Friday, December 14, 2018 - 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Christmas with the First Ladies: Decking the Halls at the White House

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

Date
Sunday, December 16, 2018 - 2:00 p.m.
Auctioning the Past: A Fossil Smuggler Pays the Price

Paige Williams, a staff writer at the New Yorker, delves into the sometimes-perilous world of the illicit international fossil trade as she tells the story of an American dealer’s dangerous obsession with a rare dinosaur skeleton.

Date
Monday, December 17, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.