Embark on a Revolutionary Road Trip and Other New Options in January

January is the perfect month to take a class, hear a lecture, and learn something new

A woman leans on a snaking, split rail fence on a mossy green field.
PBS host Darley Newman leads a lively panel of historians and travel pros as they explore sites and share stories of the American Revolution. The event will be held in person and livestreamed on January 18. Photo courtesy of Darley Newman

Smithsonian Associates offers innovative, engaging learning experiences for people of all ages. Hundreds of livestreamed and in-person lectures, seminars, performances, studio arts classes, study tours and children’s programs are offered annually. To view the Smithsonian Associates digital program guide, visit


Tuesday, January 9

Cinderella: Beyond Bippidy Boppidy Boo: We all know the Cinderella fairy tale, the story of the downtrodden but kind girl forced to toil for her cruel stepmother and stepsisters. But there’s a lot more to Cinderella: In some versions, there isn’t a fairy godmother but rather a magical tree, a fish or even a flock of turkeys. Folklorists Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman discuss how versions differ, what we can learn from Cinderella, and why the story has had such a lasting impact on Western culture. This program is presented on Zoom from 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET. $20-$25

Learn the basics of bird photography for artistic expressions and species identification on January 9 with naturalist Matt Felperin.  Matt Felperin

Photographing Birds: The Basics: This discussion on bird photography includes information on equipment, basic settings, composition, light and positioning. Naturalist Matt Felperin shares beautiful photos and provides stories and strategies behind each image. This program is presented on Zoom from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET. $25-$30


Wednesday, January 10

The Court at War: FDR, His Justices, and the World They Made: Professor of constitutional law and criminal justice at Georgetown University Law Center, Cliff Sloan, explores a pivotal period of the Supreme Court and shares the inside story of how one president forever altered the most powerful legal institution in the country. This program is presented on Zoom from 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET. $20-$25


Thursday, January 11

Surviving the Climate Crisis: Lessons from the Earth’s Past: The emergence of the first proto-humans a little more than 2 million years ago was made possible, ironically, by the same thing that now threatens us—climate change. Climate scientist Michael Mann examines the conditions on Earth that allowed humans to both exist and thrive, how they are imperiled if we veer off course, and how we can best understand the gravity of the unfolding climate crisis­—and find ways to meet it. This program is presented on Zoom from 6:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET. $20-$25


Saturday, January 13

Jane Austen: Reinventing the Novel: Join professor Joseph Luzzi from Bard College for an in-depth examination of the remarkable career and astonishing life of a woman who overcame countless obstacles to become one of the most revered authors in the literary tradition. This full-day program focuses on themes of gender, class, religion and slavery as well and Austen’s portrayal of the role of women, customs and tradition of her time. This program is presented on Zoom from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET. $80-$90


Tuesday, January 16

Off the Beaten Path in Poland: Join tour guide and author Christopher Skutela on a stunning journey to historical, cultural and natural treasures in and around Poland. Explore small cities and towns filled with folklore and intrigue, see the sand dunes of Slowinski National park and discover the more than 2,000 lakes in Masurian Lake Land. This program is presented on Zoom from 12 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET. $20-$25


Wednesday, January 17

Inventor of the Future: The Visionary Life of Buckminster Fuller: Take a fascinating look at the inventor Buckminster Fuller, designer of the lattice shell structure known as the geodesic dome and other unique inventions. Author Alec Nevala-Lee reconstructs the origins of Fuller’s inventions and designs, and exposes his tumultuous private life, as well as his fraught relationships with students and collaborators. This program is presented on Zoom from 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET. $20-$25


Thursday, January 18

Stanley Kubrick: Exploring the Master Filmmaker: Join film historian Max Alvarez on an electrifying odyssey through the life and career of Stanley Kubrick, one of the 20th century’s most provocative and brilliant cinematic practitioners whose filmmaking reflects current and future concepts like the nuclear arms race and the perils of corruption and artificial intelligence. This online program is held on Zoom from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET. $30-$35

Revolutionary Road Trip: Join PBS television host Darley Newman and a panel of history and travel experts on a journey through American Revolution historic sites and battlefields, and learn about the hidden gems and rarely told stories about the American Revolution. Topics include the battles of Trenton and Princeton, the “Ten Crucial Days,” and the historical documents of the country’s founding. This program will be held in person at the Smithsonian’s Ripley Center from 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET and livestreamed. $25-30


Sunday, January 21 

Architects Respond to Nature: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Myth of the Prairie: Over the course of the last century, the work of two architectural giants, Frank Lloyd Wright and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, responded to nature in very different ways influencing other architects as well as builders and clients. In a three-part series, architectural professionals examine how contemporary architecture draws on the legacies of these groundbreakers in structures that integrate nature and eco-friendly considerations into their designs. The first session highlights Frank Lloyd Wright and will be presented on Zoom from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET. Participants enrolled in the Smithsonian World History Certificate program will earn 1/2 credit. $20-$25


Tuesday, January 23

The Haunting World of Dolphins: Join Susan Casey as she recounts the history of dolphin research and shares her own illustrated journey around the world as she studied and experienced wild dolphins. Casey introduces the leading marine scientists and activists who seek to understand and appreciate the wonders of dolphins. This program is presented on Zoom from 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET. $20-$25


Wednesday, January 24

The Visual Language of Islamic Art: In an introduction to the traditional arts of the Islamic world, museum consultant Sabiha Al Khemir provides an overview of objects across media including calligraphy, painting, ceramics, metalwork and textiles. The program is illustrated with examples of works of Islamic art from public and private collections around the world, many of which Al Khemir has personally handled. Participants enrolled in the Smithsonian World History Certificate program will earn 1/2 credit. This lecture is presented on Zoom from 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET. $20-$25


Saturday, January 27

The World of the Crusades: In this full-day program, historian Jennifer Paxton explores the origins of the Crusades, the complex relations between crusaders and their opponents, and their legacy for the modern world. Topics include Theory of the Just War, The Rise of Jihad and Crusading Redefined which explores the ways modern societies use the legacy of the Crusaders to suit their own political agendas. This program is presented on Zoom from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. $80-$90


Tuesday, January 30

Franz Josef Haydn: First of the Great Classical Masters: Join classical music and opera expert Saul Lilienstein as he introduces Josef Haydn, the man and the music. In this five-part series, Lilienstein demonstrates the range of Haydn’s innovative genius with musical recordings and video performances. This program is presented on Zoom from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET. $85-$95

Spice expert Eleanor Ford covers the myths and facts and properties of turmeric and shares some unusual and surprising ways to use this culinary treasure. Smithsonian Associates

Spices 101: Turmeric: Learn the facts, myths and stories of turmeric with spice expert Eleanor Ford who shares her secrets on how to use turmeric to the best effect and how to show it off in curries, pickles, eggs and even in lemon cake. This program is held online from 12 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET. $25-$30 

Pox Romana: The Plague That Shook the Roman World: Did a single disease bring Rome to its knees? After examining the available evidence, historian and author Colin Elliott argues that the pandemic was both the cause and effect of the fall of Rome. Elliott recounts the history of the outbreak and explores the post-pandemic crises. This program is presented on Zoom from 6:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET. $20-$25


Wednesday, January 31

Birds of Prey: Living with Modern Dinosaurs: Robert Johnson, master falconer, author and professor of biology at Coastal Carolina University, explores the vast diversity of birds of prey, from eagles to vultures, falcons to owls. Johnson sheds light on their adaptations and specializations and finally offers a definitive scientific answer to the age-old question of “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” This program is presented on Zoom from 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET. $20-$25

The Cuisine of Nigeria: Transcending Boundaries: Join recipe developer and food stylist Yewande Komolafe as she discusses Nigerian cuisine and explains the country’s regions and peoples, and describes the trans-tribal ingredients in historical context. Afterward, enjoy a light reception featuring bites from a local West African restaurant. This program is presented in person at the Smithsonian’s S. Dillon Ripley Center from 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. $30-$35


To view the Smithsonian Associates digital program guide, visit