Smithsonian Associates

Learn the Real Science Behind 'Breaking Bad’ and 19 Other Things to Do at the Smithsonian in June

Former Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough holds
Former Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough holds "Alligator mississippiensis" from Georgia, specimen USNM 6151 in the Natural History Museum’s collection (Photo: Jeremy Jacobs). Clough will speak at a Smithsonian Associates' event on June 20.

Saturday, June 1

Back-to-Basics Boot Camp for Knitters: Whether you know how to knit a scarf but not much more, used to knit but now feel rusty, or are confident in your beginning knitting skills but want to make sure you're ready for an intermediate class or project, this workshop is for you. 10 a.m. $75-$95

Photo Shoot: Storytelling on the Streets of DC: Inspired by Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York project, venture to the National Mall to capture portraits and life stories to create a unique group project. This program is part of Click DC, a month-long celebration of photography in the nation’s capital. 2 p.m. $95

Monday, June 3

Secrets of the Cuban Revolution: To mark the 60th anniversary of the revolution, Smithsonian Magazine writer Tony Perrottet draws on his new book ¡Cuba Libre!: Che, Fidel, and the Improbable Revolution That Changed World Historyto offer a look at some of the lesser-known human drama that played out against the backdrop of political upheaval. 6:45 p.m. $20-$30

Wednesday, June 5

L. Frank Baum: The Man Behind the Curtain of Oz: Though its heroine called the Kansas prairie home, the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Ozcreated perhaps the most beloved and enduring imaginary locale in children’s literature. Author Daniel Stashower and actor Scott Sedar strike off on a celebratory journey through L. Frank Baum’s life, works and legacy. 6:45 p.m. $45-$60

Thursday, June 6

What Superheroes Know About Economics: Do Spider-Man’s existential doubts revolve around opportunity costs? Economist Brian O’Roark examines a powerful (if unlikely) alliance between the worlds of the comics and economics and why, despite their amazing powers, superheroes are still beholden to its laws. 6:45 p.m. $15-$30

Friday, June 7

Finding Paradise in Montgomery County: Did you know there is rural beauty nearby to Washington that rivals the English countryside or Provence? Spend a June day with author and naturalist Melanie Choukas-Bradley as she shares some of her favorite places in a slice of paradise bordering the Frederick County line. 8:30 a.m. $175-$225

Sunday, June 9

Lawrence Jackson: Lessons from a Master Photographer: Photojournalist and former official White House staff photographer Lawrence Jackson shares his approach to creating images that tell compelling stories, and offers a rare inside look at what it’s like to document daily life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 2:00 p.m. $25

Monday, June 10

The Real “Top Gun”: The Pilot Behind the Navy Fighter Weapons School: As the famed training school’s 50th anniversary approaches, founder Dan Pedersen offers a first-hand account of the program, tells the inside story of its development during the Vietnam War, and examines how its training provided American flyers with the know-how to dominate air combat from Miramar to Area 51. 6:45 p.m. $20-$30

Saturday, June 15

Experiencing the Divine: Religions of India: Centuries of myriad religious traditions are reflected in daily life on the Indian subcontinent. Graham Schweig, a professor of religion at Christopher Newport University, surveys the rich heritage of influences, practices, and philosophies that have shaped India’s spiritual history. 9:30 a.m. $90-$140

Smithsonian Sleepover at the American History Museum: Imagine rolling out your sleeping bag at the home of the Star Spangled Banner. That's exactly what kids ages 8-14 and their chaperones can do when they attend a Smithsonian Sleepover. Participants will solve a mystery of historic proportions during an interactive exploration of exhibit halls. Along the way, they will take part in games, experiments and craft projects, and even become a presidential candidate. This program also takes place on July 5. 7 p.m. $100-$120

Sunday, June 16

Romulus Whitaker’s Serpentine World: Join acclaimed herpetologist Romulus Whitaker for a fascinating discussion about his work on snakebite mitigation, India’s iconic snakes and his ongoing efforts to preserve reptile habitats. Little wonder a species of Indian boa, Eryx whitakeri, was named in his honor. 2 p.m. $15-$30

Monday, June 17

Jefferson and the Meaning of Religious Freedom: Historian John Ragosta examines whether Thomas Jefferson’s insistence on separation of church on state was essential to the early development of American religious freedom or if the concept, as critics claim, is a mid-20th century phenomenon. 6:45 p.m. $20-$30

Thursday, June 20

Things New and Strange: Secretary Clough Finds Personal Links in the Smithsonian’s Collections: The quiet rural town where former Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough was raised holds a treasury of family memories. Learn how his journey of research through the Smithsonian’s collections uncovered an even bigger story about his beloved South Georgia: one that encompasses more than 15,000 years of natural history. 6:45 p.m. $20-$30

Friday, June 21

Smithsonian Sleepover at the Natural History Museum: Don’t just dream about adventure on a summer night, have one! Pack your sleeping bag and a toothbrush and venture to the National Museum of Natural History, as it closes its doors. Wander into the newly opened Fossil Hall, where dinosaurs cast giant shadows; explore the ocean’s aquatic wonders; walk softly pass mysterious mammals—did that one blink? Swap stories while enjoying hands-on crafts projects and games. And then, as the lights dim, roll out your sleeping bag and dream away, knowing that Phoenix the whale is keeping watch throughout your night in the museum. For kids 8-14 and their chaperones. This program also takes place on June 28, July 19, July 26, August 2 and August 6. 7 p.m. $100-$120

Saturday, June 22

Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution: Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II forged much more than a songwriting partnership; they created one of the most profitable and powerful entertainment businesses of their era. Todd Purdum, culture and politics writer for The Atlantic, examines how the innovative musicals of these cultural powerhouses came to define postwar America on stage, screen, television and radio. 9 a.m. $90-$140

Tuesday, June 25

The Science of “Breaking Bad”: Behind the Scenes With the Show’s Science Advisor: During six seasons on AMC, Walter White, the antihero of “Breaking Bad” practiced a lot of ad-hoc chemistry. But how much of it was actually scientific? Join the show’s science advisor, chemistry professor Donna Nelson, and scientist Marius Stan, who appeared as an actor, to learn how the series mixed fictional storylines with professionally accurate facts. 6:45 p.m. $15-$30

Wednesday, June 26

Discovery Theater Presents Kuumba Kids: Gather round the iconic tree of life for traditional, songs, stories and dances from “Iya” Bashea Imana and her talented troupe of Kuumba Kids. This show is appropriate for ages 4-8 and is also playing June 27-28 and July 2-3. 10:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. $3-$9

“The Sopranos” at 20: The Godfather of Prestige TV: To mark the anniversary of the landmark HBO series, Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz, television critics of New Jersey’s Star-Ledger—Tony Soprano’s hometown newspaper—discuss the show’s artistry, themes, and legacy, as well as its deep connections to other film and TV classics. 6:45 p.m. $30-$45

Declaring Independence: A Global Legacy: Historian Richard Bell reconstructs the fascinating history of America’s Declaration of Independence, covering its origins, purpose, impact and its extraordinary influence on more than 100 similar declarations in countries around the world. 6:45 p.m. $30-$45

Friday, June 28

Sustainable Cities: How DC Takes the LEED: Washington, D.C., was the first municipality to be recognized a leading sustainable city by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Cities initiative. Spend a day with Bill Keene, a lecturer in history, urban studies, and architecture, for a close-up look at several sites—from the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant to an elementary-school garden—that play a role in creating a greener nation’s capital. 9:30 a.m. $140-$190

For a full calendar of Smithsonian Associates events, visit www.smithsonianassociates.org.

Lauren Lyons is a public affairs specialist at Smithsonian Associates.

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