A Botanical Painting and Printing Class and 21 Other Things to Do at the Smithsonian in October

Botanical Painting and Printing and 21 Other Smithsonian Associates Events in October

A student learns how to turn spring foliage into botanical watercolors and prints on paper in the Smithsonian Associates studio arts class, Painting and Printing: Leaves Two Ways. (Sue Fierston)
A student learns how to turn spring foliage into botanical watercolors and prints on paper in the Smithsonian Associates studio arts class, Painting and Printing: Leaves Two Ways. (Sue Fierston)

Thursday, October 3

2019 Smithsonian Craft2Wear Opening Night Benefit Preview Party: Enjoy this special Smithsonian Craft2Wear kick-off event while helping to jump-start the fundraising that supports Smithsonian grants. Ticket price includes drinks, hors d’oeuvres, the fun of shopping in a party setting and a Craft2Wear show one-day pass for either Friday, October 4 or Saturday, October 5. 6 p.m. $75

Friday, October 4

2019 Smithsonian Craft2Wear Show: A curated show and sale of the highest quality American made wearable art. Discover limited-edition jewelry, clothing and accessories by 70 acclaimed artists. The show takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and is also held Saturday, October 5. Advance tickets: $13

Saturday, October 5

The Road to Revolution: America, 1763-1776: In an all-day program, Richard Bell, associate professor of history at the University of Maryland, explores the tumultuous years between 1763 and 1776. He examines four of the extraordinary events that turned 13 loyal British colonies into a united confederation willing to go to war to achieve independence. 9:30 a.m. $75-$140

Sunday, October 6

Understanding Your Digital Mirrorless or SLR Camera: Moving Beyond Auto Mode: Photographers of all levels can get the most out of their digital mirrorless or SLR camera by taking part in this one-day workshop, which includes a shooting session on the Mall and an in-the-field discussion of technical elements along with composition, light and other aesthetic considerations. 9:30 a.m. $210-$260

Retratos performed at Smithsonian's Discovery Theater
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Smithsonian's Discovery Theater in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, presents two performances of Retratos: My People, Myself on October 9 and 10.

Wednesday, October 9

Smithsonian Discovery Theater Presents Retratos: My People, Myself: In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and presented in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, this joyous theatrical gallery of the many faces of Latin America is rooted in the writings of D.C. school students. Their vibrant words and images infuse this interactive play with intensely personal reflections on themes of identity and heritage—and a new generation’s dreams for America’s future. A performance will also be held on Thursday, October 10. 11:30 a.m. $3-$9

Thursday, October 10

Cathy Barrow: Portable Pies: In this evening program with tasting, local food writer and pie maker Cathy Barrow guides the rolling-pin novice and the experienced dough wrangler through one of the crusty, flaky recipes in her new book, When Pies Fly. She offers a step-by-step demonstration of a well-tested recipe that makes turning out a free-form pie practically foolproof and discusses some of the portable forms for which her versatile crusts can provide the base. 6:45 p.m. $30-$45

The Smithsonian Chamber Music Society's 43rd season begins October 12 in the National Museum of American History's Hall of Music featuring masterpieces from the late 16th to the mid-20th centuries played on priceless treasures from the Smithsonian's instrument collection. (Hugh Talman)

Saturday, October 12

Masterworks of Five Centuries 2019-2020 Concert Series: The 43rd season of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society (SCMS) features masterpieces from the late 16th to the mid-20th centuries, played on some of the world’s most highly prized musical instruments. Kenneth Slowik, SCMS artistic director, curates a pre-concert talk one hour prior to each concert. A concert is also presented on Sunday, October 13. 6:30 p.m. $25-$35

Monday, October 14

Baltimore’s Maritime Heritage: Spend the Columbus Day holiday with maritime historian, author and archaeologist Donald Grady Shomette and regional historian Hayden Matthews on board a reproduction of the 1768 schooner Sultana investigating the city’s prominent role in the seafaring history of America and the ships, shipbuilders, mariners, explorations and conflicts that helped build a nation. 8:15 a.m. $170-$220

Tuesday, October 15

Introduction to Photography: This 8-session course offers a solid foundation for new photographers ready to learn the basics. Topics include camera functions, exposure, metering, working with natural and artificial light and composition. At least two photoshoot excursions outside of the classroom are scheduled. 10:15 a.m. $225-$255

Flashback: The Sixties, How the Decade Shaped American Politics Today: Though now half a century in the past, the turbulent 1960s continues to reverberate in American society, culture and institutions. Leonard Steinhorn, a professor in the School of Communication at American University, explores the decade’s meaning and its legacy—which may well be the widening dividing line in politics today. 6:45 p.m. $30-$45

Wednesday, October 16

The Regency World of Jane Austen: Learn how Jane Austen’s novels provide a window into life in Regency England, creating a world of country retreats, London townhouses, balls, fashionable finery and romantic (if sometimes-rocky) courtships. But the realities of war, poverty and society’s ills rumble through the novels, threatening to disrupt family reputations and elegantly lived lives during that era. 6:45 p.m. $30-$45

Thursday, October 17

Calligraphy: Introduction to the Italic Hand: The elegant and enduring Italic script has a venerable legacy. In a 7-session daytime course, exercises will provide students with a guide to mastering the hand, including correct proportions and slant. The workshop is geared for students who have some knowledge using the broad-edge pen and wish to expand their study of calligraphy. 9 a.m. $215-$245

Painting Is for Everyone: Here’s a course that offers the perfect introduction to the art of painting. Students begin working in the versatile and flexible medium of acrylic paints as they learn to mix colors, use brushes, and approach elements of form such as value, texture, line, color, shape and edges. They’ll explore composition and variation and a bit of art history as well. 1:30 p.m. $225-$255

Saturday, October 19

Thinking Like an Historian: A Practical Guide: How do professional historians work? In a unique workshop, Christopher Hamner, an associate professor of American history at George Mason University, demystifies the process by guiding participants in how to think about and interpret the past. 10 a.m. $90-$140

Sunday, October 20

On-Location Photography: Great shoots start with great locations—and Washington offers plenty of unbeatable visual inspiration. In an 8-session weekend course students learn to capture this vibrant city and sharpen their way of thinking about shooting outdoors as they deploy a minimal amount of equipment and a lot of fresh perspective. 1:30 p.m. $225-$265

Tuesday, October 22

La Cocina: The Power of Food: Can a food truck be a symbol of social justice? What happens when natural entrepreneurs are provided the right resources and hands-on technical assistance? Find the answers in the story of La Cocina, a nonprofit small-business incubator in the Mission District of San Francisco that is turning home cooks into businesswomen. 6:45 p.m. $30-$45

Thursday, October 24

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease and the Dementias: What We Know, What We Can Do: Alzheimer’s disease, and the dementias in general, are among the most-feared consequences of older age. Hear from Barry Gordon, a nationally recognized expert on memory and memory disorders, about these debilitating conditions—and guidance on steps to take if faced with them—whether personally or in a family member or friend. 6:45 p.m. $30-$45

Saturday, October 26

Underground Virginia: Caves of the Shenandoah: Find out why Virginia’s caves never fail to dazzle visitors during a visit to realms of wonder eons in the making in the scenic Shenandoah Valley. Led by expert caver, Gregg Clemmer, participants explore two of the region’s great caverns—Shenandoah Caverns and Luray Caverns—from their stone columns and draperies to jagged helictites and dog-toothed spars. 7:30 a.m. $180-$230

The Legacy of the Ancient World: The Texts That Tell the Stories: Homer, the Bible, and the New Testament, are among the ancient texts that provide knowledge of the ancient world. In an all-day seminar, explore the stories behind these and other sources, which still retain their narrative power into the 21st century. 9:30 a.m. $90-$140

Painting and Printing: Leaves Two Ways: Learn how to turn spring foliage into beautiful botanical watercolors as well as prints on paper at this studio arts workshop. At the end of the day, take home at least two 8-by-10-inch watercolor paintings and several sheets of botanical leaf prints. 10:30 a.m. $65-$75

Wednesday, October 30

Introduction to Western Art: From the Great Pyramids to the Pantheon: In a 4-session evening course, Renee Gondek, an art historian and an adjunct faculty member in classics at the University of Mary Washington, leads an insightful survey of the paintings, sculptures and architecture produced in ancient Egypt and the Greco-Roman world that served as inspiration for generations of creators to come. 6:45 p.m. $90-$140

Thursday, October 31

How France Taught the World To Eat: French gastronomy is the benchmark for the world’s finest cuisine. Join French cuisine expert Susan Herrmann Loomis for a lively tour through the centuries that showcases the rich history of a unique and beloved cuisine and the influences that shaped it. The evening concludes with a reception featuring French-inspired specialties. 6:45 p.m. $75-$90

For a full calendar of Smithsonian Associates events, visit