Cooking with Alex Guarnaschelli and 25 Other Smithsonian Associates Programs Streaming in December

Alex Guarnaschelli talks about cooking with family connections in a live Smithsonian Associates program streaming Dec. 8 (Johnny Miller).
Alex Guarnaschelli talks about cooking with family connections in a live Smithsonian Associates program streaming Dec. 8 (Johnny Miller).

Smithsonian Associates Streaming continues through December with individual programs, multi-part courses, studio arts classes and virtual study tours produced by the world’s largest museum-based educational program.

Tuesday, December 1

Exploring the Mysteries of World Heritage Sites: Easter Island: Historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an overview of some of the most intriguing UNESCO World Heritage sites, providing glimpses into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires and religions. In this session, he examines the iconic moai statues of Easter Island and draws on the latest scholarship and theories to explain how these giant statues came to dominate the most remotely inhabited island in the world. 6:45 p.m. $25

Unearthing History at Armageddon: Discoveries made at the ancient mound at Megiddo transformed our understanding of the ancient world. Eric Cline, a professor of classics and anthropology and director of George Washington University’s Capitol Archaeological Institute—who also dug at Megiddo in more recent times—draws on archival records left by the participants to present a portrait of a bygone age of archaeology. 6:45 p.m. $20-$25


Wednesday, December 2

Deconstructing Frank Gehry: The work of architect Frank Gehry is fascinating, imaginative, unexpected and always fresh—as well as controversial, often-derided and at times seen as the antithesis of good architecture. In a richly detailed program, Bill Keene, a lecturer in urban studies and architecture, examines Gehry’s life and career from his earliest buildings to works in progress. Smithsonian World Art History Certificate enrollees receive 1/2 credit. 12 p.m. $25-$30

Lennon, Ono, and the Making of Double Fantasy: In this interactive, multimedia talk, music historian Kenneth Womack traces the story behind Double Fantasy, John Lennon’s remarkable 1980 comeback album with wife Yoko Ono. 6:45 p.m. $20-$25

Thursday, December 3

Battling Wildlife Pandemics: Amid our own global pandemic, certain wildlife are also facing an unprecedented conservation crisis. Scientists Rebecca Gooley and Luke Linhoff of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute discuss their work in taking in members of two animal populations devastated by pandemics—the Tasmanian devil and amphibians—into captivity in order to protect, study, breed, and reintroduce them into the wild. 6:45 p.m. $20-$25

Friday, December 4

Elegant Dining and Entertaining in the Victorian Era: The Victorian era was a time of calling cards and letters of introduction, croquet and garden parties and afternoon teas and fancy-dress balls. But the dinner party established the era’s reputation for elaborate excess. Food historian Francine Segan provides a glimpse into the very specific etiquette behind those affairs. 12 p.m. $20-$25

Saturday, December 5

Painters in Provence: From Van Gogh to Matisse: The South of France, with its glorious light and varied vistas, has long been a magnet for plein-air painters. Art historian Bonita Billman looks into the inspiration that places such as Avignon, Arles, St. Tropez, Nice and others provided for the brilliantly colored works produced by 19th- and early-20th century painters. Smithsonian World Art History Certificate enrollees receive 1 credit. 9:30 a.m. $80-$90

Gyotaku: The Japanese Art of Printing with Fish: Using direct printing and water-based printing inks, create realistic looking schools of fish or a single artistic print simply by inking a whole fish and pressing it to paper. 1:30 p.m. $75-$85

Non-Traditional Holiday Ornaments: Using mini-canvases as the base, decorative embellishments, photos, and other personal mementos, create one-of-a-kind small hanging artworks that can be individualized to fit any occasion for giving. 1:30 p.m. $70-$80

Sunday, December 6

Orchids for the Holidays: Take a break from the stress of the season to enjoy an entertaining and informative afternoon with an orchid expert and come away with an elegant orchid centerpiece. 2 p.m. $30-$40

Moroccan and Sephardic Cuisine: In time for the holiday season, chef Danielle Renov, a Moroccan Jew born in New York and at home in Israel, shares the cultures and traditions that inform her recipes in a lively conversation with cookbook author and Jewish cuisine maven Joan Nathan. 3 p.m. $20-$25

Monday, December 7

Duke Ellington: Genius Beyond Category: No one led a life, led a band or made music like Duke Ellington. American music specialist John Edward Hasse surveys the life and career of a one-of-a-kind man who overcame racial, social, and musical obstacles to become one of the 20th century’s greatest musicians. 6:30 p.m. $30-$35

Tuesday, December 8

Alex Guarnaschelli: Cooking With Family Connections: Join Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli as she talks about the stories behind the food in her new book, Cook with Me: 150 Recipes for the Home Cook. She shares how the recipes, traditions and insights she captured reflect generations of collective experience and the power that food has to bring people—especially families—together. 6:45 p.m. $25-$30

Wednesday, December 9

The Etruscans: A Style All Their Own: Explore the heart of Italy during the first millennium B.C. through a journey into the enigmatic world of the Etruscans. Art historian Renee Gondek assembles a portrait of daily life in this lesser-known civilization—whose writings have never been translated—by examining the distinctive visual style reflected in recovered art, artifacts and structures. Smithsonian World Art History Certificate enrollees receive 1/2 credit. 12 p.m. $20-$25

Photo 101: Understanding ISO: ISO is the numerical value used by digital and film cameras to define the light sensitivity of the recording medium. In this workshop students learn how to use their ISO settings to darken and brighten photos, and how this relates to other camera settings such as aperture and shutter speed. 6:30 p.m. $45-$55

James Joyce's Ulysses: A Fresh Look: Despite its reputation as a notoriously difficult-to-read modern classic, James Joyce thought of his masterwork as a comic novel. Irish literature specialist Cóilín Parsons revisits the chronicle of the June day on which Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom meander their way through Dublin to examine why that description may be the right one for this richly rewarding book. 6:45 p.m. $20-$25

Friday, December 11

Mozart: The Reign of Love: The inexplicable force of nature that was Wolfgang Mozart seemed to live onstage and off simultaneously, a character in life’s tragicomedy but also outside of it, watching, studying and gathering material for the fabric of his art. Biographer Jan Swafford examines how those dual lives converged in the creation of works that shaped classical music for all time.12 p.m. $20-$25

Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper: Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in the Early Renaissance, explores the evolution of the subject of the Last Supperin Italian art, from early Christian images to examples from the late Renaissance. Smithsonian World Art History Certificate enrollees receive 1/2 credit. 6:30 p.m. $25-$30

Sunday, December 13

Holidays at the White House: Learn how first ladies from Jacqueline Kennedy to Melania Trump have left their mark on White House Christmas celebrations. Historian Coleen Christian Burke, highlights Lady Bird Johnson’s home and family theme, resonating with the nation’s loss of President Kennedy; Nancy Reagan’s interest in restoring a childlike sense of holiday wonder; and Laura Bush’s “Red, White and Blue” Christmas, depicting a nation banding together. Burke also recalls the important role of first pets and offers views of the beautiful floral arrangements in the holiday White House through the years. $25-$30

First Ladies' Crafting Traditions: The Art of Decorating at the White House: Inspired by the first lady crafting tradition, create a holiday ornament for your house, inspired by the people’s house: Michelle Obama’s meaningful hanging envelope. 1 p.m. $30-$35

Monday, December 14

The Tuscan Wine Revolution: Join historian Peter Fischer as he explores the history of winemaking in Tuscany and how it was transformed in the 1970s by a few bold makers whose radical modern techniques reset the model for quality with the introduction of the Super Tuscans. 5 p.m. $20-$25


Meteors and Meteorites: Geminids Live with Virtual Night Sky Viewing: Around December 14, the annual Geminid meteor shower will be plentiful and bright around a new moon. Join George Mason University Observatory’s Peter Plavchan and geologist-turned-meteorite scientist Tim Gregory for a night illuminated by meteors and meteorites. 6:45 p.m. $20-$25

Wednesday, December 16

The Nativity in Art: Centuries of Storytelling: Generations of painters have been inspired to capture the moment—and intense spirituality—of Christ’s birth. Art historian Elaine Ruffolo examines how the artistic evolution of the Nativity reflects developments in European art, from the earliest known image in a 2nd-century catacomb through 17th-century presentations of the Holy Family in dramatic Baroque style. Smithsonian World Art History Certificate enrollees receive 1/2 credit. 12 p.m. $20-$25

The Nature of Nature: Why We Need the Wild: Ecologist Enric Sala, National Geographic’s explorer-in-residence and director of its Pristine Seas project, asserts that once we appreciate how nature works, we will understand how conservation is economically wise and why it is essential to our survival. 6:45 p.m. $20-$25

Thursday, December 17

The Aeroplane Takes Flight: Early Air Shows Captivate America: The fledgling aviators who followed in the steps of the Wright brothers were daring, dashing, and about to launch themselves into a whole new world of entertainment—the air show. Aviation writer and filmmaker Paul Glenshaw leads a rollicking trip around the country at the dawn of the last century and the age of flight. 6:45 p.m. $20-$25

Friday, December 18

Caravaggio: Rebel with a Paintbrush: Caravaggio was a genius, a scoundrel, an outlaw and a murderer. But above all, he was the greatest artist of his age, and remains one of the most influential and absorbing of all Italian painters. Art historian Elaine Ruffolo highlights his legacy. Smithsonian World Art History Certificate enrollees receive 1/2 credit. 12 p.m. $20-$25

To view Smithsonian Associates digital program guide, visit