Ken Burns, Anthony Fauci, Justice Stephen Breyer, Stanley Tucci and Ina Garten Headline October Streaming Programs

Smithsonian Associates Streaming has assembled a stellar fall lineup of guests who will be in the spotlight for some fascinating conversations

Muhammad Ali filmmakers Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon will discuss the making of the documentary at a Smithsonian Associates Streaming program on October 4.  Gift from Muhammad Ali to the National Museum of American History

Monday, October 4

Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court and Politics: An event with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in conversation with CNN legal analyst, Joan Biskupic, will be held to a limited-capacity audience at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery at Eighth and G streets N.W. and simulcast on Zoom. Breyer will discuss his new book, The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics. 6 p.m. ET $40-45

Muhammad Ali: Documenting a Legend: The new documentary Muhammad Ali brings to life one of the most indelible figures of the 20th century, a three-time heavyweight boxing champion who captivated millions of fans across the world with his mesmerizing combination of speed, grace and power in the ring and charm and playful boasting outside of it. Join Fath Davis Ruffins, a curator at the Smithsonian American History Museum, for an intriguing History Film Forum conversation with its filmmakers. Free for Smithsonian Associates members. 7 p.m. ET


Tuesday, October 5

Lost Civilizations: The Aztecs:  When Hernando Cortés and his company of conquistadores landed near present-day Veracruz, Mexico, in April of 1519, he kept hearing “Motecuhzoma, Motecuhzoma, Motecuhzoma.” This was Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, king of the Mexica and emperor of the powerful Aztec empire. Anthropologist Frances F. Berdan examines some of the most interesting (and often misunderstood) aspects of Aztec life. 6:45 p.m. $20-$25

How Food and Drink Shaped European Culture: Can a Renaissance feast tell us about perspective in painting? Drawing on his new book The Hungry Eye, Leonard Barkan, a professor of comparative literature at Princeton University, explores the central role of food and drink in literature, art, philosophy, religion and statecraft from antiquity to the Renaissance. 6:45 p.m. ET $20-25


Thursday, October 7

Stanley Tucci's Taste: My Life Through Food: Award-winning actor and self-professed food obsessive Stanley Tucci joins cookbook author and TV host Ina Garten to discuss his favorite food memories, his recent Emmy-award winning series for CNN, Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy, and what he is looking forward to in the future. This event is presented in collaboration with Scripps Presents, the public programming series at Scripps College. 8 p.m. ET  $40-$45


Tuesday, October 12

Introduction to Photography: Whether you want to work in digital or film, this 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. Critiques of assignments enhance the technical skills you learn. 10:30 a.m. ET $225-$255

A Geologic Tour of Patagonia: The Patagonia region of South America has long attracted naturalists and explorers to unravel the mysteries of its dramatic landscape. Geologist Kirt Kempter leads a virtual tour of the region including highlights such as national parks, glaciers and several picturesque volcanoes of the southern Andes. 7 p.m. ET  $20-$25


Wednesday, October 13

The Art of Floral Design: Floral artist Arrin Sutliff explores the spectrum of floral design in a six-session afternoon studio arts course. Sourcing (with a focus on sustainability), making the most of seasonal flowers, creating centerpieces, wiring techniques, bouquet-making and photographing your work are all among the practical areas covered. 12 p.m. ET $135-$165

Dr. Fauci and the Covid Crisis: From day one of the Covid pandemic, Anthony Fauci has been front and center in the fight to destroy the virus. After a brief respite, the virus, in a mutated form, has created a new crisis. Join the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as he helps us understand—from a scientific viewpoint—where we have been and what we need to know going forward. 6 p.m. ET  $20-$25


Thursday, October 14

Artists in Depth at the Barnes Foundation: Renoir: Albert Barnes amassed 181 works by Pierre-August Renoir—the world’s largest collection. Barnes Foundation educator Penny Hansen uses high-definition Deep Zoom technology to offer remarkable close-up views of his paintings as she examines his stylistic changes over the years, and discusses Barnes’ great affinity for Renoir, especially his late works. Enrolled participants in the Smithsonian World Art History Certificate earn 1/2 credit. 10 a.m. ET $30-$35


Monday, October 18

Artful Mind: Tranquil Mind: Artists throughout the world and the centuries have developed practices that allow them to center themselves, find calm, and prepare for making art. The same techniques can be helpful in everyday life as well, offering both a quiet escape and a spark for your imagination. 12 p.m. ET  $85-$115


Wednesday, October 20

Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign: A Portrait in Command: Historian Christopher Hamner examines Grant’s often-overlooked 1864 Overland Campaign to illustrate how his effectiveness as a military commander proved crucial in driving the Union toward its overall victory the following year. 6:30 p.m. ET $20-$25

Baking With Dorie: Sweet, Salty, and Simple: Dorie Greenspan's name is synonymous with baking—and always-tempting recipes. Join her in conversation with Zoë François, host of "Zoë Bakes" on the Magnolia Network, as she reflects on the art of baking, shares stories and great home baking tips, and talks about how she created her newest book, Baking With Dorie. 6:45 p.m. ET $20-$25


Thursday, October 21

Drowned Worlds: Submerged Lands in Science, Memory, and Myth: We live surrounded by drowned worlds according to geologist Patrick Nunn. Join him live from Australia as he recounts the histories of some of these shadow lands and what their understanding implies, drawing on research informed by science as well as human memories of submerged lands retained in oral traditions and eyewitness observations that became encoded in myth. 7 p.m. ET $20-$25

Empty beer glasses appear along side one full upright glass
The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History and Smithsonian Associates present Beer Histories Now on October 22. Courtesy of the National Museum of American History

Friday, October 22 

Beer Histories, Now: Americans have been brewing, enjoying and thinking about beer for generations. But there’s still new light to shed on the nation’s favorite libation. Join a lively conversation with a panel of professionals from the fields of filmmaking, historical research, journalism and brewing as they discuss their innovative ways to share the stories and histories of the venerable beverage. 7 p.m. ET $15


Monday, October 25

From Mad George to Megxit: A Royal Scandal in Context: Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, riveted a public desperate for distraction from the ongoing pandemic. Historian Julie Taddeo explores their withdrawal from the royal family—Megxit—and its fallout within a larger historical context, linking it to past scandals from the Georgian era through the late 20th century. 6:30 p.m. ET $20-$25


Wednesday, October 27

Extraterrestrial Ecosystems: Hollywood can imagine impressive and convincing alien creatures, but is there any science behind our understanding of what extraterrestrial life might be like? Although we don’t know whether they’ll be green, zoologist Arik Kershenbaum shares his insights into how familiar they might be, using lessons from the behaviors that we see in animals on our own planet. 12 p.m. ET  $20-$25


Thursday, October 28

Flying into a War Zone: Pan Am Stewardesses in Vietnam: Serving as crew members on flights bringing servicemen into and out of combat zones at the height of the Vietnam War was a career adventure that the young women who became stewardesses at Pan Am World Airways in the 1960s and 70s could never have imagined. Drawing on her new book Come Fly the World, Julia Cooke discusses their often-overlooked wartime stories and examines why the role of Jet Age stewardess carried far more professional weight than simply being a flying waitress. 6:45 p.m. ET $20-25


Saturday, October 30

Cultures of the Mekong: Civilizations have risen and fallen for centuries on the banks of the Mekong River. Long before there was Phnom Penh, Hanoi, or Vientiane, there were the settlements in the areas now known as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. Art historian Robert DeCaroli investigates the cultures that emerged along this massive 2,700-mile-long river. Enrolled participants in the Smithsonian World Art History Certificate earn 1 credit. 10 a.m. ET $70-$80


To view the October Smithsonian Associates digital program guide, visit