Geraldine Brooks on the Heart of a Horse and More Programs in June

Smithsonian Associates presents a rich collection of curated programs this month in person and online

Image shows a woman wearing a white shirt standing with and holding the reins of a horse
Smithsonian Associates presents “Geraldine Brooks on the Heart of the Horse: A Novelist’s Portrait” in-person at the Smithsonian's S. Dillon Ripley Center on June 27 and online. Randi Baird

Wednesday, June 1

Smithsonian Knits: The War Years: In this studio arts workshop, take a deep dive into the creation and accession of six knitted items from the Smithsonian collection—and discover the iconic fashions and fascinating histories they represent. 6:30 p.m. ET $20-$30

How to Travel Again 2.0: More Up-to-the-Minute Expert Tips: The pandemic continues to upend the travel industry—and nearly everyone’s getaway plans. To assist aspiring travelers, Washington Post travel writer Andrea Sachs; Pauline Frommer, editorial director of Frommer’s Guidebooks; and a representative of the State Department offer a field guide to this new and sometimes-confounding landscape and share the best resources for staying safe, healthy and well-informed so you can relax on your long-overdue trip. 6:45 p.m. ET $20-$25


Thursday, June 2

Destination Cities: Santa Fe: Santa Fe offers something for everyone, especially travelers interested in art, wellness, history, and outdoor adventures. PBS television host Darley Newman shares great tips for getting the most out of your visit and uncovers some of the locally loved hidden gems that you might overlook. 7 p.m. ET $25-$30

Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington: For decades, the specter of homosexuality haunted Washington: The mere suggestion someone might be gay destroyed reputations, ended careers, and ruined lives. James Kirchick discusses individuals who courageously decided that the source of their private shame could instead be galvanized for public pride. 7 p.m. ET $20-$25


Saturday, June 4 

Introduction to Pastels: Cezanne-inspired Landscapes in the Enid A. Haupt Garden: Impressionist artists favored working in the vibrant medium of pastel because of its luminosity and color-layering effects. Working in open-air in the Enid A. Haupt Garden in a 4-session weekend studio arts course, capture the colors of nature and the interaction of light and shadows using Cezanne’s color-blocking style to produce brilliant and subtle effects. Enrolled participants in the Smithsonian World Art History Certificate earn 1/2 credit. 10 a.m. ET $245-$265

Sustainable Closet: Mending and Darning: Find out how to make your clothes last longer by using a host of sustainable fiber practices. They are one part of a new lifestyle that embraces a “regenerative” economy rather than an extraction-based one. Consider taking this 2-session weekend class as a step in the right direction for our world and future generations. The second session will be held on Saturday, June 11. 1:30 p.m. ET $85-$105


Monday, June 6

Dangerous Music: Too political, too sensuous, too crude, too abstract: Works by even the most celebrated of composers—including Mozart, Beethoven, and Stravinsky—became targets for outrage and censorship. Lecturer and concert pianist Rachel Franklin looks at several once-controversial musical works and the uproars, scandals, and even brawls they inspired during their times. 6:30 p.m. ET $30-$35


Tuesday, June 7

The Presence of Mister Rogers: Preserving Humanity in the Digital Age: Fred Rogers’ extraordinary capacity to connect with his audience made him an endearing figure to the millions of children (and grown-ups) who watched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood over its 33-year run. Steven M. Emmanuel of Virginia Wesleyan University examines how Rogers was able to create a personal presence that radiated care, compassion, and humanity in the impersonal medium of television—and finds lessons for today. 6:45 p.m. ET $20-$25


Wednesday, June 8

Reptiles and Amphibians: A Closer Look: Join naturalist and salamander enthusiast Matt Felperin for an introduction to the fascinating world of herpetofauna, or “herps.” Otherwise known as reptiles and amphibians, these largely misunderstood animals are more interesting than you have probably imagined them to be. 7 p.m. ET $25-$30


Thursday, June 9

Beer: A Taste of American History: Theresa McCulla, curator of the American Brewing History Initiative at the National Museum of American History, traces the development of American beer through artifacts from Smithsonian collections and offers a guided tasting of four beer styles that flow through brewing history from the 1700s to today. 7 p.m. ET $20-$25


Tuesday, June 14

The History of Vaccines: Though humanity has benefited from them for more than two centuries, the pathway to effective vaccines has been neither neat nor direct. Medical historian Howard Markel traces the history of vaccines and immunization from its late-18th-century beginnings and how it may inform long-term solutions to contemporary problems with vaccine research, production, and supplies. 6:45 p.m. ET $20-$25 

The Philadelphia Flower Show: During a full-day tour, enjoy the summer breezes at the 2022 outdoor edition of the nation’s largest and longest-running horticultural event, the Philadelphia Flower Show. This year’s theme, In Full Bloom, explores the restorative and healing power of nature and plants. Encounter gardens at the peak of seasonal perfection and beauty. 9 a.m. ET $155-$205

In an online program on June 15, Betsy Johnson, assistant curator at the Hirshhorn Museum, who organized One with Eternity, discusses Yayoi Kusama and the exhibition within the broader context of the artist’s life and practice. Infinity Mirrored Room—My Heart Is Dancing into the Universe, 2018 by Yayoi Kusama (Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.)

Wednesday, June 15

Yayoi Kusama at the Hirshhorn: Presenting "Eternity": The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden set records with its 2017 exhibition, Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors, which featured the Japanese artist’s acclaimed polka dots and spellbinding visions. Now, the museum has opened One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection, which debuts new acquisitions by Kusama, including two of her renowned Infinity Mirror Rooms. Enrolled participants in the Smithsonian World Art History Certificate earn 1/2 credit. 6:45 p.m. ET $20-$25


Thursday, June 16  

Judy Garland: A 100th Birthday Tribute: Her decades of stardom and struggle were marked by bouts of alcohol and drug abuse, multiple divorces, and career swings, but Judy Garland remains one of the greatest interpreters of American popular song. American music specialist Robert Wyatt explores highlights from her extraordinary life with clips from her movies and television specials. 6:30 p.m. ET $30-$35

A Gourmet's Ireland: Bloomsday is a good day to join food historian Francine Segan in a celebration of Ireland’s culinary treats. She sprinkles her conversation with fun trivia on topics from shamrocks to leprechauns and limericks—and tips on traveling to Ireland to taste for yourself! 6:30 p.m. ET $20-$25

Women in Jazz: On and Off the Concert Stage: In an online lecture-concert presentation, Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra's artistic director Charlie Young highlights the contributions of some of the leading women in jazz as the SJMO performs music they’ve made famous. 7 p.m. ET $20-$25


Wednesday, June 22

Women Astronomers Reach for the Stars: For much of the 20th century, the doors of opportunity stayed closed to women in astronomy, but after decades of difficult struggles they are closer to equality than ever before. Virginia Trimble, co-editor of the new anthology The Sky Is for Everyone, is joined by two of the book’s contributors to discuss the stories of the tough and determined women who shaped a transformative era in astronomy. 6:45 p.m. ET $20-$25

Orchid expert Barb Schmidt leads a virtual tour of the Longwood Gardens grounds and the newly reopened Orchid House for Smithsonian Associates on June 23. Davis Harold Hank

Thursday, June 23

Longwood Gardens: A Close-up Look: In a virtual tour of Longwood Gardens grounds and newly reopened Orchid House with orchid expert Barb Schmidt, learn how it’s more than beautiful flower displays…it’s an important center for horticultural science. 12 p.m. ET $25-$30


Monday, June 27 

Geraldine Brooks on the Heart of a Horse: A Novelist's Portrait: Pulitzer Prize–winning author Geraldine Brooks discusses her newest novel, Horse, which explores art and science, the bond between people and animals, and the continuing story of race and injustice. This program will take place at the National Museum of the American Indian and be live-streamed. 6:45 p.m. ET $20-$25


Tuesday, June 28

Los Angeles: An Emerging Megalopolis: Bill Keene, a lecturer in history, urban studies, and architecture, examines developments from the 1930s onward that shaped Los Angeles as a magnet for population migration and a major center of industry. 8 p.m. ET $25-$30


Thursday, June 30

Smithsonian Secretaries: 175 Years of Challenges and Achievements: Throughout its history, the Smithsonian Institution has been shaped by just 14 secretaries, each interpreting and adapting founder James Smithson’s educational mandate in the context of their times. Smithsonian historian Pamela Henson focuses on five leaders who have left the largest imprints, from Joseph Henry, the institution’s first head, to Lonnie G. Bunch III, the current—and first African American—secretary. 7 p.m. ET $20-$25

To view Smithsonian Associates digital program guide, visit