How to Be a Conscious Eater Plus More Programs in August

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

Image shows a variety of foods including a piece of salmon, avocados, sardines and two small bowls of nuts and seeds
An online Smithsonian Associates program on August 31 offers a practical guide to everyday eating that’s good for you, good for others and good for the planet.  Smithsonian Associates

Tuesday, August 2

“Into the Jaws of Death”: Fighting the Crimean War: The brutal Crimean War exemplified the kind of competition among mighty European nations seen through much of the 18th and 19th centuries. Historian Christopher Hamner provides an overview of this war, emphasizing the ways it straddled the traditional and the modern ways to wage war—and informed other nations’ preparations for future conflicts. 6:30 p.m. ET $20-$25


Thursday, August 4

The Mystical Core in Traditional Religions: Using sacred texts, music, art and other forms of expression, Graham M. Schweig examines the meaning, role and practice of mysticism. In the process, he discusses what mystical traditions reveal about the relationship between humans and the divine. 6:30 p.m. ET $30-$35


Saturday, August 6

The Artistic Legacy of Ancient Greece: Without the gift of ancient Greece our world would be a very different place. Explore this unique legacy with author Nigel McGilchrist and follow its ongoing influence through the universal appeal of the humanity of its art. Enrolled participants in the Smithsonian World Art History Certificate earn 1/2 credit. 9:30 a.m. ET $80-$90


Monday, August 8

The Secret History of Home Economics: The term home economics may conjure traumatic memories of lopsided hand-sewn pillows or sunken muffins. But according to author Danielle Dreilinger, the once-revolutionary “science of better living” that exploded job opportunities for women in the 20th century still has something to teach us today: that everyone should learn how to cook a meal, balance their bank account and fight for a better world. 7 p.m. ET $20-$25


Wednesday, August 10

Animal Behavior: How It Evolves and Why It Matters: In an exploration of animal behavior in all its glorious complexity, biologist Marlene Zuk goes beyond the nature-versus-nurture debate to focus on the interaction between genes and the environment. Driving her investigation is an essential question: How does behavior evolve in animals—and humans? 6:45 p.m. ET $20-$25


Friday, August 12

African-Jewish Cooking: A Cultural Crossroads with Culinary Historian Michael W. Twitty: Culinary historian Michael W. Twitty is fascinated by the marriage of two of the most distinctive culinary cultures in the world today: the foods and traditions of the African Atlantic and the global Jewish diaspora. Join the James Beard Award–winning author as he explores the crossroads of these cuisines, as well as issues of memory and identity that grow from them. This program will be held in person at the Smithsonian’s S. Dillon Ripley Center and online. 6:45 p.m. ET $20-$25


Saturday, August 13

Introduction to Lightroom: Adobe Lightroom is the most useful (and user friendly) software for organizing and editing images, usable for both RAW and JPEG image files. This two-session workshop offers users an overview of the program, with a focus on working with the essential Library and Develop modules for organizing and editing your files. 9:30 a.m. ET $275-$295

On August 15 Folklorists Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman journey into the past to explore the tales of authors such as Madame d'Aulnoy (who coined the term fairy tale), Madame de Murat and Charles Perrault. 19th-century illustration for "The Blue Bird" by Madame d'Aulnoy / Smithsonian Associates

Monday, August 15

French Fairytales: Once upon a time, fairy tales were not the short, simple children’s stories we all know. Instead, they often carried subtle messages or warnings, or ridiculed powerful figures. These subversive stories were created in 17th-century Paris literary salons, safe forums for aristocrats—mostly women—to gather and share often coded tales. Folklorists Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman explore these mostly forgotten tales and their deeper meanings. 6:45 p.m. ET $20-$25


Wednesday, August 17

Architecture and Public Art Photography: Learn how to take great photographs of architecture and public art in an online three-session course. Class discussions include techniques and camera settings for cityscapes, individual buildings, architectural details, contemporary public art, monuments and memorials and more. 6:30 p.m. ET $125-$145

Emmy Award–nominated PBS television host Darley Newman leads a virtual tour through St. Louis on August 18. Downtown St. Louis, Old Courthouse with the Gateway Arch / Smithsonian Associates

Thursday, August 18

Destination Cities: St. Louis: From charming parks to neighborhoods that reflect a rich immigrant heritage to terrific beer and BBQ, St Louis, Missouri, has much to offer visitors. PBS television host Darley Newman leads a lively virtual tour of the city, uncovering the lesser-known backstories of its iconic landmarks and locally loved hidden gems—and plenty of reasons why St. Louis is an ideal destination. 7 p.m. ET $25-$30


Friday, August 19

Secrets of the Sommelier: The path to becoming a wine expert is long, arduous and intensive. Award-winning sommelier Erik Segelbaum offers a chance to accelerate your learning by sharing the tips, tricks and secrets to tasting and selecting wines like a world-class pro. This immersive program includes a curated personal tasting kit to enhance the experience available for pick up at a Washington, D.C. wine bar. 6 p.m. ET $65-$75


Monday, August 22

The Age of Confucius: Historian Justin M. Jacobs analyzes the exciting intellectual ferment of the age of Confucius and the thinkers who followed in his footsteps during the Warring States era: Mozi, Mencius, Zhuangzi, Xunzi and Han Feizi. The lively exchange of ideas among these philosophers helped define Chinese civilization itself and set the stage for the next two thousand years of dynasties and empires. 6:45 p.m. ET $20-$25

Elbert Hubbard and the Roycrofters: America’s Arts and Crafts Movement: In the late 19th century, Elbert Hubbard, a salesman for Buffalo’s Larkin Soap Company, fused the ideals of the British Arts and Crafts movement with his strong business sense to create the artistic and philosophical community called Roycroft in East Aurora, New York. Alan Nowicki, program director at the Roycroft campus, traces its influential flourishing, its demise and its restoration that captures its former glory. 7 p.m. ET $20-$25


Tuesday, August 23

Jazz: Modern Soundscapes in Film: Some of the world’s greatest movie scores were composed by some of the world’s greatest jazz musicians. With film clips, commentary and live piano demonstrations, concert musician and movie fanatic Rachel Franklin delves into the hidden magic of some of the finest jazz-inspired music from films including A Streetcar Named Desire, The Sweet Smell of Success, Alfie and Birdman. 6:30 p.m. ET $30-$35


Wednesday, August 24

The ENIAC Programmers: The Women Behind the First Modern Computer: After the end of World War II, six pioneering women were assigned to program the new Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer—for which there were no instructional codes or programming languages to guide them. They succeeded, but their story was never told to the public. Author and documentary filmmaker Kathy Kleiman brings it—and these technological revolutionaries—out of the shadows. 6:45 p.m. ET $20-$25

DC’s Black Broadway: Remembering U Street’s Brightest Lights: Long before today’s restaurants, boutiques and luxury high-rises, Washington’s U Street was known as the city’s vibrant Black Broadway. Author Briana A. Thomas brings to life the historic U Street neighborhood’s heritage of arts, entertainment, and commerce from the early triumphs of emancipation to the recent struggles of gentrification. 7 p.m. ET $20-$25

Volcanologist Kirt Kempter explore's Italy’s volcanic past, present and future in an online program on August 29.  Vesuvius / Smithsonian Associates

Monday, August 29

The Volcanic Pulse of Italy: Italy has long been a focal point for the field of volcanology, thanks to many notable sites such as Vesuvius, Etna, Stromboli and Vulcano. Join volcanologist Kirt Kempter for an exploration of the country’s volcanic past, present and future. 7 p.m. ET $25-$30


Tuesday, August 30

Art + History: Evening Encores: If you’ve not experienced Paul Glenshaw’s dynamic series Art + History, in which he examines great works of art in their historical context, now’s your chance. In this summer series, he reprises six of his earlier daytime sessions in livestreamed evening programs. In this session, Glenshaw discusses Gassed by John Singer Sargent. Enrolled participants in the Smithsonian World Art History Certificate earn 1/2 credit. 6:45 p.m. ET $20-$25


Wednesday, August 31  

How To Be a Conscious Eater: Bewildered by navigating a food world full of fads, conflicting news and marketing hype? You can still make smart, thoughtful choices amid the chaos. Sophie Egan, an expert on food’s impact on human and environmental health, offers a practical guide to everyday eating that’s good for you, good for others and good for the planet. 12 p.m. ET $25-$30

Tangier and Smith Island: Beauty and Peril: Tangier Island, Virginia and Smith Island, Maryland, are communities inextricably connected to the Chesapeake Bay. Enjoy a visual narrative by author and photographer Jay Fleming that explores their environment, communities and commercial fisheries. 7 p.m. ET $25-30.

To view Smithsonian Associates digital program guide, visit