Hokusai’s Career in Prints and More Programs in June

Smithsonian Associates offers a variety of fascinating lectures and seminars, studio art classes, and study tours this month

National Museum of Asian Art curator Kit Brooks examines the print works of Katsushika Hokusai, who has come to be seen as an embodiment of Japanese artistic style. Detail of "Under the Wave off Kanagawa" by Katsushika Hokusai

Smithsonian Associates offers innovative, online and in-person programming that promotes learning, enrichment and creativity for people of all ages. Hundreds of seminars, studio arts classes and study tours are offered annually. To view the Smithsonian Associates digital program guide, visit


Thursday, June 1

Spring in the South of France: A Virtual Tour of the Region’s History, Culture, and Sights: Journey with travel writer Barbara Noe Kennedy to discover Provence and the Côte d’Azur, including the region’s most intriguing sights, historical aspects, food and wine, and art in a virtual exploration using maps, photos, videos, and other visuals. Kennedy is a former senior editor at National Geographic Travel Publishing. This program will be held on Zoom from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET. $25-$30


Friday, June 2 

Exploring the Historic C&O Canal: Go back through time with director of programs and partnerships for the C&O Canal Trust, Aiden Barnes, and learn what the C&O Canal was, how it operated, and what remains today from that bygone era. See the restored Charles F. Mercer canal boat and the working gates at Lock 20. Take a 1-mile walk to an overlook above the thundering Great Falls of the Potomac River. After lunch at Great Falls, visit Pennyfield Lockhouse and finish the tour at the Seneca Creek Aqueduct. The tour departs by motorcoach at 8:30 a.m. from downtown Washington, D.C. and returns at 6 p.m. $145-$195 

Colonial India’s Complex History: Learn about India with author Fazle Chowdhury who unravels the complicated history of the country from its existence as a British colony to an independent Asian nation. Chowdhury traces the impact of such seemingly unrelated factors as power struggles in 19th-century Afghanistan, Persian Qajar invasions, diplomatic conflicts between Britain and Czarist Russia, and revolutionary movements in both Russia and Persia. This program will be held on Zoom from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET. $20-$25


Saturday, June 3

The Distinctive Birds of Western Maryland Habitats in the Wild: Join naturalists and birding leaders Matt Felperin and Joley Sullivan for a full day of exploration in the Maryland panhandle region bordering Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Look for sparrows bobolinks, magnolia warblers and a myriad of nesting species typically found in New England and Canada as you travel through Allegheny and Garrett Counties, enjoying diverse forests and miles of trails. A box lunch is included. This all-day tour departs from downtown Washington, D.C. at 5 a.m. and returns at 7 p.m. ET. $185-$235


Monday, June 5

Hokusai’s Career in Prints: Internationally renowned for iconic works such as Under the Wave off Kanagawa (also known as The Great Wave), Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) designed popular woodblock prints for more than five decades. National Museum of Asian Art curator Kit Brooks examines the wide output of this artist, who has come to be seen as an embodiment of Japanese artistic style. Smithsonian World Art History Certificate participants earn ½ credit. This program will be held on Zoom from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET $20-$25


Thursday, June 8

Renoir: The Gift of Joy: Art historian Bonita Billman showcases selections from Renoir’s prolific oeuvre—he painted more than 4,000 works—as she illustrates why he is one of the most highly regarded artists of his time. Enjoy Renoir’s lush colors in an array of sensual nudes, family portraits, landscapes and genre descriptions such as The Luncheon of the Boating Party. Smithsonian World Art History Certificate participants earn ½ credit. This program will be held on Zoom from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET. $20-$25


Friday, June 9

Understanding Modern Art: In this richly illustrated two-part course, art historian Nancy G. Heller, professor emerita of art history at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, discusses major works by the period’s seminal painters and sculptors, emphasizing their broader socio-political and aesthetic contexts. Smithsonian World Art History Certificate participants earn 1 credit. This program will be presented on Zoom on June 9 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET and on June 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. $85-$95


Monday, June 12

World War II in Poland: Significant Sites, Events, and Stories: Join author and tour guide Christopher Skutela in a visual journey through the years of World War II in Poland and related significant locations—Warsaw, Krakow, and Gdansk—as he sheds light on the war and its implications. Knowing what happened in Poland during that time provides a deeper understanding of the history of Europe and a perspective that can help create a better future, says Skuleta. This program is held on Zoom from 3 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. ET. $20-$25


Tuesday, June 13

Reading Moby-Dick: The World in a Whale: Explore the epic tale of yearning, obsession, wreckage, and deliverance with Samuel Otter, a professor of English at Berkeley University. Moby Dick has drawn generations of readers who see reflected in its pages the urgent questions of their times, including issues of democracy, race, sexuality, labor, and environment. Otter explores these and other topics including the reception of Moby-Dick, ways of reading this surprising and heterogeneous book, and the strange qualities of a work that attempts to “incorporate everything.” This program will be held on Zoom from 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET. $20-$25


Thursday, June 15

Giants of the Sea: Norfolk’s Naval Heritage: Spend a day exploring some of the world’s greatest ships at the Norfolk Naval Station, the largest navy base in the world and home to the U.S. Navy’s gigantic Atlantic Fleet. Visit the Nauticus, a premiere maritime museum and climb aboard the Wisconsin with transportation expert Scott Hercik. After lunch, set sail aboard the Victory Rover and marvel at the ships of the Atlantic Fleet, including huge Nimitz-class and the newest Ford- class nuclear aircraft carriers. Tour participants meet at and leave by bus from downtown Washington, D.C. at 7 a.m. with a designated secondary pick-up outside the city at about 7:40 a.m. $205-$255

U.S.–China Relations: Managing Long-term Rivalry: Learn from three of Washington’s leading analysts as they provide insights into whether and how U.S.-China relations can be managed peacefully: J. Stapleton Roy, former U.S. ambassador to China, Singapore, and Indonesia; Amy P. Celico, principal and China director at the Albright Stonebridge Group and former senior director for China affairs at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; and Yun Sun, senior fellow and co-director of the East Asia program and director of the China program at the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C. Robert Daly, director of the Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, serves as moderator. This program will be held on Zoom from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET. $20-$25

Explore cartography with geographer John Rennie Short. Map of America, first published in 1617 by Dutch cartographer Willem Blaeu

Tuesday, June 20

A History of Cartography: From Stone Scratches to Crisis Mapping: Join John Rennie Short and explore the cartographic conventions, encounters, and curiosities of mapmaking to gain insight into how the art and science of cartography has developed and how we view and interpret the final product. Short is a professor of geography and public policy at University of Maryland Baltimore County and author of Cartographic Encounters: Indigenous Peoples and the Exploration of the New World. This program will be held on Zoom from 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET. $20-$25

Learn about Philip Johnson’s Glass House, 1949, with Hilary Lewis, chief curator and creative director of the Glass House. Smithsonian Associates

Thursday, June 22

Philip Johnson and the Glass House: A Life in Art: Delve into one of the nation’s most innovative architectural environments, the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, former home of architect Philip Johnson and a center for art, architecture, and culture. The Glass House features examples of some of the most important movements in 20th-century architecture as well as a significant collection of postwar American art. Hilary Lewis, co-author of two books on Johnson and the chief curator of the Glass House, examines the Glass House as a signature work of modern architecture, its roles as a laboratory for architecture and a salon for the arts, and the extraordinary and complex figure behind it. Smithsonian World Art History Certificate participants earn ½ credit. This program will be held on Zoom from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET. $25-$$30

Bill Keene reviews major water shortages in the American West.  Smithsonian Associates

Thursday, June 22

Crisis Along the Colorado: How a Water Shortage Threatens the West: In a two-part series, Bill Keene, a lecturer in history, urban studies, and architecture, reviews the backstories and contemporary repercussions of major water shortages in the American West and explores possible methods of providing water for some 44 million people—in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, and portions of Northern Mexico—who depend on the Colorado River. These two online sessions will be held on Zoom on Thursday, June 22 and Thursday, June 29 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET. $50-$60

Enjoy the vast and exciting William Louis-Dryfus collection with Paul Glenshaw. William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation Art Collection

Friday, June 23

Discovering the William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation Art Collection: Discover the one-of-a-kind collection of William Louis-Dryfus that reflects his curiosity and lifelong fascination with the power of visual media. Paul Glenshaw of the Smithsonian Associates Arts+History series hosts an illustrated lecture about this extraordinary and fascinating collection with Mary Anne Costello and Christina Kee, the curators at the William Louis-Dryfus Foundation in Mount Kisco, New York. Smithsonian World Art History Certificate participants earn ½ credit. This program will be held on Zoom from 12 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET. $25-$30


Sunday, June 25

Pterosaurs: Soaring Above the Dinosaurs: The pterosaurs are the flying reptiles so often mistakenly called flying dinosaurs or pterodactyls. These animals flew above the heads of dinosaurs, their close relatives, from at least 230 million years ago until they all became extinct 65 million years ago. Paleontologist David Hone dives into what we know about these fascinating flying reptiles and what we still have to discover. This program will be held on Zoom from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET. $20-$25

Tuesday, June 27

The View from Here: A Reflective Writing Workshop: Discover the joy and power of reflective writing inspired by visual art. Guided by the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s Writing Salon, Mary Hall Surface, participants have the opportunity to slow down, look closely, question, wonder, and write inspired by Hughie Lee-Smith's intriguing painting, The Beach. These reflections can become fertile creative ground for memoir, poetry, and more. Surface is a teaching artist, playwright, and theatre director and producer. She is also a Kennedy Center teaching artist and was a faculty member at Harvard’s Project Zero Classroom. This online program will be held on Zoom from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET. $40-$45

Earth, Our Habitable Home: A Grand Tour of the Solar System:

Natalie Burls, director of the Climate Dynamics Program at George Mason University, discusses the crucial role Earth’s atmosphere plays in determining its climate, how Earth’s climate has varied in the past, and how we are currently changing the composition of Earth's atmosphere and thus its climate. Following the talk and a question-and-answer period, Peter Plavchan, a professor of physics and astronomy at George Mason University, brings that night’s sky into participants’ living rooms via remote control of the university observatory, weather permitting. This program will be held on Zoom from 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET. $25-$30

To view the Smithsonian Associates digital program guide, visit