Events Nov. 9-11: Civil War Technologies, Star Parties and Steinways

This weekend, attend a Civil War symposium, star gaze and take in word class music with bassoon player Phillip Kolker

Star gaze with the Smithsonian at the Saturday Star Party.
Star gaze with the Smithsonian at the Saturday Star Party. Courtesy of NASA

Friday, November 9: Astride Two Ages: Technology and the Civil War Symposium

Something as simple as agricultural mechanization changed the course of military history because it allowed food production to support larger armies. Merritt Roe Smith, professor of the history of technology at MIT and author of the 2006 book Inventing America: A History of the United States, will lead off a symposium to discuss the relationship between technology and war in regards to the Civil War. On the one hand, losses in the war were still dictated by the lack of medical advances but there was also significant differences from past conflicts. The three-day symposium begins with Smith’s keynote address. Free but registration required. Get tickets here. 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. American History Museum.

Saturday, November 10: Star Party at Sky Meadows

Escape the city lights for some good old fashioned star gazing. Of course, since it’s a Smithsonian event, it might be a step above your childhood evenings spent on picnic blankets on the school football field. Chances are you didn’t have a high-powered telescope capable of spotting nearby planets and giving you an up close look at stars. Even if rain threatens to spoil the party, don’t fret. Backup plans for “junior astronomers” include a multimedia presentation. Take some time and look up to discover a world of wonders above you and be sure to dress warm. Free, $5 parking fee. 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sky Meadows State Park.

Sunday, November 11: Steinway Series: Peabody Conservatory

Phillip Kolker made his first appearance with a symphony at the tender age of 14 with the Albany Symphony Orchestra. Fast forward to today and the professional bassoon player is now chair of the department of orchestral instruments at the Peabody Conservatory. As part of the museum’s Steinway Series, which brings world class music to the American Art Museum, Kolker will perform a selection of American pieces for woodwinds and piano. Free. 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. American Art Museum.

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