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Smithsonian Associates Presents December Program Highlights

November 30, 2016

The December issue of the Smithsonian Associates’ program guide features a variety of educational and cultural programs, including seminars, lectures, studio arts classes, performances for adults and children and local and regional study tours. Highlights this month include:

Ray Charles: “The Genius”

Thursday, Dec. 1; 6:45 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Smithsonian’s S. Dillon Ripley Center

Ray Charles overcame racism, poverty and blindness to become one of the most beloved musicians of all time. His memorable songs range from original compositions like “Hallelujah, I Love Her So” to inspiring takes on classic songs like “America the Beautiful.” Music curator John Edward Hasse, who created the National Museum of American History’s “Ray Charles: ‘The Genius’” exhibition tells Charles’ life story and explains the enduring effect this wonderful singer, songwriter, pianist and arranger has had on American culture.

Christmas With the First Ladies: Decking the Halls at the White House

Saturday, Dec. 10; 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Smithsonian’s S. Dillon Ripley Center

No home in America celebrates the holidays quite like the White House, and behind each annual celebration is a First Lady who lends her own distinctive style to the festivities. Coleen Christian Burke, a professional decorator who was a 2014 White House design partner, surveys the signature holiday decorating approaches of modern residents from Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama. 

Travel Hacking 101: How to Travel Longer for Less

Thursday, Dec. 8; 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s Marion and Gustave Ring Auditorium

Mike and Anne Howard, founders of the travel website, will give a presentation that shows how people can travel well for less. From frequent flyer tickets to free lodging, no-cost volunteering and hidden-gem destinations, they show that traveling can be a reasonable expenditure and an enjoyable experience.

Taking a Bite Out of Invasive Species: From Ecosystem Menaces to Menu Items

Friday, Dec. 9; 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Smithsonian’s S. Dillon Ripley Center

Charlottesville-based journalist, teacher and author of Eating Aliens: One Man’s Adventures Hunting Invasive Animal Species Jackson Landers offers an intriguing solution to limiting the growth of invasive species: eating them. Chef and cookbook author John Shields will be in conversation with Landers, as the two discuss the impact of invasive species on the environment and how exactly to turn pests into platters.

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Ray Charles performing at Monterey Pop