Distinguished Professor Series

This program provides some of the most eminent colleges and universities with a unique opportunity to connect with their Florida alumni by sharing recent scholarship with Museum members and the public. The Museum partners with a limited number of institutions to offer this elite series of informative and enlightening presentations each winter.

Individual Tickets: $35 ($15 Museum Members)
Alumni/ae of featured schools enjoy the Museum membership price

Check back for information on the 2017 season - below are the featured speakers from 2016!

Andrew Zimbalist, Ph.D.
Robert A. Woods Professor of Economics
Smith College
Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup

The numbers are staggering: China spent $40B hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics, Russia spent $50B for the 2014 Winter Olympics, Brazil upwards of $20B for the 2014 World Cup, and Qatar estimates $200B for the 2022 World Cup. How did we get here? And is it worth it? Circus Maximus traces the path of the Olympics and World Cup from noble sporting events of cultural exchange to exhibits of excess, examining the claims of economic benefits from hosting and the recent outbursts of political anger and reticence.

Peter S. Onuf, Ph.D.
Senior Research Fellow, Robert R. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies (Monticello), Thomas Jefferson Foundation; Professor Emeritus in the Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Looking Back and Looking Forward with Thomas Jefferson and John Adams

Professor Onuf will discuss the eloquent and moving correspondence between the two aging patriots as they approached the day they both died, July 4, 1826. Their ruminations on time, history and the significance of the American Revolution offer fascinating insights into their times and ours.

Magnus T. Bernhardsson, Ph.D.
Professor of Middle Eastern History
Williams College
Destroying History: The War Against Art and Cultural Heritage in the Middle East 

The Middle East is home to the world´s oldest civilizations and some of the most spectacular archaeological ruins. In recent years, however, this cultural heritage has been under attack from Islamist groups. Ranging from the bombing of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in 2001 to the recent destruction by ISIS of the beautiful ruins in Palmyra, Syria, the region´s art has been destroyed for economic, political and religious reasons. Why has there been this recent surge in this ruinous behavior? Who benefits from this and how is this destruction justified? This lecture will provide an overview of what sites have been wrecked, describe the religious justifications for these attacks, and consider what the political aims may be. It is an ironic and troubling trend that the region with the world´s oldest history is witnessing a systematic elimination of the physical remnants of our shared heritage

Phillip C. Stone
Sweet Briar College

The death of Abraham Lincoln, like much of his life, is caught up in controversy. Was the assassin John Wilkes Booth killed soon after the assassination or did he escape to live many more years? Was Secretary of War Stanton involved in the conspiracy to kill Lincoln? Were officials in the Confederate government part of the conspiracy? Was there a cover up of the assassination? Stone will review the conspiracy theories about the assassination. Soon after Lincoln’s death, he was raised to almost mythical status. Stone will propose what he believes to be the genuine and enduring legacy of America’s most beloved president.

Paul Sattler
Guggenheim Fellow and Associate Professor, Department of Art and History
Skidmore College
& Subjects: Meaningful Uses of Influences

The creative impulse is fueled in part by a need to communicate to an audience – yet, this communication is often complex, mysterious, and multi-faceted. One intriguing manner many artists choose is to visually link arms with great artists and artworks from the past. The artist’s adoption of an influence’s theme or formal strategies is a transformative portal to make meaningful one’s own connection to the past. Such creative integration is a strong advocate for the expansion and relevance of a fine arts tradition into the contemporary world. This lecture will illustrate several strategies to investigate artistic influence, how such methods embolden imagination and originality, and how similar practices inform the work of Sattler and other artists in the studio.

VBMA Adult Public Programs Refund Policy
All Sales Are Final; please review your reservations carefully before submitting. We are unable to offer refunds or exchanges beginning sixty (60) days before a scheduled program. However, the value of cancelled reservations may qualify as a tax-deductible donation; please notify the Museum at your earliest opportunity before the program date. Occasionally, programs are cancelled or postponed due to circumstances beyond the Museum’s control. When this occurs, you may elect to have your reservation honored for the rescheduled date or you may receive a refund if applicable. In some cases, the performance contract may set refund limitations. All refunds or exchanges are subject to a $10 non-refundable convenience fee.



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