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Adult Events

The Oliver Wolcott Library offers a wide range of programming for adults, from continuing series like Monday Scholars and Tea with TED,
to lectures, book discussions, and author talks. All events are free and open to all.

Continue your journey of lifelong learning with us!


Monday Scholars: The Great Revolutions of Modern History


LIVE Zoom Event - At The Time of Event...Click Here To Join On ZOOM

Mondays: 1:00 - 2:30 PM 
April 5 through June 28*

*No meeting May 31

About Monday Scholars:

Monday Scholars combines the best of online learning with live virtual discussion! All you need to do in advance is be eager to learn and discuss. Each week, you will log in and together, via Zoom, all of us will watch two video lectures presented by Lynne Ann Hartnett, PhD. Then, via Zoom, OWL's Karen Pasternak will lead everyone in a discussion of what we just watched.


About the course:

The great revolutions of the past 300 years have profoundly shaped the social, cultural, political, and military landscape of the 21st century. These epic changes tore down established orders and built new ones in their place. What drives individuals and groups to embrace revolution? At what point does a society decide to revolt? Is there such a thing as a peaceful revolution? Why have some revolutions failed while others changed the world?

Delve into these questions and more in The Great Revolutions of Modern History. Taught by Professor Lynne Ann Hartnett of Villanova University, these 24 eye-opening lessons will give you new insights into the forces that have shaped the political and cultural landscape of our world. You will travel back in time and across the globe to examine some of history’s most momentous and influential political transformations. Starting with the American Revolution and the French Revolution, covering world-changing movements in China, Mexico, India, Haiti, Africa, Russia, and more, Professor Hartnett surveys the shifting tides that inspired each of these revolutions.

From religious movements to economic overhauls, you will get an insider’s view of radicals, revolutionaries, and ideological visionaries, as well as the rulers and systems they sought to overthrow. You will also consider revolutions as a distinctly modern phenomenon. Riots, rebellions, and other forms of uprisings are inextricable parts of human history, but revolutions are something different. As you will learn, revolutions systematically alter the dynamic between the state, authorities, elites, and the people—and they attempt to fundamentally transform power relationships.

We live in a precarious time in the 21st century, with uprisings constantly in the news. What you will learn in The Great Revolutions of Modern History is that revolutions often follow a similar pattern and arise from a similar source: masses of people dissatisfied with the status quo who decide they will sacrifice everything to affect fundamental change. Join Professor Hartnett for an exploration of political and cultural change—and see how our modern world was formed.


About the course Instructor:

Dr. Lynne Ann Hartnett is an Associate Professor of History at Villanova University, where she teaches courses on all facets of Russian history as well as on the social, political, and intellectual history of modern Europe. She earned her PhD in Russian History at Boston College. Dr. Hartnett’s research focuses on the Russian revolutionary movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and she has conducted archival research in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Amsterdam, and London. She regularly presents her research at international conferences in the United States and Europe.

Dr. Hartnett is the director of Villanova’s graduate program in History and the president of the Sigma of Pennsylvania Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. At Villanova, she has served as the director of the Russian Area Studies Program. Dr. Hartnett has been nominated three times for the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award and has received several teaching awards at both Villanova and Boston College.


  • To Join by Phone dial 1 646 876 9923 (New York)
  • Meeting ID: 814 2030 7545
  • Password: 736397



Art & Visual Perception: A Three-Part Series with Dr. Vincent de Luise


Live Zoom Event 

Tuesdays - April 13, 20 & 27 from 7:00 - 8:00 PM

Join us as Dr. de Luise uncovers the “eye” of the artist in this three-part series that explores the artists viewpoint. It is sure to be an eye-opener into an over-looked source of creativity.

April 13: Beauty and the Brain 
What makes a work of art, say the Mona Lisa or van Gogh‘s painting, Irises, beautiful? Why are we humans neurologically hardwired to perceive it? What are the neural networks that underpin our appreciation of beauty. Is beauty something subjective or is it something whose essential and foundational aspects are recognized and agreed upon by all. 
We will learn why the perception of beauty is both innate and cross-cultural. We will take a deep dive into the brain science of beauty, exploring the burgeoning domain of neuroaesthetics, and then observe and analyze visual archetypes in the history of art. We will then focus on the various types of perspective across cultures, the canonical techniques of painting such as foreshortening, Unione, Cangiante, Chiaroscuro and Sfumato, and conclude with an examination of the camera obscura and camera lucida. Did artists use these optical devices in their paintings. How did these tools change their works of art?

April 20: The Self Depicted: Masters of Self-Portraiture, from Rembrandt & Durer to van Gogh & Picasso 

Why does an artist choose their own paint? What aspects of personality and psychology is an artist trying to capture by portraying their own visage? What does self-portraiture tell us about the artists themselves? How do artists paint the hand they use to paint when they are in the act of painting?  Why did two of the greatest artists in the western Canon - Durer and Rembrandt - paint themselves so frequently? How was this identity formation framed by the societies in which they lived?
In this conversation, we will look at how Albrecht Dürer invented the psychological self-portrait through remarkable drawn and painted self-portraits, and Rembrandt van Rijn’s evolution and relentless lifelong journey to autobiography in art, to understand himself through self-portraiture.  We will then survey self-portraiture over the centuries, including masterworks by Michelangelo, Leonardo, Caravaggio, Titian, Artemisia Gentileschi, Velazquez, Goya, Manet, van Gogh, Picasso, Frida Kahlo and Chuck Close. 

April 27: Blindsight: Creativity and Visual Loss in the Masterworks of Turner, Cassatt, Monet, DeGas, Goya and O’Keefe

Is illness an obstacle or an opportunity for the genius of creativity? How did artists cope and contend with visual loss? 

In this conversation, we will discuss the visual impairments of several of the greatest artists in the western Canon - Rembrandt, Titian, Joseph Mallord, William Turner, Mary Cassatt, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Francisco Goya and Georgia O’Keefe - taking a “slow look” at their paintings, in an attempt to understand how they overcame visual loss to create masterpieces.

About Dr. de Luise:

Vincent de Luise, MD is a retired eye physician and surgeon who is now mentoring and educating at the intersection of music, art and medicine. He is an assistant professor of ophthalmology at Yale University School of Medicine, a distinguished visiting scholar at Stony Brook University Renaissance School of Medicine, and on the adjunct faculty of Weill Cornell Medical College where he serves on the humanities and medicine committee and is program annotator for the Weill Cornell Music and Medicine Orchestra.
During his medical training, Dr. de Luise studied clarinet with the principal clarinetists of the NYC Ballet, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, and the Florida Philharmonic. Dr. de Luise organized and performed at the Connecticut Mozart Festival, and at Carnegie Recital Hall with the Talcott String Quartet. 


  • To Join by Phone Dial
  • +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
  • Meeting ID: 854 4338 4433
  • Password: 369216



Edible Flowers: Delectable Beauty in Your Garden with Lawrence Davis-Hollander


Live Zoom Event 

Wednesday, April 14 From 1:00 - 2:00 PM

Edible flowers are characterized by subtle and not so subtle flavors and aromas, delicate texture and a rainbow of color. Most are easy to cultivate and they often are already present in our gardens and fields.
Learn what flowers you can use, and plan ahead to cultivate them for an impressive addition to summer salads and drinks.

About Lawrence:  
Lawrence Davis-Hollander is founder and former Director of the Eastern Native Seed Conservancy, author of Tomato: A Fresh-from-the-vine Cookbook, and former garden writer for Heirloom Gardener, Grit and Yankee Magazines. He is a landscape gardener and garden designer working for clients in Litchfield and Berkshire Counties. He studied ethnobotany at Harvard University with Richard Evans Schultes one of the world’s foremost ethnobotanists. He was Director of Horticulture at the Berkshire Botanic Garden, has farmed organically, and started gardening at age 12. In his spare time he gardens!


  • To Join by Phone Dial
  • +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
  • Meeting ID: 884 1621 2597
  • Password: 113394



The Art of the Cottage Garden with Andrew Pighills


Live Zoom Event 

Thursday, April 15 From 7:00 - 8:00 PM

While horticulture may be a science, creating gardens that speak to one's soul is an art form. Join us as Andrew leads us on an exploration of the qualities and characteristics that define cottage gardens and offers practical advice on how to achieve this in your landscape. 


About Andrew:
Yorkshireman Andrew Pighills is an accomplished stone artisan, gardener, and horticulturist.  Having moved to the United States more than ten years ago, he continues this venerable craft here in the US, building dry stone walls, stone structures and creating gardens throughout New England and beyond. His talents have earned a devoted list of private and public clients here and abroad including the English National Trust and the English National Parks. To learn more about Andrew and his craft, visit his website at
  • To Join by Phone Dial
  • +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
  • Meeting ID: 853 0574 6207
  • Password: 448665


A Conversation & Studio Tour with Jennifer Abbott-Tillou


An Instagram Live Event

Thursday, April 29 at 1:00 PM

Join Jennifer Terzian as she hosts this special Instagram Live Event! 
In a Conversation and Studio Tour with Jennifer Abbott-Tillou, Jennifer will guide you through her studio while discussing her process and current body of work. Viewers will have the opportunity to visually engage with Abbott-Tillou’s diverse oeuvre including sculpture, painting and installation and ask questions along the way.

About Jennifer Abbott-Tillou
With a background in physical therapy, yoga, and fitness, Jennifer’s work is informed by anatomy, kinesiology, and the beautiful ways the human body presents. "My love of the ocean and all things springing from nature are also represented. The work reflects my unique female experience, including violence and religious conflict, while also capturing a certain sensual whimsy. Conflict and juxtaposition of opposites are often prominent." Visit her website at:

About Our Host Jennifer Terzian
Jennifer has a degree in Art History from UCLA and MA in Post-war Contemporary Art from the Sotheby’s Institute London. Jennifer was director of a commercial art gallery in Los Angeles and has been an independent curator and art advisor for over a decade. Jennifer teaches 19th and 20th century art history at Miss Porter’s School. She is opening her eponymous contemporary art gallery in Litchfield this spring. 


What is an Instagram Live Event and how do I join?
Instagram is a visual media platform, owned by the Facebook company, through which users share photos and videos with their friends and with the greater Instagram community. Users can access Instagram by downloading the Instagram app to their mobile phone or by visiting the Instagram website on an internet browser. To view the content on Instagram, users will need to create an account. Click here for information on how to create an Instagram account.
Need more help? Book-a-Tech appointment with Ted our Technology Coordinator at [email protected]
What if I don't want to join Instagram or can't make the event, can I still watch it?
Yes, the event will be available on our YouTube channel by end of day on April 29. The Instagram Event will be live and allow people to ask Jennifer questions. The YouTube will be a recorded video of the event. Click here to visit OWL's YouTube Channel.


Making Your Windows Safer for Wild Birds with Vickie Dauphinais


Live Zoom Event 

Wednesday, May 5 From 2:00 - 3:00 PM

Wild birds, our closest neighbors, are essential to human welfare. They provide a multitude of ecosystems services to improve and support human life. These include control of insects, rodents, and diseases, pollinating plants, dispersing plant seeds, providing food for humans and other organisms, and consuming dead animals. Scientists routinely use birds to gauge the health of ecosystems. Of course, we can’t forget the personal benefits we receive from their physical beauty, fascinating behavior, and melodious vocalizations. 
These precious creatures face many deadly threats in the human landscape jeopardizing their survival. Vickie Dauphinais will discuss the deadly threat birds face in our own backyards and explain how widespread the problem is. She will review what can be done to mitigate the problem. Including easy, economical approaches that can be used on our homes, and places of business. 


Please join us to learn how to best create safe outdoor spaces for the birds we love to see and hear in our neighborhoods.

About Vickie Dauphinais
Vickie Dauphinais is a member of the Litchfield Hills Audubon Society (LHAS). She has been an active member for the past 5 years and currently serves on the LHAS board. Vickie enjoys hiking and birding with her Audubon friends. Since retirement from healthcare, she is planning on getting more involved in fulfilling LHAS mission to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on wild birds and their habitats. 


Non-Fiction Discussion Group


Live Zoom Event 

Thursday, May 13


How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell

This critique of the forces vying for our attention re-defines what we think of as productivity, shows us a
new way to connect with our environment and reveals all that we’ve been too distracted to see about
ourselves and our world. When the technologies we use every day collapse our experiences into 24/7
availability, platforms for personal branding, and products to be monetized, nothing can be quite so
radical as… doing nothing. Moderated by Kathy


LIVE ZOOM Information:


Fiction Discussion Group


Live Zoom Event 
Thursday, May 13

Fiction Group: 3:30 pm At The Time of Event...Click Here To Join On ZOOM


Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

The old Greek myth about Antigone underpins a very modern story following a British Pakistani family
based in London. The novel explores the dilemma faced by British Muslims, and it is a moving account of
tragedy working itself out in the heart of two families. Social tensions and cultural conflicts are explored.
The radicalization of a young man has many ramifications, especially for the novel’s strong and
intelligent women. Moderated by Margaret 

LIVE ZOOM Information:


MORE Information about Zoom:

All of our Virtual Zoom Events are live. They are not recorded. To participate/join the event, you need to use the exact link connected to the event. Once you click on the link at the specified date and time, you will be prompted to open Zoom, the virtual meeting program we are using. All you need is an internet connection and a device or computer with a webcam and audio. Most computers have built-in webcams. No passwords or confirmation codes, just click the link and follow the prompts.

Still having difficulty understanding how to access Zoom? Email OWL's Technology Coordinator Ted Moy at [email protected] to set-up a virtual Book-a-Tech session and he will go over it with you.

More security, more privacy: In response to concerns about privacy in a virtual meeting space, we have enabled additional security features in Zoom and updated our meeting links to be protected, private, and secure. These new, unique links can also be accessed through our e-newsletters.To receive secure information regarding these events, please subscribe to our e-newsletter! Click here to subscribe