April 27, 2016
Special thanks to our colleagues at the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) for this guest post.
Since our founding in 1951, we have traveled over 1,500 exhibitions to more than 13,300 host venues, and we’re still counting. When was the last time you hosted a SITES exhibition? Let us know of your interest in our latest offerings listed below and you’ll be among the first to receive more information as it becomes available.
Here’s what’s new:
Drought damage on Walnut Creek Ranch in CA in 2014. USDA photo by Cynthia Mendoza.
Water is the most vital resource for life. Through immersive content, interactives and digital media, H20 Today explores the diversity and challenges of our global water sources. This fully designed, build-it-yourself exhibition is licensed and provided to host venues as print-ready graphic files, detailed design drawings, videos and computer interactives. Host venues can choose from a suite of engaging interactives and build what works best for your museum.
Dolores Huerta with bullhorn by Jon Lewis, gelatin silver print, 1965. ©Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Books & Manuscript Library
Presidential Medal of Freedom-winner Dolores Huerta has shined in many roles over her celebrated life: teacher, human rights activist, civil rights pioneer, and National Farm Workers Association (later the United Farm Workers) co-founder. Huerta is an integral figure in women’s history, Latino history and American history, and SITES is proud to announce plans for a new exhibition that will explore her life, inspirations, and her social activism with César Chavez in the 1960s and 70s. Featuring bilingual text (Spanish and English), reproductions of historic and personal photographs and documents, stunning graphics, select videos, and supplemental educational resources, the exhibition is a collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Courtesy of Freelon Adjaye Bond/Smithgroup
National Museum of African American History and Culture Poster Exhibition
SITES is proud to work with the National Museum of African American History and Culture to create an historic, limited-edition poster exhibition to celebrate the opening of the newest Smithsonian museum on September 24, 2016. Based on the Museum’s inaugural exhibitions exploring African American history, culture and community, the poster exhibition will be accompanied by a broad range of programming ideas and educational resources to help venues connect to the Museum’s opening events. A limited number of poster exhibition sets will be available by request beginning early this summer. Check sites.si.edu to learn more.
Last Painting, 1985-1993
Robert De Niro, Sr.
Courtesy Estate of Robert De Niro, Sr.
The Art of Robert De Niro, Sr.
As New York City emerged as the center of the contemporary art world in the 1940s and 50s, a small group of artists achieved fame and became known as the New York School. SITES reintroduces the work of one of its members, Robert De Niro, Sr. (1922-1993). This retrospective, comprised of the artist’s most important works spanning several decades, will explore De Niro’s importance as an American artist, illuminate his personal artistic journey and critique the schools of art represented in his works. The Art of Robert De Niro, Sr. is organized in cooperation with the Estate of Robert De Niro, Sr. and DC Moore Gallery.
For additional information on any of these exhibitions, please contact us at email@example.com or 202.633.3140. Highlight your special connection to the Smithsonian by hosting a SITES exhibition!
Traveling to the AAM Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. later this month? Don’t forget to stop by SITES’ Booth #7045 for more information about our offerings, plus fun giveaways and raffle prizes. You’ll also have the chance to connect with SITES and Affiliations staff.
Congratulations to these Affiliates on their accomplishments! Have an award, a funding announcement, or significant staff change you’d like to see here? Email us!
Three charitable foundations gifts totaling $650,000 were awarded to Union Station, Kansas City, Inc.’s expansion and bridge project. The Gary Dickinson Family Charitable Foundation donated $250,000. The Sunderland Foundation donated $250,000. The Victor E. and Caroline E. Schutte Foundation donated $150,000. The expansion will include an interactive outdoor exhibit at Science City based on a winning entry in the last Battle of the Brains competition. The project also will include a new entrance to the theater area and planetarium.
The Wisconsin Maritime Museum announced the upcoming expansion of the exhibit “Wisconsin’s Underwater Treasures,” thanks to an $85,000 donation from the Ruth St. John and John Dunham West Foundation. The exhibit is focusing on the historic and cultural significance of many notable shipwrecks and unique personal stories from communities along Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan shoreline and will include new technology-based experiences along with a variety of interactives for visitors.
The South Dakota Historical Society Foundation has received a $5,000 grant from the BNSF Railway Foundation and a $1,000 grant from the Midco Foundation to digitize historic photographs and make the images available online.
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced $21.1 million in grants for 248 humanities projects including the following Affiliate initiatives:
Ohio History Connection: $74,943
Project Title: TourSites for WordPress: Digital Tour Experiences for Multi-site Museum Networks
Project Description: The development of a platform that supports the sharing of humanities content through mobile tours in both exterior and interior spaces, building on Curatescape and WordPress platforms.
National Museum of American Jewish History: $40,000
Project Title: Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music
Project Description: Planning for a traveling exhibition, a scholarly catalog, and curriculum materials exploring the life, music, and influence of composer Leonard Bernstein.
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research Match: $260,000
Project Title: The YIVO Vilna Collections Project
Project Description: The arrangement and description of 301 linear feet of manuscripts and archives and the creation of over 458,000 digital images from these sources, which form part of the “Vilna Collections” held by the YIVO Institute, a repository housed in the Center for Jewish History. Images created by YIVO will be merged with extant holdings of the Lithuanian Central State Archive and National Library of Lithuania as part of a larger seven-year initiative.
Dane County approved $17,087 in grant awards through the Dane County Environmental Council’s Community Partners and Capital Equipment programs including $1,000 to the Madison Children’s Museum (Madison, Wisconsin). The funds will be used for purchasing supplies and equipment needed to develop a traveling homing pigeon program for local events, camps, and summer school programs that serve low-income areas in Dane County.
Connecticut Humanities granted Mystic Seaport $10,415 for the development of an exhibition centered on the newly re-installed captain’s cabin of the Down East merchant ship, The Benjamin F. Packard. The planning phase of this project requires extensive research in the museum’s collections and an audience study on engagement. This exhibit will teach about the maritime cargo trade that shaped Connecticut throughout history.
PPG Foundation Donates $10,000 to Frontiers of Flight Museum for Tech-Focused Program Grant supports expansion of Young Women’s STEM Leadership Initiative. The program serves 6th through 12th grade students from three public all-girls schools in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.
Awards and Recognition
The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced the 10 recipients of the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community including Mid-America Science Museum (Hot Springs, Arkansas).
Kristin A. Swain, executive director of The Rockwell Museum, was honored during the Museum Association of New York’s annual conference. Swain received the Anne Ackerson Innovation in Leadership Award for guiding “staff and the museum board of trustees through the broadening of the Rockwell’s mission, transitioning focus from the American West to ‘art about the American experience.
The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center was recognized with the Keepin’ it Fresh and New Award for its Vietnam Exhibit – Courage, Commitment, and Fear. The center was recognized by the Hershey Harrisburg Visitors Bureau Partner in Tourism Platinum Award Ceremony.
Leadership and Staff Changes
Michael Hammond, Ph.D., Executive Director of Agua Caliente Cultural Museum for the past 17 years, has announced his retirement effective July 31, 2016.
The San Diego History Center has a new director. Bill Lawrence previously served as operations manager and trustee and comes from a background in broadcasting.
The San Diego Natural History Museum has announced that Judy Gradwohl, who has held numerous positions at the Smithsonian Institution, will be its new president and CEO, replacing Michael “Mick” Hager, who’s retiring June 30 after 25 years at the Balboa Park institution.
Mystic Seaport announced that Nicholas R. Bell has been named Senior Vice President for Curatorial Affairs, a new position at the Museum that will be responsible for the care, management, strategic development, and exhibition of the Museum’s collections. Bell will assume the position June 1, 2016. Bell is presently The Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-in-Charge at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC.
A new CEO with extensive fundraising, strategy and communications experience takes the helm at the Space Center Houston. William T. Harris has more than 30 years in nonprofit leadership and was previously at the California Science Center Foundation as senior vice president of development and marketing.
David Wood has been promoted from director of exhibits and operations to chief operating officer at The Children’s Museum of the Upstate. In his new role, Wood will direct and oversee the daily operations and logistics of the museum, including exhibit development and management.
Bethlehem’s National Museum of Industrial History has hired Andria Zaia as curator of collections. Zaia will be responsible for overseeing the museum’s collection of iron, steel, textile, and industrial artifacts and archival materials.
April 18, 2016
Special thanks to Rene Rodgers, curator of exhibits and publications at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, Virginia, for this guest post.
As a new museum, this past September was the Birthplace of Country Music Museum‘s first time participating in Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day Live! So we were excited when a special Museum Day Live! event was planned for March 12, 2016. Having been open for a year and a half, we were ready to make something special of this special day.
Being held during Women’s History Month, this year’s Museum Day Live! was focused on encouraging all people – and particularly women and girls of color – to explore our nation’s museums and cultural institutions. We wanted to see new visitors come through our doors for this March event – and we did! We saw around 340 visitors bearing their free admission ticket, many of whom had never been to the museum before, along with several dedicated volunteers and members.
More importantly, we wanted to create a learning opportunity at the museum for underserved girls within our community. Therefore, in keeping with this year’s theme, we partnered with the YWCA Bristol TechGYRLS, a local afterschool program based on a STEM-focused curriculum and geared towards supporting girls aged 9—15 who would otherwise have limited access to and experience with technology.
We decided that a fun focus for this partnership would be helping the TechGYRLS to create a special radio program for WBCM, our in-museum working radio station. To prepare for their radio debut, the girls toured the museum in early February, exploring the exhibits to find topics to cover in their radio program. They also got the chance to record a “radio drop,” or teaser, to promote the show. With very little rehearsal, the girls nailed their radio drop – they were complete naturals!
Using the ideas they had gathered from their tour, the TechGYRLS then worked directly with museum and radio staff to develop their script and create a lively complementary playlist of songs from Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited. They also got the chance to learn more about how a radio station works and how to put together a radio program from our radio staff.
For their Museum Day Live! radio program, we decided on three main spoken segments:
- Telling radio listeners about the YWCA Bristol TechGYRLS program and how being a TechGYRL will impact their future
- Talking about which exhibits they enjoyed during their tour of the museum
- Picking one subject in the museum that particularly interested them and doing a feature on it
After a bit of tweaking and some rehearsal time, the TechGYRLS came back to the museum a few days before Museum Day Live! to pre-record their show. Their interviews were filled with energy and enthusiasm. They described how their visit to the museum showed them how important the Bristol Sessions were in American music history and that the old-time music playing in our exhibits made them want to dance! And they shared the many ways the YWCA Bristol TechGYRLS program impacts their lives, with one student saying that it “teaches you to include everyone no matter how different…and that just because you aren’t a man, doesn’t mean you can’t grow up and be what you want to be.” Wisdom out of the mouths of babes!
When March 12 finally arrived, we were excited – and so were the girls. YWCA Bristol brought several of them to the museum an hour or so before their radio broadcast, giving them plenty of time to explore the museum further and take a peek at our new special exhibit “Made in Tennessee: Manufacturing Milestones.” A few parents came along too, and we heard that a couple of families were ready to listen together at home to the show on WBCM. While the show was broadcasting on the radio, we streamed it into the museum’s performance theater, inviting our museum visitors to come in and listen as part of their Museum Day Live! experience.
Seeing the girls faces as they listened to themselves on the radio, seeing them really realize that listeners throughout Bristol (and possibly across the world!) were hearing their ideas and thoughts, was amazing. The TechGYRLS shared their time and energy with us, they gave voice to their lives and experiences, and the result was one of the most fulfilling and proudest moments we’ve had at the museum so far.
Tonja Leonard, Director of TechGYRLS, emphasized how important it is to provide the girls with experiences and opportunities to see technology as part of their everyday lives. She noted that this experience brought huge value to the TechGYRLS program – it not only provided a wonderful learning experience for the girls but also helped to broaden their perspectives and further their educational values, giving them an opportunity that was not possible through the school system. Tonja added, “this opportunity certainly empowered our TechGYRLS.”
We also got to hear directly from the girls about their experience at the museum and on the radio (along with a lovely thank you card, signed by all of them!):
- Holly: “It was really amazing to know that the songs I picked were going to be on the radio. I really enjoyed learning the history behind the music and all about the radio and how the broadcast is done.”
- Michaela: “It was really fun to have the experience to get to work with the technology in the radio booth. I learned a lot from the museum and learning about classic country music.”
- Allie: “As a future engineer, it’s important to learn about technology in other fields. While at the museum I learned that technology-based equipment is a fun necessity.”
- Jayda: “I liked learning about the Carter Family and the Carter scratch [Maybelle Carter’s well-known and influential guitar-playing technique]. The karaoke booth [Sing-Along Station in the Making Music area of the exhibits] was also very fun because we got to sing different types of music and learn about the instruments that were used.”
Hearing the impact this partnership – inspired by Museum Day Live! – had on the TechGYRLS has been incredibly moving. But the things we gained from this experience were just as positive: the use of our radio station as a wonderful community learning tool; the ability to share our museum with young girls and get their feedback in a direct and meaningful manner; the possibilities for further partnerships and outreach programs in the future; and the way a program like this, written and produced by local youth, took our museum and its mission further into our community – to name just a few.
March’s Museum Day Live! was a huge success for us – and an amazing experience. Most importantly, it had as significant an impact on us as it did on the TechGYRLS, and for that we couldn’t be more grateful.
All photographs courtesy Birthplace of Country Music Museum.
March 28, 2016
Congrats to these Affiliates making news! If you have a clipping that highlights a collaboration with the Smithsonian or with a fellow Affiliate, or a clipping that demonstrates leadership in education, innovation, and arts/culture/history/science you’d like to have considered for the Affiliate blog, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee.
Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts (Alta Loma, CA)
Jimmy Carter on Sam Maloof: ‘He was the best woodworker that ever lived’ (VIDEO)
South Dakota State Historical Society (Pierre, SD)
SD Food Heritage Is Theme For Annual History Conference
Friday’s keynote speaker is Susan Evans McClure, director of Smithsonian Food History Programs at the National Museum of American History, discussing “Food at the Nation’s History Museum.” McClure oversees the creation, planning and production of programs that explore the complexity of American history through our experiences with food and agriculture.
Museum of American Finance (New York, NY)
Gold Starring at Museum of American Finance
It’s only fitting that the Museum of American Finance (MOAF), an affiliate of the Smithsonian Museum system located in New York City, would turn its attention to gold.
DuSable Museum of African American History (Chicago, IL)
DuSable Museum partners with the Smithsonian
Chicago’s DuSable Museum granted Smithsonian Affiliation
The museum, established in 1961, becomes the second cultural institution in Chicago to be granted the prestigious affiliation (the Adler Planetarium is the other).
The DuSable Museum of African American History Obtains Smithsonian Affiliation Status
“With Affiliate status, the DuSable will bring the Smithsonian to the community and the DuSable to the world,” said DuSable President and CEO Perri Irmer. “The partnership will also expose the museum’s Masterworks Collection to a broader audience by giving the work and the artists international exposure.”
Pinhead Institute (Telluride, CO)
Museum Day Live! at Pinhead
“I want them to see how much they can learn from it,” she said. “They are in control of their future. … Kids can come alive and realize they can accomplish something.” Free Museum Day Live! is funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant through the Smithsonian. Holbrooke said it’s the first time Pinhead has participated in Museum Day Live!
The Witte Museum (San Antonio, TX)
VIDEO- Witte Museum exhibit explores how horses transformed Texas
Museum of Design Atlanta (Atlanta, GA)
Astrophotography Afterschool Program
MODA is excited to be joining the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics program, Youth Capturing the Colorful Cosmos, to bring astrophysics and scientific visualization skills to young astronomers. Students will have access to telescopes and images as they design their own experiments.
The Rockwell Museum (Corning, NY)
Storytellers aid Rockwell’s outreach to women of color
The museum will join hundreds of other cultural institutions across the country as the Smithsonian celebrates a nationwide campaign to reach women and girls in underserved communities.
Idaho Museum of Natural History (Pocatello, ID)
Largest snake in the world comes to ISU (VIDEO)
“We couldn’t be more happy to finally bring this snake to Idaho,” said Leif Tapanila, the museum director.
Replica of world’s largest snake at ISU
The IMNH hosted family friendly activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to coincide with the opening of the new exhibit “Titanoboa: Monster Snake,” a Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service exhibit.
World’s largest snake slithers into East Idaho
The exhibit also includes 3D animation of Titanoboa created by the Idaho Virtualization Lab (IVL). In addition, guests will get the opportunity to handle a 3D printed Titanoboa backbone and compare it to the backbone of a Green anaconda, the heaviest snake species alive today.
Largest snake in history to open at Idaho Museum of Natural History
On March 19, the IMNH will host family friendly activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to coincide with the opening of the new exhibit “Titanoboa: Monster Snake,” a Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service exhibit. Activities will include bubble snakes, snake mobiles, sleeping bag snake races and cold blooded activities. Activities are free in the museum’s Discovery Room, while Titanoboa can be seen in the gallery with payment of admission.
New Mexico Museum of Space History (Alamagordo, NM)
NASA’s First Female Hispanic Flight Director, El Paso Native, to Speak at Museum
For Museum Day LIVE!, the museum will present a speaker series featuring women in STEM careers. Headlining the series will be Ginger Kerrick, a native of El Paso, graduate of Hanks High School and Texas Tech where she holds a Masters degree in physics. Kerrick began working for NASA as an intern in 1991 and in 2005 became NASA’s first Hispanic female flight director.
The TechGYRLS at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.
Birthplace of Country Music Museum (Bristol, TN/VA)
Birthplace of Country Music Museum Hosts Museum Day Live! March 12
“This partnership is a great way to share the museum with young girls in our local community and to give them the opportunity to really experience the radio station – and get a chance to make their voices heard!” says Rodgers. “It’s been wonderful to watch the TechGyrls develop their own program, one that we feel will inspire other girls too.”
Museum Center at 5ive Points (Cleveland, TN)
Cleveland’s Museum Center searching for new director
The Museum Center at Five Points will lose Hassan Najjar as its executive director today after a three-year tenure that has been credited with revitalizing the museum’s mission and lifeblood.
Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
Toy exhibition at Heinz History Center offers fun and nostalgia
The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History has loaned two items: a 1950s-era Mr. Potato Head and a Digi-Comp 1, an early mechanical computer.
Mr. Potato Head and Friends on display at “Toys of the ’50’s, ’60’s and 70’s,” at the Heinz History Center.
Museum Center at 5ive Points (Cleveland, TN)
Hassan Najjar resigns museum position
Najjar point outs that his was not a one-man-show. “Our remarkable staff and board of trustees deserve so much credit,” says Najjar. “We’ve set out on some pretty large projects in these past three years, and our team continued to work hard to realize each of them. This group of individuals fueled our success and I’m thankful for each of them.”
New Mexico Museum of Space History (Alamogordo, NM)
New Mexico Museum of Space History Celebrates 40 Years
The museum is celebrating its 40th anniversary with several signature events beginning onMarch 1. In recognition of the museum becoming a Smithsonian Affiliate in 2013, Governor Susana Martinez declared March 1 as “New Mexico Museum of Space History Day” and made it a free day at the museum for New Mexico residents. As part of the museum’s 40thAnniversary Celebration, the Tombaugh Theater will be offering “buy one, get one free” tickets all day.
Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, CA)
Museum of Latin American Art celebrates 20-year history
“It’s a great moment for the museum and for the community,” said Stuart Ashman, president and CEO of MOLAA. “ Some people don’t realize this museum has been here for 20 years and don’t recognize the importance of this museum.”
Agua Caliente Cultural Museum (Palm Springs, CA)
Agua Caliente Native FilmFest to be a free for all
The Native FilmFest has never been about ticket sales, says Agua Caliente Cultural Museum executive director Michael Hammond. It’s a tribal educational program. And now, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, the tribe isn’t going to make people pay for that education. Two Agua Caliente Cultural Museum board members have agreed to underwrite unlimited ticket sales to all six days of the festival starting Tuesday at the Camelot Theatres.
Agua Caliente Cultural Museum Brings Back Native FilmFest
Now in its fifteenth season, Native FilmFest presented by Agua Caliente Cultural Museum Tuesday, March 1 through Sunday, March 6 is one of the most highly regarded festivals of its kind ̶ showcasing the best in films by, about, and starring Native Americans and other Indigenous peoples. Guest Programmer Elizabeth Weatherford is Director and Founder of the Film and Video Center at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.
Guest Programmer Elizabeth Weatherford & Executive Director Michael Hammond Ph.D.
Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West (Scottsdale, AZ)
Jewel of the Valley
Western Spirit: Scottdale’s Museum of the West rises as a top museum in the country
“They have a very strong commitment to education and they want to show the West in its great variety and diversity,” said Harold Closter, director of the Smithsonian Affiliations, part of the Smithsonian Institution. “This is just a wonderful museum. You can feel it as soon as you walk in the door.”
March 26, 2016
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Congratulations to these Affiliates on their spring accomplishments!
The Goppert Foundation of Kansas City is contributing $250,000 to an expansion and bridge project underway at Union Station. The gift brings the station closer to meeting its fundraising goal for the $7.5 million project. Construction is underway on a vehicular and pedestrian bridge which will allow more direct access to the garage from Pershing Road as well as views of a new festival plaza and Science City expansion below.
The Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation, one of the most popular core exhibitions at the Berkshire Museum, will undergo a significant upgrade and reopen to the public on Saturday, April 16. The improvements and upgrades to the Hall of Innovation are supported by a grant from the Feigenbaum Foundation that has pledged $500,000 to the Berkshire Museum, to be used for a series of annual improvements over the next few years.
The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded more than $28,000 in grants to promote public access to historic records. The Rhode Island Historical Society in Providence will use its grant to digitize architectural drawings related to the construction of the Providence Athenaeum and Arcade by 19th-century architect Russell Warren.