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February 25, 2014

Take Off with Shuttle Programs

The era of the space shuttle may have drawn to a close, but shuttles are finding new life in education at museums across the country. The retirement of the shuttle fleet presents unique educational and collaborative opportunities for a greater community of organizations to explore space history through STEM programs.

The Smithsonian and Smithsonian Affiliations community represent, in collections and educational programs, the entirety of the U.S. Space Shuttle Program, from its inception, through the history of its flights, to the commemoration of its triumphs and tragedies.  The National Air and Space Museum is home to Discovery, Smithsonian Affiliates California Science Center hosts Endeavour, and The Museum of Flight displays a full scale test shuttle to its visitors.  Several more Affiliates have significant collections related to the shuttle program; five are home to Challenger Learning Centers.

As so many Affiliates are working to interpret space history and the shuttle program, we’re facilitating projects to bring this group together to encourage sharing information and materials. To begin, we’re hosting a session at the Mutual Concerns of Air and Space Museums conference, April 11-14, 2014. In this session, three museums will present case studies demonstrating unique exhibition and educational plans for the retired space shuttle fleet with the goal of sharing experiences and resources that would benefit other museums interested in using the space shuttle program in their educational offerings.

California Science Center will discuss plans for the new facility that will house Endeavour and the immersive experiences intended to encourage creativity and innovation. The Museum of Flight will share the hands-on experience (not possible with decommissioned orbiters) that visitors have when they climb into the three-story full-body trainer at the museum. The National Air and Space Museum will talk about the installation and exhibition of Discovery at the Udvar-Hazy Center. We hope a lively discussion at Mutual Concerns will lead us to future collaborations. We’d like to hear our Affiliates ideas on how to connect: should we support a trip to Washington or connect digitally? Is this a topic that would resonate with museum visitors or spark imaginative school programming? Please contact us to take part, or join us June 23-25, 2014 at the Smithsonian Affiliations conference to continue the discussion.

September 24, 2013

Affiliates hear it first from SITES!

Celebrate your special connection to the Smithsonian. SITES is offering Smithsonian Affiliates first dibs on booking these BRAND NEW exhibitions before we market them widely. Contact us today to reserve your preferred booking period.

Searching for the Seventies: The DOCUMERICA Photography Project 

Credit:  Flip Shulke, South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida, June 1973. DOCUMERICA Photography Project. National Archives.

Credit:
Flip Shulke, South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida, June 1973. DOCUMERICA Photography Project. National Archives.

 Images of everyday life in 1970s America: disco dancing and inflation, protests and bell bottoms, gas shortages and suburban sprawl.  At a time when war and scandal wore on the national psyche, a burgeoning movement to protect our natural environment was gaining force. 

In 1971, inspired by the Farm Security Administration’s photography project of the 1930s and 40s, the newly established U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched the DOCUMERICA Photography Project to document environmental troubles and triumphs across the country.  About 70 photographers, including Flip Schulke, John Corn, Danny Lyon, and John H. White, were urged to capture “the human connection” to the environment, from small towns in coal country to urban streetscapes.  What emerged was a moving and textured portrait of America.  Capturing a rapidly changing world with surprising resonances to the present, DOCUMERICA culls some of the most striking photographs from a trove of thousands.

This unique exhibition is a collaboration between SITES and the National Archives and Records Administration which now holds the original DOCUMERICA photographic materials. You can browse through thousands of DOCUMERICA images on their website and Flickr.

90 color photographs, text panels, labels, and video
$7,000 per 10-week slot plus outgoing shipping
Approximately 350 running feet
Moderate security
Tour begins: As early as February 2015
Contact: Minnie Russell, 202.633.3160


Patios, Pools, and the Invention of the American Backyard

Benton Garden in Phoenix, Arizona, circa 1950. Archives of American Gardens

Benton Garden in Phoenix, Arizona, circa 1950. Archives of American Gardens

The suburban backyard is so familiar it feels like a permanent fixture of American life.  But it’s actually an invention of the 1950s that grew up along with the Baby Boomers. Produced in partnership with the Smithsonian Archives of American Gardens, Patios, Pools, and the Invention of the American Backyard is a fun, retro look at the concept of “outdoor living” that was created in post-World War II America.  From the mid-century rise of the suburbs and changes in home design to the popularity of DIY,  barbecues, and tiki parties, the exhibition explores trends in society that were reflected in the typical American backyard.  Topics include post-war garden design such as the Western, New Canaan, and Japanese styles, and the role of female landscape architects and tastemakers.  Patios, Pools, and the Invention of the American Backyard documents the new technologies and materials that led to inexpensive home pools and aluminum patio furniture, as well as the use of chemicals such as DDT and the resulting nascent environmental movement.  From Levittown to Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, don’t miss your chance as an Affiliate to reminisce about the American backyard.

Six double-sided, freestanding structures with reproductions of garden designs, vintage photographs, advertisement art, and text
$5,500 per 10-week slot plus outgoing shipping
1,000-1,500 square feet
Limited security
Tour begins:  March 21, 2015
Contact:  Ed Liskey, 202.633.3142

 

Beyond Bollywood:  Indian Americans Shape the Nation

A celebration of Hindu marriage vows renewal. Photo: Preston Merchant.

A celebration of Hindu marriage vows renewal. Photo: Preston Merchant.

 From builders of the first railroads in the American West to leaders of the digital economy, immigrants from the subcontinent of India and their descendants have made deep and lasting contributions to the American story.  Beyond Bollywood:  Indian Americans Shape the Nation, created in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center, explores the Indian American experience and this community’s vital political, professional, and cultural contributions to American life.  Weaving together stories of individual achievement and collective struggle, the exhibition uses photography, vibrant color and design, narrative prose, and engaging interactives, to tell this uniquely American story.  Beyond Bollywood is an inspirational look at the history and contributions of this community that merges India and America.  This exhibition tour is a wonderful opportunity for SI Affiliates to educate, honor, and engage this burgeoning population across the country!

 24 wall-hung panels with text, photographs, charts, maps and graphics; display thalis; audio station; videos on DVD; traveling trunk
$2,400 per 10-week slot plus outgoing shipping
150 running feet
Limited security
Tour begins:  May 2, 2015
Contact:  Ed Liskey, 202.633.3142

 
We hope you’ll take advantage of these early-bird notices only for Smithsonian Affiliates- another benefit of your being a partner to the Smithsonian!

September 6, 2013

Welcome to the Smithsonian, @Plimoth #mishoon

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Hand-made paddles to go along with the mishoon.

Today, September 6, 2013, Smithsonian Affiliate Plimoth Plantation delivered a traditional Mashpee Wampanoag #mishoon to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. (What is a mishoon? Read our previous blogs here and here) In a special ceremony at the Cultural Resources Center in Suitland, Maryland, Plimoth, Wampanoag, and Smithsonian staff came together and celebrated the gift of the mishoon to the collection.

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These amazing guys from the Wampanoag Indigenous Program at Plimoth Plantation created the mishoon that was gifted to the Smithsonian.

August 28, 2013

The Sun Sets on the Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion

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The IMAS team de-installs the Pavilion. Photos courtesy Don Williams.

After 5-years on the road visiting 5 Affiliates in Illinois, Texas, New York, and Kentucky, a team of experts packed-up the Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion at the International Museum of Art and Science (McAllen, Texas) at the end of August. The Pavilion reached nearly 150,000 visitors while on view at Peoria Riverfront Museum, Irving Arts Center, Flushing Town Hall, The Headley-Whitney Museum and IMAS. We’re grateful to Don Williams from the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute who traveled to each Affiliate with a team of volunteers to help install and de-install the Pavilion.

Feeling nostalgic? Wander down memory lane through these past posts from The Affiliate Blog:

Goodbye Texas, Hello New York! Part 1

Goodbye Texas, Hello New York! Part 2

Where Will the Pavilion Go Next?

Center Stage at Headley-Whitney

For more information about the Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion, contact affiliates@si.edu.

August 26, 2013

promote your smithsonian affiliation on your website

Filed under: Behind the Scenes,enewsletter feature,General,Resources — Laura Hansen @ 10:30 am
Gemini 11, which is currently on loan from the National Air and Space Museum to the California Science Center in Los Angeles

Gemini 11, which is currently on loan from the National Air and Space Museum to the California Science Center in Los Angeles

Smithsonian Affiliates are spotlighting their Affiliation on websites and visual communications.  As so many museum visitors log onto a museum’s website before they come through the doors, this is an amazing way to emphasize your ongoing partnership with the Smithsonian to your community and visitors.  We wanted to share some great examples and let you know how you can highlight your Smithsonian partnership!

The California Science Center mentions the ongoing projects with the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum that even precede their Smithsonian Affiliation.  They describe the collaboration that has led to their hosting many space history objects, including Gemini 11.

Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center mentions the special tagline that Affiliates may use: In Association with the Smithsonian Institution.  After uses are approved by your National Outreach Manager, you may use the tagline on many different media including your own enewsletters, as seen here as used by The Mexican Museum.

The Mexican Museum's enewsletter with the tagline, "In Association with the Smithsonian Institution."

The Mexican Museum’s enewsletter with the tagline, “In Association with the Smithsonian Institution.”

Several Affiliates, such as The Freedom Museum and the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History use the Smithsonian Affiliations logo to discuss the Affiliation.  Only Smithsonian Affiliates may use the logo in these ways so be sure to take advantage of this and shout your Affiliation partnership!  We have recently updated our logo, which can be found here on a new page with several easy-to-download files in different formats.  All logo uses must be approved by your National Outreach Manager, who can help with logo and tagline guidelines.

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Use the logo and tagline!

Finally, we can also help with press releases for Smithsonian Affiliate collaborations by providing examples and suggestions, or boilerplate that can be included on every press release you send out.  We found Affiliates doing this wonderfully: here’s the Berkshire Museum and Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Other terrific examples of Affiliates devoting web site space to their Affiliation and how it supports their missions are: National Museum of American Jewish History, Irving Arts Center, Frost Art Museum and the Springfield Museum of Art.

Kudos to all the Affiliates who are telling their visitors about our unique partnership!

August 9, 2013

“Hey Mom, guess what I did today? I moved a totem pole!”

Special thanks to Summer Olsen, 2013 Smithsonian Affiliations Intern Partner for writing this guest post. Summer spent 10 weeks at the Smithsonian this summer. She returns to California this fall to complete the second half of her intern partnership. Thank you, Summer!

summerolsenDuring my summer 2013 internship through the Smithsonian Affiliations Intern Partnership Program I assisted the Office of the Registrar at the Cultural Resources Center (CRC) of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) from June 3rd to August 9th. Inventory Specialist Heather Farley and Assistant Registrar for Acquisitions Margaret Cintron supervised me.  During my internship in Registration I learned about the daily processing, tracking, and inventory of objects in collections, researched Plains beadwork with NMAI curator Emil Her Many Horses, and experienced the organization of other Smithsonian branches via intern tours and events. The skills and knowledge I developed during my internship will be applied to a comprehensive project involving an inventory and assessment of the Plains beadwork collections at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum (a Smithsonian Affiliate) and the museum at Sherman Indian High School in Riverside, California.

My time at the CRC has flown by and I have developed skills and gained knowledge by completing a variety of tasks: documenting the un-accessioned collections, processing new acquisitions, processing outgoing loans and objects returned from being loaned, working in collections, assisting in the de-installation of an exhibit, and office tasks like scanning and filing catalog cards and accession lot folders.

My main project this summer was to work with two other registration interns documenting the un-accessioned collections. To prepare for our work in registration work we received object-handling training from conservation staff members and training from registration staff to operate work assistance vehicles (WAV) and pallet jacks. We photographed, recorded measurements, and re-housed disassociated fragments from their parent object and un-accessioned material. After photographing the objects we edited the photo files and embedded them with metadata. Then we made custom storage mounts, and shelved the objects in their appropriate locations in collections. I was also taught how to enter some cataloging information and object dimensions into EMU.

We learned to use the barcode system in collections. When working on the documentation project we assigned a barcode to each item. New acquisitions were also assigned barcodes. In addition we re-associated a group of fragments using the barcode system to locate their parent objects and conducted an inventory by scanning the barcodes of un-accessioned works on paper.

olsen3I learned the procedure for processing new acquisitions into the collection.  We unpacked crates, took reference photos, and made/wrote condition reports and lot forms. For cloth objects we made tags with NMAI catalog numbers and sewed them down. The procedure was much the same for the outgoing objects for the Anishinabe exhibit at the George Gustav Heye Center in New York City. We checked the condition of each object and compared it to previous condition and conservation reports. When objects came back from a loan I helped Museum Registration Specialist for Loans, Rajshree Solanki, unpack objects and updated their condition paperwork. We also wrote condition paperwork for peace medals that were de-installed at the NMAI Mall Museum in Washington, D.C.

During the second part of my internship I met with NMAI curator Emil Her Many Horses who guided me through NMAI’s beadwork collections. I learned about the progression of beading (from quillwork to early beading to the present day), different cultural styles of beadwork, and beading techniques. The information he imparted will be key to completing my project this fall at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum and Sherman Indian High School.

This internship also gave me access to knowledge via tours of other Smithsonian Museums and events sponsored by the Office of Fellowships and Internships. I was able to see collections storage practices at National Museum of Natural History, the Hirshhorn, and National Air and Space Museum and toured the Folklife festival with curators from the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. The “From Here to Career”, an event hosted by OFI, gave me the opportunity to talk to Smithsonian museum professionals.

My internship at NMAI has been an incredible experience.  I will be able to apply all the skills I learned while working at NMAI to my project at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum and Sherman Indian High School.  I have been able to see objects I have only ever read about, interact with fantastic people, been given advice that will impact the rest of my academic career, and formed professional relationships. Highlights of my experience have been: Moving a totem pole, documenting strange animal specimens, getting to see collections while re-associating fragments, and learning about beadwork with Emil Her Many Horses.

Thank you Smithsonian Affiliations for this amazing opportunity. I have enjoyed every minute of it and am gearing up to complete the next part of the internship in Riverside.

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Summer receiving a Certificate of Award at the Congressional Reception during the 2013 Affiliations National Conference. Left to right: Smithsonian Secretary, G. Wayne Clough; Summer Olsen, Smithsonian Regent, France A. Córdova; Smithsonian Assistant Secretary for Education and Access, Claudine Brown; Riverside Metropolitan Museum Curator of Collections & Exhibitions, Brenda Focht; Riverside Metropolitan Museum Curator of Collections & Historic Structures, Lynn Voorheis; and Smithsonian Affiliations Director, Harold Closter.

July 12, 2013

It all started with a field trip to NMAI…

Filed under: Behind the Scenes,General,Mishoon — Katie Taylor @ 12:00 pm

IMG_5680A few years ago, members of Plimoth Plantation’s Wampanoag Indigenous Program made a trip from Plymouth, Massachusetts to Washington, DC to visit the National Museum of the American Indian. While there Darius Coombs, Associate Director of the program, noted in the museum’s canoe exhibition there was no representation of a traditional mishoon.  Today, he and Richard Pickering, Deputy Executive Director of Plimoth Plantation, are back in Washington, DC to meet with NMAI to coordinate their donation of a Wampanoag mishoon to the museum.

IMG_5665The meeting was held at NMAI’s  Cultural Resources Center where they were first granted a behind the scenes tour of the storage facility. It was quite a treat to be able to view the rows upon rows of drawers upon drawers of artifacts including the entire Wampanoag collection. After the tour Darius gave a brief presentation to the staff at NMAI CRC including this video of the Wampanoag mishoon trip to Martha’s Vineyard:

 

The meeting was a great success and we are eager to share follow up information as it becomes available. Stay tuned for more on this exciting collaboration!

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