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October 29, 2014

call for ideas for the 2015 Affiliations Conference

Affiliate staff enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour at the 2014 Affiliations conference.

Affiliate staff enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour at the 2014 Affiliations conference.

Mark your calendars now for the annual Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference, June 15-17, 2015.  The conference strives to engage Affiliate and Smithsonian colleagues in dialogues about current issues, best practices and collaboration potential.

Most conference sessions feature both Affiliate and Smithsonian staff, and highlight timely and relevant topics facing the field today.  The staff of Affiliations is in full planning mode now, and would love to hear from you.  Below are some topics we have been discussing as possible sessions and/or tours.  What would you add to the list?  Can you lend expertise or perspective to any of the topics?

Thanks in advance for helping us plan the best conference possible!

Ideas under consideration as tours or sessions:

  • Millenials – how to attract and engage them, and make them members.
  • Branding – Ideas for Affiliates as brand ambassadors, and as SI highlighted content
  • Visiting Professional alumni – what did they do with their SI experience?
  • Music Initiative – what SI and Affiliates are doing, and how can we do it together?
  • Connecting art and science
  • Mentorship writ large
  • Cocktail history as a hot new programming tool
  • Crowdsourced projects – can we grow them together?

If you have other ideas to share for the 2015 conference, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee at bugbeee@si.edu.

May 28, 2014

Smithsonian Resource Fair at the 2014 Affiliations National Conference

2014RF1We’ve gathered nearly 30 Smithsonian offices, programs and museums to give Affiliate conference attendees the opportunity to meet staff one-on-one during the Smithsonian Resource Fair on Tuesday, June 24.

Many offices have new programs looking for partners, new exhibitions looking to travel, new digital learning programs to share online and new resources to share with the Affiliate network. All registered 2014 Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference attendees are invited to start their day with breakfast at the Holiday Inn-Capitol and then meet with Smithsonian representatives at the Resource Fair.

And don’t forget to stop by the CrowdTorch by Cvent table and learn more about our new Smithsonian Affiliations Conference app! Mobile app provided by CrowdTorch by Cvent.

Kick-off the 2014 National Conference with a networking opportunity unlike any other at the Smithsonian! Register today.  Below is the current list of Smithsonian programs and museums attending the Resource Fair:

Anacostia Community Museum

Archives of American Art

Asian Pacific American Center

Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

CrowdTorch byCvent

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

National Air and Space Museum

National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of African Art

National Museum of American History

National Museum of Natural History

National Museum of the American Indian

National Portrait Gallery

National Postal Museum

National Zoological Park

Office of Exhibits Central

Smithsonian Accessibility Program

Smithsonian Affiliate Membership (Log in to the Affiliations-only section of our website for information on this program for Affiliates)

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Smithsonian Books

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center

Smithsonian Folkways

Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service

Smithsonian Latino Center

The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation

The Smithsonian Associates

2014RF2The Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference is for current Affiliates only. If you are interested in becoming an Affiliate, or have an application in progress and would like to attend the Conference, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee for more information.

Affiliations has gone mobile!

app_previewNew for the 2014 Affiliations National Conference is a mobile app to keep all conference activities at your fingertips. Access all the information you need during the conference on your smartphones and devices.  This new feature is generously provided by CrowdTorch from Cvent.

The app will include an online agenda and a note section that allows attendees to take notes inside the app and email the document to save or share with colleagues.

Speaker bios are linked to conference sessions for easier planning during the event.

Meeting locations  have been formatted in a google map so users can easily get directions from any location around the National Mall.

The app is loaded with time saving information and tools right at your fingertips!

Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference app will be available from the App Store in mid June.

Stay tuned for updates so you can download the App before the Conference.

Questions? Contact Christina DiMeglio Lopez dimeglioc@si.edu

 

The Evolution of a Dino Hall

Photo courtesy Donald E. Hurlbert / Smithsonian Institution.

Photo courtesy Donald E. Hurlbert / Smithsonian Institution.

On April 28, 2014, the National Museum of Natural History’s Fossil Hall closed to the public to begin a 5-year renovation. The Hall will undergo the largest and most complex renovation in the Museum’s history. The new exhibition will showcase the Museum’s unrivaled fossil collection and present the most current scientific research.

New fossil displays and scientific stories, informed by the most current research, will give fresh meaning to ancient life. And new techniques for fossil display and collections management enable researchers to tell new stories with historic specimens. Visitors to the new hall will explore how life, environments, and ecosystems have interacted to form and change our planet over billions of years.

Many museums are in similar situations when determining how to upgrade a popular exhibition space. Meeting 21st-century technology demands, presenting the most current scientific research as well as incorporate the latest educational programs in an inviting and accessible way are all things to consider when reinvigorating an exhibition space.

At the 2014 Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference, Affiliate attendees will have the opportunity to learn from the NMNH staff organizing and executing the Fossil Hall renovation. Those in attendance will share their own experiences and take away ideas for reshaping a new story in old exhibits.

The session, The Evolution of a Fossil Hall: Bringing a Modern Lens to an Ancient Story, takes place at the National Museum of Natural History on Wednesday, June 25. All registered Affiliate attendees are welcome to join.

The panel consists of:
Kara Blond, Director of Exhibitions, National Museum of Natural History
Kathy Hollis, Paleobiology Collections Manager, National Museum of Natural History
Steve Jabo, Fossil Preparator, National Museum of Natural History

There’s still time to register to attend the Affiliations National Conference and discover something new!

The Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference is for current Affiliates only. If you are interested in becoming an Affiliate, or have an application in progress and would like to attend the Conference, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee for more information.

This exhibit sketch featuring a Triceratops and soaring pterosaur brings the world in which the T. rex lived to life, and is just one possibility of what visitors could see after the museum’s largest, most extensive exhibition renovation is complete. The Nation’s T. rex arrived at the National Museum of Natural History on April 15, and will be the centerpiece of the museum’s new 31,000-square-foot dinosaur and fossil hall, which is slated to open in 2019. (Courtesy Smithsonian Institution)

This exhibit sketch featuring a Triceratops and soaring pterosaur brings the world in which the T. rex lived to life, and is just one possibility of what visitors could see after the museum’s largest, most extensive exhibition renovation is complete. (Courtesy Smithsonian Institution)

April 1, 2014

Raising History’s Profile

In 2013, a group of public historians, preservationists, educators, historic site managers, and museum leaders got together and asked, “How can we re-brand history and show that it is crucial to our nation’s future?

Join us for the 2014 Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference, just steps away from where history is made every day!

Join us for the 2014 Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference, just steps away from where history is made every day!

Thus was born the History Relevance Campaign, a grassroots movement made up of public historians who aim to show why the study and practice of history develop life skills that contribute to a stronger  citizenry and are crucial to our nation’s future. The focus is on the need to raise the profile of history and its value in the general public.

Over the past year, the group has held conversations at conferences of the American Alliance of Museums, National History Day, National Council for Public History, American Historical Association, and the American Association for State and Local History.

Not connected to any one history organization, the group intends to craft a strategy to make the teaching of history and related skills an integral and essential part of the K-12 curriculum.

Attendees to the Affiliations National Conference have the opportunity to contribute to the conversation first-hand and help build an action plan for the History Relevance Campaign during a session on Tuesday, June 24:

History Relevance Campaign: Raising History’s Profile
Discussion leaders:
Kim Fortney, Deputy Director, National History Day
Tim Grove, Chief of Museum Learning, National Air and Space Museum
Kent Whitworth, Executive Director, Kentucky Historical Society

Come help shape and form a national campaign for history. Anyone can also join the discussion now on LinkedIn at http://bit.ly/historybrand.

While you’re planning your Affiliations conference attendance, consider staying for the 21st Century Museum Leadership Seminar, June 26-27, in collaboration with the George Washington University. Additional fees apply. Click here to fill out an application.

The Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference is for current Affiliates only. If you are interested in becoming an Affiliate, or have an application in progress and would like to attend the Conference, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee for more information.

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Register for the 2014 Affiliations Conference here.
Reserve your room at the Holiday Inn- Capitol at a special rate.
View the preliminary agenda on our Conference webpage.

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.

February 24, 2014

Crowdfunding + Tweetups. Yes. Those are real things.

And museums are using them in new and unique ways to raise money and engage new audiences. In 2013, the Freer|Sackler Gallery launched its first major crowdfunding campaign “Together we’re one” to support Yoga: The Art of Transformation. Using crowdfunding, the museum asked ordinary citizens to help fund the exhibit. In the end, the museum raised more than $170,000, well above its goal.

tweetup1At the National Museum of American History, National Air and Space Museum and National Museum of Natural History social media practitioners are engaging new audiences in person and online by hosting Tweetups (sometimes called socials) for enthusiasts who want to learn more about Smithsonian collections, programs and exhibits. Partnering with other organizations like NASA and the National Holocaust Museum, the Smithsonian reaches new audiences through the personal tweets from their most avid audiences. During the #docsocial tweetup in January 2014, the small event—about 25 tweeps—resulted in almost 24 million impressions on Twitter. (Impressions are similar to newspaper delivery—you know how many newspapers were delivered but not how many were read, but the potential is there!)

As we plan our 2014 Affiliations National Conference, we want to know who among our amazing Affiliate network have had successes in crowdfunding and tweetups? We’re planning two sessions during our conference about both topics and would love to include Affiliate insights. Have you funded a program or exhibit through online giving? Have you expanded your reach using Tweetups as a tool? We want to know. And if you’re one of our amazing Affiliate innovators, we want to include you in our conference. Email Elizabeth Bugbee to share your successes (and failures too!).

In addition, we’ve started a Social Media @SIAffiliates Facebook group. We want to create a community for our Affiliate network to get to know each other and share ideas with each other. Please join today!

Join us at the 2014 Affiliations National Conference June 23-25 in Washington, D.C. The Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference is for current Affiliates only. If you are interested in becoming an Affiliate, or have an application in progress and would like to attend the Conference, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee for more information.

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