September 30, 2014

kudos affiliates! october 2014 accomplishments

Congrats to all Affiliates on your recent accomplishments!

With a historic gift from Drs. Nicholas A. and Dorothy M. Cummings of $3.5 million — following an earlier $1.5 million gift — the Center for the History of Psychology has its future secured and will be renamed the Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology. The multimillion dollar gift will allow the Cummings Center to expand its museum and construct a dedicated research space and offices for visiting scholars and staff. It also will fund an endowment to support a full-time associate director position, enabling the director to focus on fundraising and advancing the Cummings Center’s reputation.

Lowell National Historical Park is one of 65 national parks selected to receive a 2014 Ticket to Ride grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. The grant supports the programming and bus fees for 600 Nashua School District fifth graders to the Tsongas Industrial History Center (TIHC) to participate in the “River as a Classroom” program and explore the Merrimack River’s ecosystem by boat and or land.

The Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) has approved funding for two grants to The Ellen Noël Art Museum. The museum will received a $5,000 grant through the Arts Create program, and a $1,000 grant through the Arts Respond Project. The Arts Respond grant will support the ongoing collaboration with ECISD known as Fine Arts Connection. For over 20 years, this program has provided thousands of young students an opportunity to visit the Museum, tour the galleries and participate in hands on activities. These tours are a major consideration during the planning of the fall exhibit schedule and combine core subject matters with the arts, helping educators to meet the TEKS K-12 standards. Arts Create is in support of general operating for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced the grant recipients for their Museums for America and National Leadership Grants for Museums programs including the following Affiliate awards:
Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona – Tucson, AZ
Award Amount: $150,000
The Arizona State Museum will complete conservation treatment of 320 ethnological baskets of high scholarly significance and interest to the museum, scholars and researchers, tribal community members, and the general public. Grant funds will support the purchase of archival quality materials and conservation supplies as well as the hiring of a part-time specialist conservator and recent conservation graduate who will work with the museum’s conservators to treat and stabilize the baskets.

Denver Art Museum – Denver, CO
Award Amount: $150,000
The Denver Art Museum will implement critical environmental improvements in an existing storage facility in the final phase of a project to renovate and upgrade the facility. The project will improve current storage conditions for textile art objects, maximize the use of space in storage allowing for consolidation of textile art, and improve curatorial, conservation, and collections management accessibility and safe handling conditions to meet the increased demands of rotations, programs, and exhibitions in the expanded Textile Art Department.

Denver Art Museum – Denver, CO
Award Amount: $148,000
Denver Art Museum will develop participatory programs co-designed by the museum’s education staff and local creative entrepreneurs to respond to the challenge of rethinking traditional forms of audience engagement. “Test Kitchens” will be spaces that provide activities tied to art to engage the creative community, and “Pop-Ups” will be spaces in galleries with participatory activities that respond, extend, or react to the gallery where they are located. The project encourages dialogue among visitors and artists, deepening the visitor experience and positioning DAM as a catalyst for creativity.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science – Denver, CO
Award Amount: $149,940
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science will re-house and enhance collections management of the museum’s North American Plains Nations Clothing and Accessories Collection to improve stewardship and access for this high-priority collection. The museum will purchase and install new storage cabinets and supplies, fabricate customized mounts for each of the 1,441 objects, and reorganize the collection following Plains Nations cultural designations. As part of the re-housing process, staff will inventory, document, digitally photograph, and re-label the objects. This comprehensive project will address the long-term physical preservation for this significant collection, increase access for monitoring and research, strengthen intellectual control, and create new public outreach and community building opportunities.

Mystic Seaport Museum – Mystic, CT
Award Amount: $150,000
Mystic Seaport Museum will develop an introductory video and projection globe—two critical multimedia pieces for its upcoming “Voyaging in the Wake of the Whalers” exhibit that will explore America’s historic and contemporary relationship with whales and whaling. The exhibit will help visitors and staff expand the conversation beyond condemning past whaling practices to understanding the forces that drove the industry, how perceptions about whales changed over time, and how human actions continue to impact whales. This project will help the museum raise public awareness about the role the whaling industry played in the development of the nation’s multiethnic make-up, domestic economy, global impact and encounters, and further promote thought about the nation’s whaling heritage, and how it continues to shape communities and culture.

National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium – Dubuque, IA
Award Amount: $149,322
The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium will create “Boat Works,” a new exhibit and educational program demonstrating the history and skills of engine assembly. The unique exhibit experience will feature the operational Iowa Marine Engine & Launch Works, a 1915 machine shop, in order to interpret the machinery, tools, and equipment that was necessary for this skilled work. To support the exhibit programming, the museum will recruit, train, and evaluate volunteer interpreters to demonstrate various activities within the machine shop. Through this exhibit, visitors will learn all aspects of boat building, including the manufacture of marine engines, the building of wooden boats, the shaping of iron in the blacksmith shop, and the construction and launch of large iron and steel hull vessels.

Kentucky Historical Society – Frankfort, KY
Award Amount: $149,060
The Kentucky Historical Society will conduct a comprehensive inventory of its artifact collections. The effort will include making digital photographs of each object, conducting baseline condition assessments, and updating collections management records. The project will enhance the stewardship of the museum collections by accounting for the location of all items, rehousing and reorganizing the material, and establishing which objects may need more thorough conservation attention. Newly created digital images will allow the staff to increase the accessibility of the collection by adding to the historical society’s object catalog which currently features over 12,000 items in a searchable database.

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture – Baltimore, MD
Award Amount: $69,674
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture will hire a curatorial graduate student intern, create a postdoctoral fellowship in African American history, and establish a professional development fund that will allow staff at all levels to take advantage of training programs relevant to their work as museum professionals. In collaboration with the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), the postdoctoral fellow will experience hands-on learning in curatorial practice and collections; research and write articles that focus on topics in African American history, museum collections research, and upcoming exhibitions; and host two public talks that highlight civic and cultural engagement as related to his or her museum research. The graduate student intern and postdoctoral fellow will develop valuable career skills, and the professional development fund will enhance the ability of the museum staff to present information about the lives of African Americans in Maryland.

B & O Railroad Museum – Baltimore, MD
Award Amount: $91,200
B&O Railroad Museum will design and develop a permanent exhibit focusing on railway safety, the history of rail safety, and the individuals who keep railways safe. Through the use of life-size dioramas, historic artifacts, photos, archival documents, and interactive learning stations, the exhibit will be an educational tool for visitors to learn about the evolution of railroad safety and the role of organized labor, proper ways to engage rail systems, and gain an understanding of the safety tools and signs as well as the jobs of different railroaders. The exhibit will also be incorporated as a mandatory visit component for school groups utilizing the museum’s History Passport Program, a free admission program for students.

USS Constitution Museum – Boston, MA
Award Amount: $150,000
The USS Constitution Museum will develop a research-based, hands-on exhibit providing visitors of all ages the opportunity to learn about the origins of the “USS Constitution.” Intergenerational audiences will engage in participatory activities and learn through the lens of the people who dreamed, designed, built, launched, and outfitted the ship in the 1790s. The integrated exhibit and program project will expand the museum’s capacity to serve families by creating a memorable, engaging, and informative exhibit and integrated programs. The project will spark a cross-disciplinary appreciation for the ship’s innovative design and construction, including the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) concepts inherent in America’s history, and foster emotional and personal connections.

Michigan State University Museum – East Lansing, MI
Award Amount: $65,110
Michigan State University Museum will improve the storage environment for 28,527 vertebrate specimens that are presently housed in substandard or unsafe conditions. The specimens include both fluid-preserved and dry collection items, many of which are currently difficult to access. The museum will purchase cabinetry and archival supplies; transfer fluid-preserved specimens to approved flammable liquid cabinets; install archival boxes and drawer liners for dry collections; rehouse the dry specimens into new museum-quality cabinets; produce shelf, drawer, and cabinet labels for the rehoused specimens; update the storage locations of rehoused specimens in the collections database; install a temporary public display featuring the collections stewardship activities; disseminate information about the project; and evaluate the overall effort. This will rectify the current substandard conditions, mitigate risks of deterioration to specimens, and improve access to and management of the collection.

American Jazz Museum – Kansas City, MO
Award Amount: $133,050
The American Jazz Museum will hire a registrar to enhance the accessibility of the museum’s collections and create four semester-long paid internship positions focusing on collections and education. The registrar will be tasked with responsibilities related to collections care and management of special projects in the collections department, including ensuring safe and proper handling, transportation, exhibition, storage, and documentation of permanent collections and loans. To ensure the success of each intern, the museum will develop a sound, three-way partnership between the museum, the students, and the colleges or universities they attend. The interns will be recruited from University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Kansas, and Kansas State University and will work on projects that increase the accessibility of the museum’s collections and offer valuable job experiences to the students.

Museum of the Rockies, Montana State University – Bozeman, MT
Award Amount: $71,972
The Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University will create a new field trip program for schoolchildren in kindergarten through twelfth grade to keep museum education and informal learning experiences at the forefront of standards-based education for Montana’s schools. The project will increase the museum’s capacity to reach more students each year, create guides for teachers and students, and increase the number of Montana State University student-led field trip programs. Results of this research will be shared with other informal STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education programs statewide to increase the quality and relevance of all informal education experiences available to Montana schoolchildren.

Springfield Museum of Art – Springfield, OH
Award Amount: $23,889
The Springfield Museum of Art will develop a model for creating sustainable, audience-focused public programs through a project called “It’s Your Art Museum—A Model for Community Involvement.” The museum will hire a part-time museum educator and engage the services of a consultant who will conduct community focus groups and work with museum staff and volunteers to develop a model that can be used by staff, volunteers, and interns. Upon completion, this project will improve the quality of the museum visitor experience by presenting learning experiences for different ages and styles of learners that have been developed with community input.

Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico – San Juan, PR
Award Amount: $23,010
The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico will develop and implement “Art and Technology,” which will provide learning opportunities to at-risk youth in the San Juan metropolitan area by integrating the museum’s exhibits and collections as a platform for learning activities and dynamic thinking. Through lessons on digital media, photography, and art aligning with academic standards, students will acquire technology and problem-solving skills, language proficiency and communication skills, the ability to better interact with peers, and enhanced information skills. At-risk youth will be able to use the museum as an innovative learning facility with free art and technological resources to develop their skills to learn, create, and share with their peers their work in a safe environment.

Children’s Museum of the Upstate – Greenville, SC
Award Amount: $43,491

Children’s Museum of the Upstate will partner with the Greenville County Human Relations Commission and a local bank to provide family financial literacy sessions for low-income families titled “Finances for the Family.” These sessions will include a series of four workshops, a lessons learned discussion, and an exhibit challenge that will connect the museum’s growing focus on financial literacy to a communitywide effort to address economic inequality and improve financial stability for low-income families. By bringing its resources and early childhood educational expertise to bear on the challenge of financial literacy for low-income families, the museum will improve participating families’ prospects for the future and help build a stronger and more vibrant community as a whole.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science – Dallas, TX
Award Amount: $150,000
Perot Museum of Nature and Science will expand its museum-based professional development offerings for Dallas-area teachers by launching, testing, and evaluating a scalable Perot Museum STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Teacher Institute and Mentor Program. Participating K-12 teachers will attend a weeklong, intensive “Summer Academies at the Museum” designed to measurably improve the quality of formal science instruction in public, charter, private, and parochial schools by creating and sustaining a collaborative formal and informal STEM learning community. The museum aims to increase teachers’ knowledge of science content as well as their competence, confidence, creativity, and consistency in science instruction through this program, and ultimately increase interest and engagement among their students in STEM subjects.

The Museum of Flight – Seattle, WA
Award Amount: $19,163
The Museum of Flight will re-house and catalog its aviation manual collection, which includes 14,000 manuals relating to military aircraft, commercial aircraft, general aviation aircraft, pilot instruction, aircraft operation, engines, landing gear, and other aircraft accessories. The museum will rehouse the manuals in archival containers for long-term preservation and fully catalog each manual. The additional details added to the catalog records will enable researchers studying aviation, military and technical history, and technical design to more easily search and view records of the collection. This project will also provide an established framework for the addition of more manuals as the museum acquires them.

Wisconsin Veterans Museum – Madison, WI
Award Amount: $31,757
Wisconsin Veterans Museum will digitize and catalog 1,700 images including ambrotypes, tintypes, cartes-de-visites, gemtypes, cabinet cards and photo albums produced during the war, as well as images of Civil War veterans taken after the war. The project will include the development of metadata standards, evaluation of previously digitized material, and the development of an online searchable database. The Civil War image collection represents the highest priority for digitization because of the condition of material in the collection, the high level of research interest, and its historical significance. The project will provide the public with increased accessibility and a portal to a fully cataloged, searchable digital database of the Museum’s processed Civil War image collection.

National Medal for Museum Service Recipients

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences – Raleigh, NC
Award Amount: $5,000
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is the state’s most visited museum and the largest institution of its type in the southeastern region of the U.S. Visitors can observe real scientists at work through floor-to ceiling glass walls, and take part in an extensive range of exciting programs. Each year, more than 35,000 visitors attend the museum’s BugFest, the nation’s largest family-friendly event exploring the world of insects and other arthropods.

Achievements and Recognition
The Mountain-Plains Museums Association (MPMA) announced the winners of its 2014 Awards including History Colorado taking home top honors for Black Sunday Object Theater in the Exhibit Technology category.

another way to bring the Smithsonian to your door

Dr. Kurin visited the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia in November 2013. Photo courtesy NMAJH.

Dr. Kurin visited the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia in November 2013. Photo courtesy NMAJH.

You may have caught him in an Affiliate neighborhood in the past year—he’s been to more than 8 Affiliates—or read his new book The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects. But did you know you can now learn from Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture anywhere you can download him?!

Based on Richard Kurin’s popular book, the Experiencing America course—the first in a new partnership between the Smithsonian and The Great Courses—reveals the stories behind iconic American artifacts, including President Abraham Lincoln’s hat, Dorothy’s ruby slippers, George Washington’s sword, Harriet Tubman’s hymnal and even the Space Shuttle Discovery. Eye-opening and thought-provoking lectures share surprising takes on both familiar objects and little-known artifacts of profound importance to American history.

“When you’re in intimate proximity to one of these objects…you have a link to that sweeping history. History is not distant. It’s not a stranger.” –Richard Kurin

We are always on the lookout for ways to bring engaging, educational content from the Smithsonian to Affiliate neighborhoods and are delighted that Dr. Kurin has visited so many Affiliate communities. This new collaboration with The Great Courses offers yet another way to experience the Smithsonian.

“It’s been a real treat visiting Smithsonian Affiliates and giving public talks about The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects as well as having quality time to visit with staff . The hospitality of our colleagues and the welcoming audiences have been uplifting. And everywhere I’ve been, from the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh to the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane, from the Polk Museum of Art in Florida to the South Dakota State Historical Society in Pierre, among others, I’ve connected Affiliate collections to Smithsonian icons, regional stories to national ones, generating a wonderful response.”

Dr. Kurin gives an animated talk at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh in March 2014.

Dr. Kurin gave an animated talk at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh in March 2014.

Affiliates interested in bringing Dr. Kurin to their communities should contact their Affiliations National Outreach Manager for more information.

Additional resources:

September 29, 2014

affiliates in the news- October 2014

Congrats to these Affiliates making news! Each month we highlight Affiliate-Smithsonian and Affiliate-Affiliate collaborations making headlines.  If you have a clipping highlighting a collaboration with the Smithsonian or with a fellow Affiliate you’d like to have considered for the Affiliate blog, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee.

A life-size version of Mr. Rogers, originally from the Pittsburgh area, appears in the Heinz Center’s exhibition on innovation. (Senator John Heinz History Center)

A life-size version of Mr. Rogers, originally from the Pittsburgh area, appears in the Heinz Center’s exhibition on innovation. (Senator John Heinz History Center)

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
Celebrating Pittsburgh, the City Behind Pro Football, Big Macs and the Polio Vaccine
Pittsburghers, locals say, are proud in a quiet sort of way. For that reason, outsiders may not realize that the western Pennsylvania city is responsible for everything from banana splits to the emoticon. For years—16,000, to be exact—Pittsburgh has served as a hub for innovation across industries as varied as sports, weaponry, board games and condiments. 

Riverside Metropolitan Museum (Riverside, CA)
Metropolitan Museum celebrates Smithsonian Week
For Smithsonian Week, Sept. 23 to Sept. 27, the museum will feature two special Smithsonian guests, who will give presentations related to the “Cahuilla Continuum” exhibit.

Ellen Noël Art Museum (Odessa, TX)
Ellen Noël Art museum to host Community Art Day
“SouthWest Bank is excited to once again support the Smithsonian Affiliation with the Ellen Noel Art Museum of the Permian Basin,” Dewey Bryant, CEO of SouthWest Bank said in an emailed statement. “We appreciate the Ellen Noel Art Museum as well as their constant efforts to educate the Permian Basin in the Arts with the exhibits that they provide for the benefit of the Permian Basin including the Smithsonian exhibits.  We are proud to support this community organization in our great city.”

Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum (Clewiston, FL)
Exhibit Features Skate Culture on Big Cypress Reservation and Across U.S.
Native American skateboarders are the subject of a traveling Smithsonian exhibit at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in Hendry County. 

Philip Leslie Hale. American, 1865-1931. Wisteria, circa 1895. Oil on canvas. (Collection of Dr. William H. and Nancy Marshall). On view at the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

Philip Leslie Hale. American, 1865-1931. Wisteria, circa 1895. Oil on canvas. (Collection of Dr. William H. and Nancy Marshall). On view at the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

Peoria Riverfront Museum (Peoria, IL)
Impressionism Into Modernism: Crafting America’s Unique Style of Art
To McKinsey, the Armory Show’s appeal is local as well as historic, as the Peoria Riverfront Museum sits a mere three hours outside of Chicago. “Chicago was full of these artists who were at the forefront of Modernism, but perhaps just not as broadly known,” she says. “This is an opportunity to celebrate Chicago’s contributions to Modernism in America.”

Stafford Museum (Weatherford, OK)
Stafford Museum Invites Members For Special Events, Discounts
September also marks the month-long National Smithsonian Membership Drive. The Stafford Museum is celebrating their status as a Smithsonian Affiliate and the opportunity to share the Smithsonian Membership with all Oklahomans by discounting all membership levels by $10.

The Biomuseo (Panama City, Panama)
Frank Gehry’s Biomuseo in Panama, Finally Open for Business
Visitors must begin at the Gallery of Biodiversity which acts as an introduction to Panama’s genetic, ecological and biological bounty. …Also covered in this gallery are the current bio-prospecting initiatives that are being carried out in the country by organizations such as the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). 

National Inventors Hall of Fame (North Canton, OH)
National Museum of American History Innovates
In collaboration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, this space will display technological breakthroughs from various eras, trademarks and explain intellectual property protection. It also will showcase inventions of National Inventors Hall of Fame members. 

William Greiner’s photographs, including Merry’s, are on view in “Oh! Augusta!” at the Morris Museum of Art in Georgia. (William Greiner/Morris Museum of Art)

William Greiner’s photographs, including Merry’s, are on view in “Oh! Augusta!” at the Morris Museum of Art in Georgia. (William Greiner/Morris Museum of Art)

Morris Museum of Art (Augusta, GA)
Capturing First Impressions of a City in Transition
The Morris Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate museum, holds 32 Greiner photographs in its permanent collections and selected 20 of those to include in “Oh! Augusta!” Eschewing digital, Greiner used a 35mm film camera and a half-a-century-old lens. Schulte says that Greiner took so many photos during his 2012 visit that he had to ask museum staff to run out and buy him more film.

Virginia Museum of Natural History (Martinsville, VA)
3D Printing Extinct Animals: The Passenger Pigeon in the Age of Digital Zooarchaeology
The post-cranial bones of the Passenger Pigeon came from the collection of the Virginia Museum of Natural History. It was with the guidance of Dr. Elizabeth Moore that these elements were made available for this landmark project. Brian Schmidt, Director of the Division of Birds at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History was able to provide two skulls for the project.

South Dakota State Historic Society (Pierre, SD)
South Dakota Society To Show Smithsonian Webcast
The South Dakota State Historical Society will show a webcast of a Smithsonian Channel program on the history of California’s Silicon Valley. The historical society says its museum in Pierre will show the free webcast on Sept. 14. It was produced in 2010 for Smithsonian and explores the growth of Silicon Valley in the late 1950s, before people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates ruled the technology sector.

St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum (St. Augustine, FL)
Lighthouse will celebrate Native American History with award-winning chef
“The Mitsitam Café is one of the more popular places to eat lunch on the mall in D.C.,” said Mollie Malloy, Senior Director of Museum Services at the lighthouse. “I have met Chef Hetzler and had the very rare opportunity to experience, first hand, his passion and talents for bringing history to life through the culinary arts. His research of Native American food and customs can be tasted in everything that he prepares.”

Two days of adventure at the St Augustine Lighthouse
Historic City News readers are invited to be guests of the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum on Saturday, September 6th, to take a bite out of history with award-winning chef Richard Hetzler.

During the affiliation announcement at the Sullivan Museum, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Norwich University President Richard W. Schneider viewed a Lincoln mask produced with a 3D printer using Smithsonian 3D model. Photo credit: Norwich University/Mark Collier

During the affiliation announcement at the Sullivan Museum, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Norwich University President Richard W. Schneider viewed a Lincoln mask produced with a 3D printer using Smithsonian 3D model. Photo credit: Norwich University/Mark Collier

Sullivan Museum and History Center (Northfield, VT)
Sullivan Museum is now a Smithsonian Affiliate
Senator Leahy, the Senate’s President Pro Tempore and since 2001 one of three Senate members of the Smithsonian’s 17- member governing Board of Regents, said: “As a Vermonter and a Smithsonian Regent I’m doubly proud of this designation. Acceptance into the Smithsonian Affiliates program is a great credit to the Sullivan Museum and History Center and to Norwich University. It signifies the Sullivan museum’s vitality and high standards. Hitching our star to the Smithsonian, and the Smithsonian to the Sullivan Museum’s energy, is a winner from every perspective. This broad partnership will deepen the Sullivan Museum’s and Vermonters’ access to a broad array of professional and educational resources, as well as to the Smithsonian’s unparalleled collections. It will bring Norwich’s rich history to wider audiences beyond our borders.”

Norwich University’s Sullivan Museum Becomes Smithsonian Affiliate
“It offers us the opportunity to work with the 19 museums in the Smithsonian,” says Henrich of the mammoth Washington, D.C., institution. “When we’re planning our exhibits, we can borrow objects from those museums, and we can bring in subject specialists for lectures and programming … they have a fabulous speakers’ series.” 

Norwich museum becomes first Smithsonian Affiliate in Vermont
In association with the Smithsonian since 2014, the Sullivan Museum and History Center is part of a select group of museums, and cultural, educational, and arts organizations that share the Smithsonian’s resources with the nation.

U.S. Space and Rocket Center (Huntsville, AL)
U.S. Space and Rocket Center adds heavyweight helicopter exhibit
“As a Smithsonian affiliate, this is part of our job to tell the story of the Smithsonian in our neighborhood,” the Space and Rocket Center’s CEO Deborah Barnhart said.  “The Chinook is certainly part of the backbone of the story in our neighborhood here with Team Redstone.”

Center for the History of Psychology (Akron, OH)
University of Akron receives $3.5 million gift for Center for the History of Psychology
Nicholas Cummings, a trailblazing psychologist, and his wife, Dorothy, have committed $3.5 million to the University of Akron, which will secure the future of its Center for the History of Psychology. In recognition of the gift, which follows an early commitment of $1.5 million, the center will bear the Cummings name. 

After examining a century-old quilt brought in by Birmingham resident Nora Bell (not pictured), Renee Anderson (left), from the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and textile historian Susan Neill offered tips for preserving and storing the family heirloom.

After examining a century-old quilt brought in by Birmingham resident Nora Bell (not pictured), Renee Anderson (left), from the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and textile historian Susan Neill offered tips for preserving and storing the family heirloom. Debbie Elliott/NPR

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, Alabama)
New Smithsonian Workshops Show You How To Preserve Black Cultural Artifacts
But now a new program by the Smithsonian is teaching people how to preserve their own cultural artifacts, which have value to society and, quite frankly, monetary value.

Preserving Black History, Americans Care For National Treasures At Home (NPR All Things Considered)
It looks like the TV program Antiques Roadshow has come to town. But these are experts from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, here as part of a series of workshops around the country to help identify and protect items of cultural significance.

Smithsonian coming to Birmingham to evaluate African-American treasures
“We are extremely proud of bringing ‘Save Our African American Treasures’ to Birmingham and of our partnership with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute,” said Lonnie Bunch, director of the Smithsonian museum, in a statement.

September 24, 2014

coming up in affiliateland in october 2014

The air is turning crisp and Affiliates continue to host top-rate programs all over the country.


The BioMuseo, designed by Frank Gehry, is ready to open in Panama.

The BioMuseo, designed by Frank Gehry, is ready to open in Panama.

National Outreach Manager Alma Douglas takes part in the celebration of the BioMuseo, which officially opens to the public in Panama City, 10.2.


Smithsonian Associates lead an exclusive tour Inside Oak Ridge National Laboratory featuring two Affiliates, the Museum of Appalachia and American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, 10.4-7.


The Menello Museum of Art opens George Catlin’s American Buffalo exhibition from the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Orlando, 10.4.

The South Florida Museum opens SITES The Evolving Universe exhibition in Bradenton, 10.25.


Affiliations director Harold Closter will announce the new affiliation with the Witte Museum in San Antonio, 10.7.

Affiliations director Harold Closter will announce the new affiliation with the Space Center in Houston, 10/8.



Several Smithsonian staff members will attend the celebration to open Spark!Lab, an interactive exhibit and activity space resulting from a collaboration between the Berkshire Museum and the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, in Pittsfield, 10.10.

The Lowell National Historical Park will host an Innovators in Community Engagement Forum, including Sharon Reinckens from the Anacostia Community Museum, and fellow Affiliate, Cassie Chinn, from the Wing Luke Museum, in Lowell, 10.21-22.


The Children’s Museum of the Upstate hosts their first “Smithsonian Speaker Series” with a talk by fellow Affiliate Dr. Deborah Barnhart, CEO of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The Museum will also present public exhibition of student creations as part of the Smithsonian’s Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos astrophotography project, in Greenville, 10.28.



August 29, 2014

where the buffalo roam

On Saturday, August 30, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo will bring back the American bison in a new exhibit and habitat.  Zora and Wilma are not only beautiful animals, but they also serve as an important reminder about conservation and the Zoo’s inception. In 1887, American bison wandered the National Mall, helping to bring awareness to the endangerment of the species. Two years later, Congress passed legislation to found the National Zoo, celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.

Bison roam around the Smithsonian Castle

Bison roam around the Smithsonian Castle, 1887-89

At Affiliations, we are wallowing in the excitement of welcoming these magnificent animals to Washington. So we decided to scan our herd of partners, to see where else the mighty American bison are roaming among Affiliate plains. We found a virtual stampede of bison content in Affiliateland!

– It seems appropriate to start in Wyoming, at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. After all, it was “Buffalo Bill” Cody who offered the Smithsonian a herd of 18 bison in 1888. Painfully, the gift had to be refused for lack of space on the National Mall.  But today, you can find plenty of bison material at the Buffalo Bill Center in Cody. The Center’s museums house an impressive collection of art depicting “Nature’s Cattle,” including beautiful Audubon prints as well as Native artifacts made from the bison, and natural history specimens.

"Scout" at the Durham Museum in Omaha.

“Scout” at the Durham Museum in Omaha

– It was a Nebraska rancher who donated the very first bison to the Smithsonian’s collection, so it seems natural to travel on to Omaha to visit “Scout,” the beloved bison on view at the Durham Museum. At 7 ½’ high and 10’ long, this magnificent specimen helps to tell the important story of the Midwest’s history with the bison. As part of their bison interpretation, the Durham Museum uses the online resource Tracking the Buffalo from the National Museum of American History. Go ahead – take the site’s interactive test to guess what you could make from all the parts of the animal.

–  Some bison though, were revered beyond all that they could provide for Native people. A white bison is extremely rare, appearing once in approximately five million births. For this reason, these animals are considered sacred and possess great spiritual power to Native and non-Native people alike. Given this extreme rarity, where could you ever see one now?! The Montana Historical Society in Helena displays “Big Medicine,” a white buffalo who died in 1959. With blue eyes, tan hooves, and a brown topknot, there’s still plenty of reasons to revere the beauty of this extraordinary specimen today.

"White Medicine" on view at the Montana Historical Society

“Big Medicine” on view at the Montana Historical Society

– As rare as Big Medicine is, perhaps no bison has the hometown spirit of “On the Wind,” the massive bronze bison who greets visitors to the History Colorado Center in Denver. He’s been seen wearing bandannas when the stock show comes to town, a Broncos jersey during football season, and even a bike helmet during the recent Pro Challenge cycling race through the state. He’s also an important reminder of the stories told inside the Center about the historic relationship between bison and the peoples of the West.

– To travel even further back in time, check out the archeological remains of a gigantic Ice Age bison at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Excavated from the Colorado Rockies, this iconic specimen and its neighbors represent one of the most significant fossil discoveries ever made in Colorado.  How gigantic was it?  Twice the size of a modern bison!  How do we know?  It had a horn spread more than 7’ wide (compared with the 2 ½’ spread of the modern buffalo).


“On the Wind” in Denver reflects the community

– If you’re finding it hard to imagine the size of a modern bison without actually seeing one, the South Dakota State Historical Society can help you out.  They’ve devised a fun 30-page coloring sheet called How Big is a Buffalo. Bison make quite an appearance in the Society’s education kits, which include objects, lesson plans, worksheets and ideas for additional activities. The Buffalo and Plains Indians, Lewis and Clark, and Archeology kits are just a few that explore all facets of this great American species.

– Lest you think the Affiliate bison only roam west of the Mississippi, think again.  The Mashantucket Pequot Museum in Connecticut is currently displaying The Bison: American Icon exhibition, which explores “the dramatic changes that occurred to the bison and its habitat, and to the people who depended on it for their daily existence.” At the end of September, the Museum invites visitors to take the Bison Challenge – an outdoor activity that will test your speed, strength, and senses against the performance of a bison.  Good luck!

Bison: American Icon exhibit on view at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum

The Bison: American Icon exhibit on view at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum

As the song goes, “oh give me a home… “  It’s gratifying to see how many Affiliate “homes” across America celebrate the iconic bison, and that the Smithsonian will soon provide two of them a home in the nation’s capital.

How does your museum interpret the mighty bison? (We’re looking at you Idaho and Oklahoma)  Tell us your stories!


(Footnote:  “bison” and “buffalo” are often used interchangeably.  Culturally this is correct; scientifically it is not.  Technically, bison and buffalo are not the same animal. Click here to compare their differences.)


buffalomeThe author is a National Outreach Manager in Smithsonian Affiliations, and a long-time buffalophile.


August 26, 2014

kudos affiliates! september 2014 accomplishments

Filed under: enewsletter feature,General — Aaron Glavas @ 5:58 pm

Congrats to all Affiliates on your recent accomplishments!

The Berkshire Museum (Pittsfield MA) has been awarded $83,600 in energy incentive grants from the Berkshire Gas Co. and the Western Massachusetts Electric Co. The grants will be used as partial funding for a project that will incorporate energy efficiency measures in the museum’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, which is necessary to protect the museum’s collections of art, historical objects and natural specimens.

The Putnam Museum (Davenport IA) has received a $5,000 Cultural Leadership Partners Project Grant from the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. Grant funds will support the Quad-Cities Jewish Heritage Traveling Exhibit, a project supported by the Jewish Federation of the Quad-Cities and guest curator, Dr. Art Pitz. The exhibit of photos, graphics and text will trace Jewish history in the Quad-City region and will appear at public libraries and other locations beginning in early 2015.

The Ohio Arts Council awarded sustainability grants of $12,998 to the Springfield Museum of Art (Springfield OH).  They can be used toward advertising, a print newsletter, new lights, art education and exhibition programs.

The Frontiers of Flight Museum (Dallas TX) has received a $20,000 grant to support a traveling exhibit on American prisoners of war. The gift from the UPS Foundation will pay for special educational tours for 640 students and will enable 500 former POWs and their families to see the exhibit for free. “Victory From Within: The American Prisoner of War Experience” examines life as a POW from the Civil War through modern times.

George Jacob,  former executive director of the Ellen Noel Art Museum (Odessa TX) has accepted the position of President of the International Museum of Art & Science (McAllen TX).

coming up in affiliateland in September 2014

Affiliates are “going back to school” with gusto this September!

Smithsonian Affiliations staff will participate in a ceremony with Senator Patrick Leahy to announce our new affiliation with the Sullivan Museum and History Center, the first Affiliate in Vermont, in Northfield, 9.2.


new book by National Air and Space Museum educator

The Abbe Museum welcomes Tim Grove, educator at the National Air and Space Museum, for a talk and signing of his new book A Grizzly in the Mail and Other Adventures in American History, in Bar Harbor, 9.4.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute hosts the Save Our African American Treasures program organized by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Birmingham, 9.6.

Chef and expert on Native cuisine Richard Hetzler presents a lecture and cooking demonstration at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum in St. Augustine, 9.6.

The Museum of Arts and Sciences presents Septembers with the Smithsonian, which includes a public lecture by Craig Saffoe, Curator of Big Cats from the National Zoo, 9.20; and a concert and student workshops with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, in Daytona, 9.27.

The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum opens SITES Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America in Clewiston, 9.13.

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science hosts a workshop on Creating Collections with Young Children led by educators from the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, in Dallas, 9.11-12.

George Jacob, Executive Director, Ellen Noël Art Museum (Odessa) will give a lecture on the meaning of WPA era murals as part of The Art of Tom Lea: Preserving Our National Heritage symposium hosted by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., 9.24.

visitors enjoy Ramp It Up

Ramp It Up exhibition coming to Florida

The National Museum of American History collaborates with the Arizona Historical Society and the Arizona State Museum to present the Let’s Do History professional development program for teachers in Tucson, 9.20, 27.

The Idaho Museum of Natural History opens SITES I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story exhibition in Pocatello, 9.20.

Renee Anderson, textile conservator at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will spend a week at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, in dialogue with staff on conservation projects and future collaboration opportunities, in Carlisle, 9.22-26.

The Riverside Metropolitan Museum presents Smithsonian Week in Riverside featuring talks by experts from the National Museum of the American Indian, 9.24-27.  The Museum also opens Cahuilla Continuum, an exhibition featuring three objects from the National Museum of the American Indian, in Riverside, 9.26


curator Jeff Post talks gems in Illinois

More than 75 Affiliates will participate in Smithsonian Museum Day Live!, offering free admission to their museums, 9.27. Find a list of participating Affiliates here.

The Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art hosts a talk by National Museum of Natural History curator Jeff Post on A Look Inside the Smithsonian’s Gem & Mineral Collection in Elmhurst, 9.28.

Smithsonian Affiliations staff will attend the opening ceremonies of the new BioMuseo when it opens to the public in Panama, 9.29.

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