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January 7, 2015

coming up in Affiliateland in winter 2015

A roundup of events throughout the Affiliate network from December 2014 – February 2015.

U.S. mail box, plated with 24-karat gold and studded with 137 sapphires, 100 rubies, 25 diamonds, and 10 emeralds, on view at the Tellus Science Museum.

U.S. mail box, plated with 24-karat gold and studded with 137 sapphires, 100 rubies, 25 diamonds, and 10 emeralds, on view at the Tellus Science Museum.

GEORGIA
The Tellus Science Museum opened Jeweled Objects of Desire with 47 objects on loan from the National Museum of Natural History in Cartersville, 12.6.14

WASHINGTON
The Museum of Flight opened SITES’ Suited for Space in Seattle, 12.13.14.

National Museum of the American Indian curator Cecile Ganteaume will present a keynote talk at a three-day program on American Indian basketry, hosted by the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane, 2.26.15.

SOUTH DAKOTA
The South Dakota State Historical Society presented Native Sports with Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills – a rebroadcast of an online seminar by the National Museum of the American Indian on Native Olympians, and a discussion with a South Dakotan Olympic athlete in Pierre, 12.14.14

MARYLAND
National Air and Space Museum curator Andrew Johnston served on a jury panel for an upcoming exhibition on the cosmos at the Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Art Center in Solomons, 12.16.14.

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum for Maryland African American History and Culture will host a screening of the Smithsonian Channel’s new documentary The Legend of Leadbelly with a talk by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings producer Jeff Place in Baltimore, 2.5.15.

NEW YORK
The Museum of American Finance presented Smithsonian Board of Regents member David Rubenstein with the Whitehead Award for Distinguished Public Service and Financial Leadership at its annual gala in Manhattan, 1.13.15.

The Smithsonian National Board enjoyed a private tour of the Museum of American Finance, as well as a performance by a jazz ensemble organized by the National Jazz Museum in Harlem in Manhattan, 1.22.15.

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will talk about Women of the West at the Heard Museum in Phoenix.

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will talk about Women of the West at the Heard Museum in Phoenix.

ARIZONA
The Heard Museum  opened Beautiful Games: American Indians in Sports including two paintings on loan from the American Art Museum, 12.18.14.  The Heard Museum also hosted a public program entitled What It Means to be American: The Women of the West, co-created by the National Museum of American History, 1.14.15.  Kevin Gover, director of the National Museum of the American Indian, will deliver a keynote lecture as part of the Indigenous Stereotypes in Sports symposium at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, 1.30.15.

NORTH CAROLINA
The Schiele Museum of Natural History opens The Solar System: A Journey of Exploration exhibition featuring object loans from the National Air and Space Museum in Gastonia, 1.17.15

CALIFORNIA
The Riverside Metropolitan Museum opened SITES’ I Want the Wide American Earth in Riverside, 12.20.14.

The Sonoma County Museum will open SITES’ Indivisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas exhibition in Santa Rosa, 1.24.15.

The Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts will announce their Smithsonian affiliation with a lecture by Nora Atkinson of the American Art Museum in Alta Loma, 1.24.15.

FLORIDA
The Mennello Museum of American Art will open the Real Lives: Observations and Reflections by Dale Kenington exhibition which includes one painting on loan from the American Art Museum in Orlando, 1.23.15.

INDIANA
Conner Prairie will host a lecture by National Air and Space Museum curator Tom Crouch on ballooning in the antebellum Midwest in Fishers, 1.28.15.

ALABAMA
Smithsonian Undersecretary for History, Art and Culture Richard Kurin will give a public lecture on his book The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, 1.29.15.

UCAR in Boulder, Colorado.

UCAR in Boulder, Colorado.

COLORADO
The Telluride Historical Museum will host a film screening and viewing of student projects in relation to their Places of Invention project with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, in Telluride, 1.13.15.

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research will announce its Smithsonian affiliation with comments from Affiliations program director Harold Closter in Boulder, 1.29.15.

History Colorado will open the exhibition 1968: The Year that Rocked America with loans from the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History.  The Museum will open a complementary exhibition, El Movimiento, to include comments from Eduardo Díaz, director of the Smithsonian Latino Center, in Denver, 2.6-7.15.
The Museum will also host a screening of the Smithsonian Channel’s new documentary The Legend of Leadbelly with a talk by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings producer Jeff Place in Denver, 2.19.15.

PENNSYLVANIA
The African American Museum in Philadelphia will host a screening of the Smithsonian Channel’s new documentary The Legend of Leadbelly with a talk by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings producer Jeff Place in Philadelphia, 2.12.15.

The Heinz History Center will also host The Legend of Leadbelly screening in Pittsburgh, 2.18.15.

One of Chuck Jones' drawings, soon to be on view in Fort Worth.

One of Chuck Jones’ drawings, soon to be on view in San Antonio.

TEXAS
The Forth Worth Museum of Science and History  opens SITES’ What’s Up Doc? The Animation of Chuck Jones exhibition in Fort Worth, 2.14.15.

The Institute of Texan Cultures opens the Sikhs: Legacy of the Punjab exhibition organized by the Smithsonian, in San Antonio, 2.21.15.

NEW MEXICO
The Las Cruces Museum System will host the outreach and professional development program Let’s Do History in collaboration with the National Museum of American History, in Las Cruces, 2.19-20.15.

January 6, 2015

Affiliates in the news!

Congrats to these Affiliates making news!  Each month we highlight Affiliate-Smithsonian and Affiliate-Affiliate collaborations making headlines.  This is a compilation of clippings from mid-November until early-January. 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.

Henry Woodward tries his hand at "Snap Circuits" Photo by Jim Levulis WAMC

Henry Woodward tries his hand at “Snap Circuits” Photo by Jim Levulis WAMC

Berkshire Museum (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) RADIO SPOT
An Educational “Spark” At Berkshire Museum
“Hands-on engagement is a really great way to foster creativity and innovative thinking,” says Maria Mingalone, the director of interpretation at the Berkshire Museum. “So that’s really the aim and the goal of our Spark!Lab.” Developed at the Smithsonian Institution, the program features 10 hands-on laboratories for kids 5 or younger…but if you’re older, they’ll let you in.

Springfield Art Museum (Springfield, Ohio)
Springfield Art Museum shows student artists’ work
We were thrilled to take advantage of this exciting educational opportunity and to show that our Smithsonian affiliation is a tremendous boon, not only for the Springfield Museum of Art but for the Springfield community as a whole,” Housh said.

Tellus Science Museum (Cartersville, Georgia)
Tellus Museum adds space artifacts, new exhibits in 2014
Tellus also received for display from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum a real lunar module engine which was test fired by the space agency in Mississippi in 1972. The lunar module was used to taxi two astronauts to the Moon’s surface and back from the command ship soaring in lunar orbit.

In Tellus exhibit, it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that bling
But the idea behind it — and the other 46 pieces in the touring exhibit drawn from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s collection — was to show how simple materials can be transformed into remarkable treasures with artistic skill and ingenuity (oh, and bling — can’t forget the bling).

Tellus presents ‘Jeweled Objects of Desire’ exhibit
“Sidney Mobell honored the life of his wonderful wife Ronni Grant Mobell with the donation of 19 of his famous jeweled art creations to the Smithsonian. Since that time in addition to the installation of a Mobell jeweled art collection display at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C., Mr. Mobell’s exhibit has traveled to Smithsonian affiliate museums in Florida, [Louisiana and] Kentucky.

San Francisco jewelry artist Sidney Mobell created this U.S. mail box, plated with 24-karat gold and studded with 137 sapphires weighing 48.20 carats, 100 rubies weighing 24.50 carats, 25 diamonds weighing 2.25 carats, and 10 emeralds weighing 1.75 carats. It’s on view in the exhibit “Jeweled Objects of Desire” at Cartersville’s Tellus Science Museum.

San Francisco jewelry artist Sidney Mobell created this U.S. mail box, plated with 24-karat gold and studded with 137 sapphires weighing 48.20 carats, 100 rubies weighing 24.50 carats, 25 diamonds weighing 2.25 carats, and 10 emeralds weighing 1.75 carats. It’s on view in the exhibit “Jeweled Objects of Desire” at Cartersville’s Tellus Science Museum.

Renowned Jewelry Designer Sidney Mobell Opens Gem Exhibit At Tellus Science Museum
Mobell’s pieces on exhibit were donated by him to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and are on loan to Tellus as part of the Jeweled Objects of Desire exhibit. The exhibition features gems and jewelry from other artists represented in the Smithsonian’s collection such as Aldo Cipullo and John Sinkankas. Tellus has been a Smithsonian Affiliate since opening in 2009.

Smithsonian Curator To Discuss Reportedly Cursed Diamond In Cartersville
Dr. Post’s lecture precedes the opening of Jeweled Objects of Desire, one of the first of many Smithsonian exhibits to be on display at Tellus Science Museum. Tellus Science Museum has been a Smithsonian-affiliate institution since it opened in 2009. 

Tellus highlights Hope Diamond tonight
We’ve been affiliates of the Smithsonian for over five years now,” Tellus Executive Director Jose Santamaria said. “We’ve developed a good relationship, not just with the Smithsonian in general, but with Jeff. Our former curator, Julian Gray, and I have visited him a couple of times to review items to put on display here at Tellus. We actually have a pretty large, significant exhibit opening up in a couple of weeks because of collaborating with him.

Smithsonian Curator To Discuss Hope Diamond At Tellus Science Museum
Dr. Post’s lecture precedes the opening of Jeweled Objects of Desire, one of the first of many Smithsonian exhibits to be on display at Tellus Science Museum. Tellus has been a Smithsonian Affiliate since opening in 2009

Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, Maine)
Abbe Museum helps bring together Wabanaki youth and astronomy
The full exhibition will include students from other Wabanaki communities and promote increased interest, awareness and knowledge of astronomy content and Wabanaki oral histories.

Students from the Indian Township School will combine their own stories and images of the cosmos as part of the Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos program. The Abbe Museum and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics are helping to provide this opportunity. IMAGE COURTESY OF ABBE MUSEUM

Students from the Indian Township School will combine their own stories and images of the cosmos as part of the Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos program. The Abbe Museum and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics are helping to provide this opportunity. IMAGE COURTESY OF ABBE MUSEUM

Abbe Museum Partners with Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and Smithsonian Affiliations
The Abbe is partnering with the Indian Township School to offer the opportunity for students to research, learn, and photograph the cosmos using telescopes owned and maintained by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Museum of the African Diaspora (San Francisco, California)
Museum of the African Diaspora’s Rebirth: Q&A with MoAD Director Linda Harrison
The museum is also now officially a Smithsonian Affiliate, allowing it access to the Smithsonian Institute’s vast array of resources, including its unmatched artifact collection, which houses 136-million cultural and historical artifacts.

Renovated MoAD bigger, better
A recently acquired affiliation with the Smithsonian also boosts MoAD’s draw. This association with the venerated national museum center will allow MoAD to present significant traveling shows and to access the Smithsonian collection for exhibits and research.

MoAD cuts the ribbon and welcomes art lovers to reimagined space
As to MoAD’s recent affiliation with the Smithsonian, “I am delighted after all these years, MoAD has arrived at the point where it is associated with the premier museum in America.”

Celebrate the culture, history and art of people of African descent

MoAD reopens with big changes and big plans
Central to that initiative is the museum’s new status as a Smithsonian Affiliate. Partnering with the powerful Washington, D.C., institution will give MoAD access to the Smithsonian’s enormous resources and expertise. Benefits include touring exhibitions, object loans, and visiting scholars and speakers. The advantages are mutual. “We’re very interested in having a presence with this museum in San Francisco,” said Laura Hansen, national outreach manager for Smithsonian Affiliations.

(From left) Wade Rose, Linda Harrison, Alejandro de la Fuente, Lava Thomas, Naomi Kelley, Willie Brown cutting the ribbon at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD).

(From left) Wade Rose, Linda Harrison, Alejandro de la Fuente, Lava Thomas, Naomi Kelley, Willie Brown cutting the ribbon at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD).

Museum of American Finance (New York, New York)
David Rubenstein to Receive 2015 Whitehead Award for Public Service and Financial Leadership From Museum of American Finance
“There is no more deserving recipient of the 2015 Whitehead Award than David Rubinstein,” said David Cowen, President and CEO of the Museum of American Finance. “His outstanding achievements in the financial world are only surpassed by his deep commitment and dedication to preserving the nation’s history.”

Anchorage Museum (Anchorage, Alaska)
ArtBeat: Three gutsy women at the Anchorage Museum
Three Alaska women have been laying their guts out at the Anchorage Museum this week. Literally. Mary Tunuchuk, Elaine Kingeekuk and Sonya Kelliher-Combs have been working with animal intestines to make traditional items and contemporary art in a weeklong residency in the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center that winds up today.

The Command Module, Apollo 9 (Gumdrop) is on loan to the San Diego Air and Space Museum from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

The Command Module, Apollo 9 (Gumdrop) is on loan to the San Diego Air and Space Museum from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

San Diego Air and Space Museum (San Diego, California) (NASM loan)
New Space Vehicle Orion Launching December 4th; Apollo 9 On Exhibit at San Diego Air & Space Museum
Just as this Orion launch is a precursor to returning people to deep space, so the San Diego Air & Space Museum’s Apollo 9 spacecraft was a vital stepping-stone for astronauts to land on the moon in the summer of 1969.

Museum of Appalachia (Norris, Tennessee)
Tennessee’s Museum of Appalachia is a colourful side trip off I-75
Now operated as a non-profit corporation overseen by a board which includes the founder’s daughter, Elaine Meyer, the Museum of Appalachia recently was accepted into the Smithsonian Affiliation program, an acknowledgement of its importance to preserving the history of mountain pioneers.

Heard Museum (Phoenix, Arizona)
EDDIE VAN HALEN TO Help Launch Smithsonian/Zocalo Initiative
The kick-off event January 14 will feature former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of the Girl Scouts Of The USA, at the Heard Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate in Phoenix. Music icon Eddie Van Halen will headline the next event at the National Museum Of American History in February.

Museum of the Rockies (Bozeman, Montana)
The Scientist Behind “Jurassic World”, Jack Horner, Breaks Down the Movie’s Thrilling Trailer
As fantastical as the Jurassic Park movies are, there’s a real scientist behind the franchise – Jack Horner, a paleontologist at Museum of the Rockies, who not only served as scientific adviser on all four films, but also helped inspire the character of Dr. Alan Grant, played by actor Sam Neill. We spoke with Horner, 68, about making dinosaurs from mosquitoes and what to expect from Jurassic World.

Jack Horner, curator of paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies, poses near the Wankel T. rex, in Fort Peck, Mont., in June 1990. COURTESY MUSEUM OF THE ROCKIES/SMITHSONIAN

Jack Horner, curator of paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies, poses near the Wankel T. rex, in Fort Peck, Mont., in June 1990. COURTESY MUSEUM OF THE ROCKIES/SMITHSONIAN

America’s T. Rex Gets A Makeover
(Affiliate mentioned in caption of one of the images.)

Denver Museum of Nature and Science (Denver, Colorado)
New Volume Documents the Science at the Legendary Snowmastodon Fossil Site in Colorado
Project co-leader and former DMNS chief curator, Dr. Kirk Johnson, and several scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and academic institutions around the world contributed articles to the journal.  “Nothing beats pulling fossils out of the ground,” said project scientist Dr. Jeff Pigati of the U.S. Geological Survey, “but the site also lets us see what the Colorado Rockies were like during a period of time that we simply couldn’t reach before the discovery.” 

Mid-America Science Museum (Hot Springs, Arkansas)
Mid-America Science Museum Renovation on Schedule, Re-opening Set for March
The museum, which opened in 1979 and has been a Smithsonian Institution affiliate since 2001, is undergoing its first renovation and expansion. New features include new classroom space, a maker space, updated exhibits for school groups, activities for adults and opportunities for teacher professional development in hands-on science education.

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (Seattle, Washington)
Wing Luke Museum spotlights Asian-Pacific impact on Northwest history VIDEO
The first affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute is right here in Seattle. The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience offers a unique perspective into the historic and cultural impact of the Asian Pacific community in the Northwest. The museum opened in 1967, named in tribute to Wing Luke, the first person of color elected to the city council, and the first Asian American elected to public office in the Pacific Northwest.

North Carolina Museum of History (Raleigh, North Carolina)
NC Museum of History salutes state’s celluloid past
They set to work, researching to identify as many made-in-North-Carolina films as they could. The oldest one they found was “The Heart of Esmeralda,” a silent film from 1912. Then they started borrowing artifacts such as the coonskin cap worn by Fess Parker in 1955’s “Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier,” which is on loan from the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

From left, objects conservator Jennifer French and registrar Camille Hunt carefully move the coonskin cap worn by actor Fess Parker in the beloved 1950s TV series “Davy Crockett” into a display case. The cap is on loan from the National Museum of American History. JULI LEONARD

From left, objects conservator Jennifer French and registrar Camille Hunt carefully move the coonskin cap worn by actor Fess Parker in the beloved 1950s TV series “Davy Crockett” into a display case. The cap is on loan from the National Museum of American History. JULI LEONARD

Museum exhibit shines spotlight on NC film history
Loaners include the Smithsonian and film companies, but also a stuntman and a make-up artist. “One of the great things about this exhibit — our own collection was small, and we didn’t have a whole lot of really good things,” said exhibit team leader Camille Hunt. “But everyone was so eager to help out and came forward with all these amazing artifacts.”

The saga of Davy Crockett’s coonskin cap
Curator Dwight Blocker Bowers shares the story of Davy Crockett’s coonskin cap, now on view in Starring North Carolina! at the North Carolina Museum of History, a Smithsonian Affiliate museum.

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate (Greenville, South Carolina)
Museum explores space through past, future artists
The space exhibit is just the first project in the Smithsonian affiliation, but its impact so far is exceeding even Halverson’s expectations. “Now the Space and Rocket Center is interested in hosting this exhibit, so the momentum that gets created when these collaborations occur, that is just so powerful,” she said.

Kudos! Winter 2014

Congrats to these Affiliates on their recent accomplishments.

FUNDING
HistoryMiami (Miami, FL) has been awarded $150,000 by the Knight Foundation as one of the 2014 South Florida Knight Arts Challenge Winners. The award will be used to tell Miami stories through images by creating a photography center at the museum focused on curating exhibitions and engaging the community in documenting life in South Florida.

The Justice Planetarium at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center (Hutchinson, KS) will undergo a $400,000 renovation in February, thanks to contributions from the Walter E. & Velma G. Justice Fund for Reno County and from Dave and Dee Dillon.

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA) has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Allegheny Regional Asset District board. The funds will be allocated for general operating expenses.

The Reynolds family and Reynolds Farm Equipment have donated $1 million to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park (Fishers, IN). The Reynolds family placed no restrictions on its use but the museum has mentioned they will use the funds towards a future project.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor (Honolulu, HI) received a $1.5 million grant from the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust. The gift combined with the recent $550,000 State of Hawaii Grants in Aid allocation and a $100,000 grant from the Freeman Foundation will be used for interior restoration of the iconic Ford Island Control Tower Operations Building.

The United States Army Heritage and Education Center (Carlisle, PA) will be the recipient of a $2 million state grant, recently awarded to the Army Heritage Center Foundation.  The funds will be used to add 37,000 sf to the visitor center.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens (Staten Island, NY) will receive $7.43 million from New York City’s capital budget, for the continued restoration of its Music Hall.

Several Affiliates have been selected as one of 919 nonprofit organizations nationwide to benefit from the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works Grant:

  • Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ) – $10,000 to support Free Summer Sundays in July, a multidisciplinary program featuring Latino and Native American musicians, dancers, and storytellers.
  • Denver Art Museum (Denver, CO)- $25,000 to support the exhibition and catalogue “Super Indian: Fritz Scholder 1967-1980.”
  • Robert W. Woodruff Arts Center, Inc. (on behalf of High Museum of Art) (Atlanta, GA)- $60,000 to support the exhibition “Alex Katz: This is Now.”
  • City of Dearborn, Michigan- $10,000 to support the architectural design and related community engagement and outreach for the development of an artist-in-residence unit in the City Hall Artspace Lofts. Facilitated by Artspace Projects Inc., the project will include all design stages for the renovation and adaptive reuse of a unit in the concourse of the existing Dearborn City Hall, as part of a larger development of cultural facilities and space for artists and arts organizations, including the Arab American National Museum.
  • City of East Lansing, Michigan- $30,000 to support the Great Lakes Folk Festival produced by the Michigan State University Museum.
  • Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens (Staten Island, NY)- $10,000 to support residencies for emerging artists and related activities. Residents will live and work alongside established faculty artists with diverse backgrounds and practices. The project will focus on performing artists.
  • International Storytelling Association (on behalf of the International Storytelling Center) (Jonesborough, TN) – $15,000 to support Storytelling Live!, a series of residencies for master storytellers. The program will showcase storytellers representing a broad range of oral traditions from all over the world. In addition to storytelling, the master artists will offer workshops and present special programs intended to serve seniors and youth.
  • Buffalo Bill Memorial Association (on behalf of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West) (Cody, WY)- $40,000 to support “Painted Journeys: The Art of John Mix Stanley (1814-1872).”

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced $17.9 million in grants for 233 humanities projects, including the following Affiliates:

  • Florida International University (Miami, FL)-$6,000 for improving the storage environment of The Wolfsonian–FIU Collection. Evaluating the existing environmental control systems inside the historic buildings would help the museum’s staff better care for this unique collection.
  • Stearns History Museum (Saint Cloud, MN) – $1,000 for NEH on the Road: For All the World to See.
  • City of Las Cruces- (Las Cruces, NM)-$1,000 for NEH on the Road: House and Home

ACHIEVEMENTS AND RECOGNITION
Museum of American Finance (New York, New York)
David Rubenstein to Receive 2015 Whitehead Award for Public Service and Financial Leadership From Museum of American Finance

LEADERSHIP AND STAFF CHANGES
Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Cody, Wyoming)
Cody Firearms Museum gets new associate curator

The Mexican Museum (San Francisco, California)
The Mexican Museum Announces New Officers for 2015

Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix, Arizona)
Musical Instrument Museum names executive director

HistoryMiami (Miami, Florida)
HistoryMiami appoints Holly Davis as vice president of advancement

Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden (Staten Island, New York)
Gabri Christa named new artistic director of Staten Island’s Snug Harbor Cultural Center

November 25, 2014

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate shoots for the stars with YCCC

Filed under: General — Elizabeth Bugbee @ 7:25 pm

Special thanks to Thom Kelley, Director of Programming at The Children’s Museum of the Upstate (Greenville, South Carolina) for this guest post. 

The Children’s Museum of The Upstate in South Carolina has just wrapped up its first  Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos (YCCC) program. The museum had the opportunity to work with two amazing schools, Penny Fisher Middle School and Sterling Middle School in introducing this engaging S.T.E.A.M. based program. Students truly took the software, and the program as a whole, to the next level by finding ways to create some very unique images. Many students took their processed images created through the Smithsonian Imaging software program and processed them even further through programs such as Microsoft Paint and Microsoft Word. This enabled the students to add text, blend multiple images and use special effects to enhance their images…The results were incredible!

Here are some of the students images created during The Children’s Museum of the Upstate’s first YCCC program:

Anthony Cinquemani’s   “Lagoon, Orion and Moon”  Sterling Middle

Anthony Cinquemani’s “Lagoon, Orion and Moon” Sterling Middle

Grace Davis “Moon”  Sterling Middle

Grace Davis “Moon” Sterling Middle

Grace Beasley  “Moon and Mars”  Sterling Middle

Grace Beasley “Moon and Mars” Sterling Middle

Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos (YCCC) turns science into art. Through hands-on exercises at Smithsonian Affiliates, students learn how to control the MicroObservatory robotic telescopes over the internet and take images of the universe. This blog series highlights moments from the workshops and student projects on display at Affiliate organizations. YCCC is funded by the Smithsonian Institution’s Youth Access Grants program awarded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education and Access. The project is led by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, in partnership with Smithsonian Affiliations.

Playing in New England

#FindingNEMA - the Boston Terrier mascot for the conference.

#FindingNEMA – the adorable Boston Terrier mascot for the conference.

The New England Museum Association conference is one of my favorite events of the year.  It always takes place in November – when the air is crisp and Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  What could be a better time to visit New England?

This year’s conference took place in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was the biggest to date with about 1100 participants.  Even with that number, the conference feels intimate, and I was so delighted to run into so many Affiliate colleagues during the week.  The theme of this year’s conference was Health and Wellness – so appropriate as museums play such a critical role in the health of their communities.

The keynote panel set the tone for the week.  The panel brought together three local museum directors and two physicians, an interesting mashup that revealed all the ways that museums heal people and communities.  They talked about museums being among the most trusted community resources, and places of respite and beauty, which is why people tend to flock to cultural institutions in times of crisis.  The doctors for example, discussed the importance of careful looking when making a diagnosis – a skill they teach in part by taking students to museums.  What a great discussion.

Looking through a 19th century telescope at SAO.

A colleague from the Abbe Museum looks through “the Great Refractor” telescope at SAO.

IMG_4661

Looking directly at the Sun.. or live images of it anyway, at SAO.

A few Affiliate colleagues and I got an opportunity to hang out at an amazing research center near the hotel, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory [SAO].  There, a Smithsonian educator showed us the Great Refractor, built in 1847 and once the largest telescope in the United States.  We all got the chance to try out the unique seat designed for looking through the telescope, an elegant 19th century solution.  From the old to the new, we then visited SAO’s state-of-the art control room for studying the Sun, and “saw” it at several different temperature iterations in close to real time.  It was beautiful and flaring in a way we’d never seen before.

Conference attendees also had the great fortune to visit the USS Constitution Museum for an evening reception.  The Museum, an Affiliate since 2011, is a trailblazer in terms of research into family learning. They have already published the Family Learning Forum website  based on research and testing on engaging exhibition techniques.  The Museum is now turning its attention to programming with the same vigor, and funds from an IMLS National Leadership Grant.  One

Which role would you play?  Learning the importance of teamwork at the USS Constitution Museum.

Which role would you play? Learning the importance of teamwork at the USS Constitution Museum.

of the activities under testing asks visitors to be part of a 4-person team required to fire cannons from the USS Constitution ship, a much more difficult process than I imagined.  With a blue tarp as the ocean and a print of an enemy ship on the other side, my team fired an “alka seltzer cannon” and learned about the teamwork required to be successful in those conditions.  The Museum staff is refining a body of knowledge about family learning and best practices that will ultimately and undoubtedly benefit the entire museum field.

On the last day of the conference, I was honored to speak in a session with colleagues from our other New England Affiliates, Mystic Seaport and Plimoth Plantation.  Titled, It CAN be all Fun and Games, we looked at Affiliate examples of incorporating games and physical activity into museum interpretation.  The best part was that the directors of interpretation and education from Mystic and Plimoth brought actual games that they play on their 17th and 19th century living history sites, like skittles, Wampanoag football, stoolball, stilts, hoop games, harpoon throwing, marbles and even stilts.  I was a little anxious that audience members might not want to “play” on the last day of the conference.. but I was wrong.  It reminded me of an important lesson – adults also want to play and have fun like kids do.  Give them an opportunity – at a conference or at a museum – and they will literally run with it.

This game from 17th century Plimoth is harder than it seems!

This game from 17th century Plimoth is harder than it seems!

I attended so many useful sessions and heard so many great ideas.  Here’s a quick roundup of the highlights:

•    Think socially responsible or responsive programming might introduce mission creep at your museum?  But what if your mission wandered into a place that made you more relevant to your community?

•    Think it’s hard to engage millennials (ages 21-40)?  Think again.  They are visiting cultural institutions in droves, and there are about 80 million of them in America right now.  Don’t know how?  It’s easy.  Ask them.  And then empower them to create the programming they want to attend at your museum themselves.  For a great example, check out the Portland Museum of Art’s Contemporaries group.

•    Do your public spaces achieve the magic power of 10?  That is, can people find 10 things to do in your plazas, courtyards, front steps, etc.? (eat, people watch, see a performance, access wifi, meet friends, etc.)  For ideas, check out the Peabody Essex Museum.

•    Attending a conference is a great opportunity for a networking game. It’s super fun when it’s easy and for example, on your cell phone.  The one we played at NEMA had us asking questions of each other like “have you ever lived abroad?” and snapping photos for extra points.  Thanks Museum Trek.

Given the breadth, depth and richness of the conversations I attended last week, it’s abundantly clear that the museum community in New England is very healthy, and helping to make their communities amazing places to live.  A big thanks to the small but mighty staff at the New England Museum Association for bringing us together and expertly facilitating such enriching dialogue.  And Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos at the Cerritos Library

Filed under: General — Elizabeth Bugbee @ 11:25 am

Special thanks for this guest post to Carrie Kuratra at Cerritos Library in Cerritos, California. 

The Cerritos Library was pleased to have been chosen to participate in the Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos (YCCC) program. The incredible resources offered by the Smithsonian Institution allowed us to give local students a unique learning opportunity that combined science, art and creative fun.

Rhea Jethvani proudly poses with her fabulous astrophotography artwork in the Cerritos Library's Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos exhibit.

Rhea Jethvani proudly poses with her fabulous astrophotography artwork in the Cerritos Library’s Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos exhibit.

We offered the program to two age groups: students ages 11 to 14 and 15 to 18. The students were thrilled to be able to request images from the telescopes. One boy said he took the class because he’s fascinated by astronomy and hopes to pursue a career in astrophysics. A teen girl said she was drawn to the YCCC class by her love of photography. She created exceptional imagery and added some poetry to her work.

In addition to students using the telescopes remotely and creating their own piece of cosmic art, the lighting specialist from the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts presented a live theatrical lighting demonstration. Students were able to use the light mixing board and create their own hues. Since our workshop included two sessions, we taught the students how to make their own simple spectroscopes and they examined different light sources. They also requested images of the sun and then used our telescope with a solar filter to view the sun. They were able to compare what they saw with through the telescope with the images taken by the micro-observatory.

Each student created several images and many were printed for an exhibit in the Cerritos Library. All participants were invited to a reception with the Cerritos City Council and had the opportunity to see their printed images on display at the library. The exhibit has been very well received and we have had several patrons ask about the program. Interestingly, many patrons have asked if a YCCC program for would be offered for adults.

Saahil Iyer admires the astrophotography artwork created by his fellow students in the Cerritos Library's Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos program. Saahil said he took the class as he's fascinated by astronomy.

Saahil Iyer admires the astrophotography artwork created by his fellow students in the Cerritos Library’s Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos program. Saahil said he took the class as he’s fascinated by astronomy.

We had 19 students sign up for the 11 to 14 age group with 10 that completed the two-day workshop. The program for students ages 15 to 18 years attracted only two participants. We reached out to surrounding high schools and to our own student volunteers in addition to publicizing the program through the City’s newsletter, cable television channel, library website, e-poster, print poster and flyer. Two of our teen participants said they felt that the time of year was difficult for students to participate in extracurricular activities. There was an SAT coming up and students were starting to work on college applications.

Overall the community’s response to YCCC has been extremely positive. The students greatly enjoyed the workshops and parents said they were glad their children had this learning experience. We are grateful to the Smithsonian Institution for supporting YCCC and look forward to presenting the program in an expanded, week-long summer camp in 2015.

Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos (YCCC) turns science into art. Through hands-on exercises at Smithsonian Affiliates, students learn how to control the MicroObservatory robotic telescopes over the internet and take images of the universe. This blog series highlights moments from the workshops and student projects on display at Affiliate organizations. YCCC is funded by the Smithsonian Institution’s Youth Access Grants program awarded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education and Access. The project is led by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, in partnership with Smithsonian Affiliations.

A reception for the Cerritos Library's Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos astrophotography exhibit was enjoyed by participating students and City of Cerritos officials. Pictured from the left are Mayor Mark E. Pulido, Olivia Zhang, Millie Zhang, Aman Siddiqui, Azan Siddiqui, Rhea Jethvani, Councilmember Bruce W. Barrows, Saahil Iyer, Planning Commissioner Naresh Solanki and Mayor Pro Tem Carol K. Chen.

A reception for the Cerritos Library’s Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos astrophotography exhibit was enjoyed by participating students and City of Cerritos officials. Pictured from the left are Mayor Mark E. Pulido, Olivia Zhang, Millie Zhang, Aman Siddiqui, Azan Siddiqui, Rhea Jethvani, Councilmember Bruce W. Barrows, Saahil Iyer, Planning Commissioner Naresh Solanki and Mayor Pro Tem Carol K. Chen.

November 24, 2014

Astrophotography at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science

Filed under: General — Elizabeth Bugbee @ 4:25 pm

Special thanks to Jim Greenhouse, Space Science Director at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science (Albuquerque), for this guest post.

The Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos (YCCC) program turns science into art. Through hands-on exercises at Smithsonian Affiliates, students learn how to control the MicroObservatory robotic telescopes over the internet and take images of the universe. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science kicks off our blog series highlighting moments from the workshops and student projects on display at Affiliate organizations.

The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science in Albuquerque used the MicroObservatory program during a summer camp class called Planetarium Producers, offered June 9-13, 2014.  The camp was designed for children entering grades 7-9.  If the parents of a child who wanted to participate were unable to pay tuition, a scholarship program was available.  Each participant had one week to acquire images, process them, and use them in a planetarium program presented at the end of the camp.

NMscihist_1Each child selected a constellation to focus on, and the only restriction was that it had to be one in which a MiroObservatory object was currently visible.  On the first day of class, the children watched the instructional videos on the MicoObservatory website.  A portion of each video was shown, then the kids were given time to perfect that skill before moving on.  Each child processed the images in any way they wished to highlight whatever scientific fact they included in their programs.  Besides describing the celestial objects they imaged, the camp class members showed how to find their constellations, talked about their mythology, and highlighted any other interesting facts in their region of the sky.  The children’s family members and friends, along with some of the museum staff, attended the planetarium program.  Similar programs will probably be offered for summer and holiday camps in the future.

The museum is also in the process of putting together a web page featuring the images produced by the camp participants and a link so that site visitors can order their own MicoObservatory images.  The page will launch by the end of November.

NMscihist_2In 2012, I was working at the Museum of York County in Rock Hill, SC.  At that location, Education Coordinator James Wells partnered with a local middle school.  We visited their computer lab several times and the result was an exhibit displayed in the museum.  The students wrote poems that also incorporated a scientific fact about the objects in each image.  The projects were printed on Sintra board by a local printing company.  In addition to inviting all of their family to a reception at the opening of their exhibition, the kids had a field trip to the museum that included a planetarium show and Skype chat with the astronomers at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

YCCC is funded by the Smithsonian Institution’s Youth Access Grants program awarded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education and Access. The project is led by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, in partnership with Smithsonian Affiliations.

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