October 8, 2015

Kids go bonkers for Superman suit

The signature blue, red and yellow suit worn by mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent wore as Superman is at the Ohio History Center, the headquarters of Ohio History Connection, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Columbus, Ohio, thanks to a loan from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The suit, worn by actor George Reeves in the 1950s televeision show, is part of 1950s: Building the American Dream, a new exhibit at the History Center.

Read the O Say Can You See? blog about this loan.

The Columbus Dispatch posted this video the day the suit was unveiled. They were on hand to see some local school children go bonkers over the suit. Check it out below.

And read the entire Columbus Dispatch story here.

Follow @SIAffiliates, @amhistorymuseum, and @OhioHistory on Twitter to follow the #superman weekend (October 10, 2015 the exhibition opens to the public).

September 28, 2015

Smithsonian that Way

appiconLet’s be honest; not everyone has the opportunity to visit the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. And not everyone may know that there is a Smithsonian Affiliate in their local community. But what if I told you one app is trying to do just that—help people discover Smithsonian Affiliates in their own neighborhoods?!

blog_app_imageThe Smithsonian Mobile app is not only a digital guide to the Smithsonian in D.C., but it also helps visitors discover the nearest Smithsonian Affiliate in our network of more than 200 partners. “Smithsonian that Way” augmented reality (AR) uses your smart phone’s camera to show the broad reach of the Smithsonian. One filter shows Smithsonian museums. Another filter shows Smithsonian libraries and archives. A third layer shows a tiny sample of the vast amount of Smithsonian research taking place on the National Mall and beyond. And a final filter shows Smithsonian Affiliates, our partners bringing the Smithsonian to communities around the nation.

Each Affiliate location in the app gives an overview of the organization and links to the Smithsonian Affiliations website, where you can learn more about our Affiliate network or navigate to the Affiliate you are interested in visiting.

Is the Smithsonian in your neighborhood?



September 15, 2015

Here’s what’s happening in your neighborhood in time for Smithsonian Museum Day

In the spirit of the Smithsonian Museums, which offer free admission every day, Museum Day Live! is an annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine in which participating museums across the country open their doors to anyone presenting a Museum Day Live! ticket… for free.

We’ve compiled a list of exhibitions by region so you can see what is happening at Smithsonian Affiliates during Museum Day. Download your ticket today!

Click here to view the complete list of Smithsonian Affiliates participating this year.


Tampa Bay History Center (Tampa, Florida)

Florida’s Got the Blues
Augustine at 450: A Look at the Oldest European Settlement in the U.S.

Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History (Kennesaw, Georgia)

Seeking Justice: The Leo Frank Case Revisited

US Space and Rocket Center (Huntsville, Alabama)

Science Fiction, Science Future

Upcountry History Museum – Furman University (Greenville, South Carolina)

The Forgotten War: Korea 1950-1953

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Orange County Regional History Center (Orlando, Florida)

Long Way to the Top: Hard Rock in Orlando, 1972-1985

100 Historic Orlando Icons

The Museum of Arts and Sciences (Daytona Beach, Florida)

Septembers with the Smithsonian

Faces from the Past: Portraits from the MOAS Collection

John James Audubon: Prints from the MOAS Collection

Contemporary Paintings from the MOAS Collection



“Awkward Family Photos” at Peoria Riverfront Museum.

Peoria Riverfront Museum (Peoria, Illinois)

Awkward Family Photos: The Exhibition

Science Rocks! 2015

Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, Michigan)

Ten: The Exhibition




Museum of American Finance (New York, New York)

Legal Tender

America in Circulation

Long Island Museum (Stony Brook, New York)

Gilding the Coasts:  Art and Design of Long Island’s Great Estate Era

Beth Levine:  First Lady of Shoes

Young Island:  William Sidney Mount’s Scenes of Childhood

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture (Baltimore, MD)

Businessman First: Remembering Henry G. Parks, Jr.

Antique Automobile Club of America Museum (Hershey, Pennsylvania)


“A Family Affair: Station Wagons” at AACA.

A Family Affair:  Station Wagons

Motorbikes for the Masses

Back to the Future 30th Anniversary Tribute Car

1932 REO Royale

Cammack Tucker Collection (The World’s Largest Collection of Tucker Automobiles)

Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts at Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)



UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures (San Antonio, Texas)

Sikhs: Legacy of the Punjab

Our Part of Victory: Texas in World War II

Denver Art Museum (Denver, Colorado)

Fritz Scholder (1937-2005); "Indian and Contemporary Chair;" oil on linen; 1970; Smithsonian American Art Msueum, Gift of Judge and mrs. Oliver Seth. On view at the Denver Art museum.

Fritz Scholder (1937-2005); “Indian and Contemporary Chair;” oil on linen; 1970; Smithsonian American Art Msueum, Gift of Judge and mrs. Oliver Seth. On view at the Denver Art museum.

Super Indian: Fritz Scholder, 1967-1980

The Durham Museum (Omaha, Nebraska)

Omaha – Shizuoka: 50 Years of Friendship, 1965-2015

This May Hurt a Bit: Medicine in Old Omaha

Station to Station: KETV and the Burlington

Union Station: Built to Last

Montana Historical Society (Helena, Montana)

Our Forgotten Pioneers: The Chinese in Montana

Eloquence in Wood: The Art of John L. Clarke

New England

Pleiades Star Cluster Simone, 7th Grade, Indian Township School. Part of Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos at the Abbe Museum.

Pleiades Star Cluster
Simone, 7th Grade, Indian Township School. Part of Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos at the Abbe Museum.

Norwich University’s Sullivan Museum & History Center (Northfield, Vermont)

Women of Norwich: Trailblazers and Torchbearers

Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, Maine)

Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos exhibition 

Coming Home

2015 Waponahki Student Art Show

Four Directions of Wabanaki Basketry

Layers of Time: Archaeology at the Abbe Museum


Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture (Seattle, Washington)

Titanoboa: Monster Snake 

The Anchorage Museum (Anchorage, Alaska)

Polar Night: Life and Light in the Dead of Night

"Home Field Advantage" at the Anchorage Museum.

“Home Field Advantage” at the Anchorage Museum.

City Limits

Florian Schulz: To the Arctic

Home Field Advantage: Baseball in the Far North

Vox Van


July 27, 2015

July-August Kudos to Affiliates!

Congrats to these Affiliates on their recent accomplishments:


Allied Arts announced more than $2.55 million will be distributed to various nonprofit arts organizations during fiscal year 2016. Among the top grantees are Science Museum Oklahoma (Oklahoma City) ($429,220).

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has pledged a three-year, $1 million grant to Union Station, Kansas City, Inc. (Kansas City, MO) to help expand the production of Maker Faire Kansas City.

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced 69 Our Town awards totaling nearly $5 million through the Our Town program, including $150,000 to the Anchorage Museum (Anchorage, AK) to support Polar Lab, a creative placemaking and artist engagement project.

The U.S. Department of Interior’s National Park Service has announced a $330,000 cooperative agreement to Lowell, Massachusetts, for continued work on a multi-modal transportation improvement project for the Lowell National Historical Park.

The federal grants from the Department of Natural Resources including $37,460 to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park (Fishers, IN) to repair and restore the 1823 Conner House at the Conner Prairie Museum.

A stingray touch tank and new historical exhibits are part of a planned $2.3 million expansion project at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium (Dubuque, IA). The new attractions are part of the museum’s “River of Innovation” project, a multi-faceted effort that will strive to connect science and technology with the history and culture of the Mississippi River. The museum was awarded a $468,000 Community Attraction and Tourism Grant through the Vision Iowa program in addition to a $250,000 contribution from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust to support the project.

The Hubbard Museum of the American West (Ruidoso Downs, NM) has received $7,500 grant from The Hubbard Foundation to support equipment for its interactive exhibits.

Dr. Pepper Snapple and national nonprofit KaBOOM! have awarded the Berkshire Museum (Pittsfield, MA) a $13,200 Let’s Play Improvement Grant to use toward the purchase of an Imagination Playground in a Cart, an innovative playground equipment system.

Achievements and Recognition

PACTV is a bronze winner in the 35th annual Telly Awards for its documentary short titled “Paddling Through History.” “Paddling Through History” is a documentary short about the importance of the traditional dugout boat, or mishoon, to the history of the Wampanoag People. This documentary was produced on behalf of the Wampanoag Indigenous Program (WIP) at Plimoth Plantation (Plimoth, MA).

Marietta Mullen, Director of Colonial Interpretive Training at Plimoth Plantation was selected to receive the Leadership in History Award of Merit, from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) for her exemplary achievement in reviving and preserving the story of Mayflower II.

Leadership and Staff Changes

The Irving Arts Center’s (Irving, TX) executive director Richard Huff has been chosen to receive one of the annual leadership awards of Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit that works to advance the arts and arts education across the country. Richard will receive the Selina Roberts Ottum Award, for outstanding contributions in the local arts agency field. Todd Eric Hawkins has been named the Center’s new executive director for Richard, who retires on July 31.

Amy Hollander has been named new executive director for The National Museum of Industrial History (Bethlehem, PA).

Space Center Houston (Houston, TX) has welcomed Tracy L. Lamm to the newly created position of chief operating officer in the midst of great growth for the nonprofit museum and education foundation.

July 24, 2015

what’s going on in Affiliateland? july-august 2015

Black Wings: American Dreams of Flight exhibition from the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service opened at the Air Zoo in Portage, 7.4.

Dr. Jeremy Kinney of the National Air and Space Museum talks about the role of aeronautic innovation in western Pennsylvania during WWII.

Dr. Jeremy Kinney of the National Air and Space Museum talks about the role of aeronautic innovation in western Pennsylvania during WWII.

Brittany Vernon, Coca Cola/IMLS Museum Studies Apprentice at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati spent a three-week externship at the Anacostia Community Museum, helping the education department plan for a teen docent program in Washington, 7.6-7.24.

The Ohio History Connection will host a webinar on Early Childhood Programming in the Museum featuring Betsy Bowers of the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, in Columbus, 8.5.

South Dakota State Historical Society broadcasts Smithsonian webcasts on Space Junk: Fast Trash and Hot Air Balloons and Air Pressure in Pierre, 7.21.

Dr. Jeremy Kinney, curator at the National Air and Space Museum, will give a public lecture on Innovating for Victory: How Pittsburgh Helped Win WWII lecture at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, 7.25.

Measuring 48 feet long and weighing in at 2,500 pounds, the massive predator Titanoboa cerrejonensis is coming to Seattle.   ©2012 SNI/SI Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Measuring 48 feet long and weighing in at 2,500 pounds, the massive predator Titanoboa cerrejonensis is coming to Seattle.
©2012 SNI/SI Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Center will also host the annual Pittsburgh’s Hidden Treasures: An Antiques Appraisal Show event, featuring Manda Kowalczyk, Preservation Specialist at the National Postal Museum, in Pittsburgh, 8.30.

The Long Island Museum opens Beth Levine: The First Lady of Shoes exhibition, featuring Levine’s portrait on loan from the National Portrait Gallery, in Stony Brook, 8.21.

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate will present Innoskate 2015 in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation in Greenville, 8.8.

The Chabot Space and Science Center hosts ¡Descubra! Meet the Science Expert Family Day in collaboration with the Smithsonian Latino Center, in Oakland, 8.22.

The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture will open Titanoboa: Monster Snake from the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service in Seattle, 8.22.

Mary Savig, curator at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, will serve as a juror for the exhibition Finding our Place: The Geography of Art at the Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center in Solomons, 8.24.

Skaters of all ages can learn innovative techniques at Innoskate in South Carolina.

Skaters of all ages can learn innovative techniques at Innoskate in South Carolina.

May 26, 2015

Our app is back !

Preview of the appThe 2015 Affiliations National Conference mobile app will have conference activities at your fingertips. Access all the information you need during the conference on your smartphones and devices.

The app will include an online agenda and a notes 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 easy 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 in your app store in early June.

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




Support for the mobile app generously provided by http://www.crowdtorch.com/about-us.shtml






May 4, 2015

Katharine Hepburn at The Durham Museum

Special thanks for this guest post to Amy Henderson, National Portrait Gallery’s historian emerita. Amy is a cultural historian specializing in “the lively arts”—particularly media-generated celebrity culture. Her books and exhibitions run the gamut from the pioneers in early broadcasting to Elvis Presley, Katharine Hepburn and Katharine Graham.

In the late 1980s, I met writer-director Garson Kanin at a Washington dinner party, and he set the stage for one of my happiest adventures as a cultural historian at the National Portrait Gallery. When I discovered that Garson, who wrote and directed all of the Katharine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy movies, lived next door to Herself in New York, I whined until he promised to give me her address. My excuse? The Portrait Gallery needed a fine portrait of the iconic actress!

Garson’s introduction worked, and I got to know Miss Hepburn in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. I would have coffee and cookies with her when I traveled to New York, and we always went on an exploration of all the portraits she kept in her townhouse; there were a lot, since she had known artists her entire life.

She mentioned “all the costumes” on the upper floor, but I never got a glimpse. Now, thanks to the Durham Museum in Omaha, the costumes are on full view. “Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen” is drawn from the Kent State Museum’s Hepburn Costume Collection, and features more than 35 costumes worn in 21 films and 6 stage productions—and some of her private life clothes.


Mick Hale, Director of Education at the Durham, heard that I had curated a 2007 Portrait Gallery exhibition celebrating Hepburn’s centennial, and invited me to speak about her life in conjunction with the Durham’s costume show. I eagerly accepted, and spoke at this Smithsonian Affiliate in April. Talking about her life, I focused mainly on Hepburn’s remarkable ability to fashion her own image, even in the heyday of the Hollywood studio system when studios configured their stars to reflect their own particular movie “brand.”  E.g., Warner Bros. had a “Murderers’ Row” of gangsters, while MGM boasted “all the stars in the heavens.”

The Durham has been a Smithsonian Affiliate since 2002, and Mick Hale estimates that they have hosted 25 or so traveling exhibitions such as the Hepburn costumes. Other recent speakers have included Mike Neufeld from the National Air and Space Museum, who spoke about the Apollo 8 mission during the Durham’s “1968” exhibition; and Smithsonian Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, Richard Kurin, who shared his stories about 101 Smithsonian artifacts last Fall when the Durham hosted the Franklin Institute’s traveling exhibit “Identity: An Exhibition of You.”


My visit was enormous fun. First, the museum itself is lodged in what had been a stunning Art Deco train station that opened in 1931; lofty ceilings and a sense of bustle create an instantly uplifting “wow” museum experience. Second, for me it was great to see the costumes Hepburn wore during her long stage and screen career. Her waist was TINY—20”—and it was fascinating to see costumes from such landmark performances as the Broadway version of the Philadelphia Story. I also lingered over the section that spotlighted her impeccably tailored tan slacks, of which she had dozens.

My visit came at the end of Mick Hale’s tenure as education director at the Durham. After ten years, he is heading toward new challenges, directing a leadership initiative in Lincoln. But his dynamic partnership with the Smithsonian will remain firmly rooted at the Durham. “The museum and I are very proud of what we have done with the Smithsonian,” he told me, “and I know the quality work and collaboration will continue for a long time.”

image003All photos courtesy of the Durham Museum.

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