Special thanks to Paula Lee, Smithsonian Affiliations intern, for this guest post. This is the fourth of a five-part blog series she is writing as part of the Young Historians, Living Histories (YHLH) collaboration with the Asian Pacific American Center and our Affiliate network.
Local Cleveland newspaper ad- how students were recruited!
In Cleveland, students began an early session of preliminary interviews because practice after-all makes perfect. Dr. John Grabowski, Senior Vice President of Research and Publications of Western Reserve Historical Center (Cleveland, OH), sought out partnership with local Asian Indian American community, the Asian Indian Heritage Project (AIHP). WRHS and AIHP, having had a previous history of partnerships, rekindled their alliance and worked to produce an advertisement that was placed in two local newspapers, India International and The Lotus for recruits based off short essays. Six highly dedicated and intelligent youth from the Asian Indian community were selected to represent the Northeast Ohio population.
Interviews held inside the Western Reserve Historical Society Library utilizing the tall windows as natural lighting for filming
Students were paired and interviewed successful doctors, community leaders (founder of AIHP Mr. Paramijit Singh) and social workers gathering a riveting collection of stories in the duration of their hour-long interviews. The museum provided its Research Library to create a professional theme for the filming to take place, while interviewees dressed in traditional Indian clothing as a reminder of their culture in the midst of relocation and adaptation in America. When they weren’t asking for help editing footage through Dr. Grabowski or Jane Mason, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, students would take the camcorders and complete the editing as home projects. Each student dove into the project with such passion and enthusiasm, they even gathered at the museum on their own over Thanksgiving break to continue without pause!
In a follow up call with Marketing Assistant Alyssa Purvis, I was informed that that the AIHP held a banquet selling raffle tickets to raise funds for the next set of students eager to continue with the project having already received inquiries.
“The students are a huge driving force behind the continuation of this project; they keep meeting others within their community and wanting to preserve their stories.” Their efforts “have had a ripple effect, on their families and entire Indian community as a whole in Northeast Ohio.
Through all those involved in Young Historians, Living Histories, I amongst many others have had a chance to discover how proactive these youth are when it comes to using these community resources. It is amazing to see how well the youth are responding to this form of research and discovery.
As the Asian Indian Heritage Project mantra goes, we hope our accomplishments “Illuminate the Past, Light the Future”!
Dr. John Grabrowski Senior President of Marketing and Research and Jane Mason Vice President, with the 6 participating YHLH students
Special thanks to Paula Lee, Smithsonian Affiliations intern, for this guest post. This is the third of a five-part blog series she is writing as part of the Young Historians, Living Histories (YHLH) collaboration with the Asian Pacific American Center and our Affiliate network.
As we travel west to hear from our Affiliates at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor (Honolulu, HI) we take flight almost literally, with those who once navigated overseas when aerial travel was a rare and exciting introduction to history. Shauna Tonkin, Director of Education at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, connects us with Curtis Joe, immediate nephew of Chinese-American aviator and stunt pilot, Tom Gunn and Pan Am Japanese-American flight attendants, Mae Takahashi and Aileen Sodetani.
Tonkin partnered with Chris Facuri, Digital Media Teacher at Aliamanu Middle School, enabling the oral histories collected and edited throughout the school year to be incorporated into students’ curriculum. Participating students in the class took a field trip to visit the museum to meet Joe, Sodetani and Takahashi, where the entire group received a historical tour before sitting down for interviews. The two flight attendants live locally in Honolulu while Joe flew out from San Francisco to be a part of this project. All were very appreciative and realized the value of sharing the experiences that they’ve endured with younger generations. In response, the interactions with the pioneers made the experiences and stories come alive for the students studying them, activating their interests and courage to solicit knowledgeable questions.
Ford Island, where the museum is located is in the middle of Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, HI. On December 7, 1941, Japanese aircraft led a surprise attack initiating World War II. This led to a hard time for both Americans and Asian Americans, because the following year over 150,000 Japanese were ordered into internment camps although 62% of them were American citizens.
“The program served to be education, dynamic and responsive due to the nature of its interactive learning environment” observed by cooperating teacher Chris Facuri. Sparking the curiosity and interests of the youth was an important experience for Tonkin as she empathized with the difficulties of 1st generation children and their journey towards finding homage and respect for their culture while adapting to American influence. Tonkin emphasizes that this collaboration has “instilled a greater appreciation for diversity and culture of the Asian American Pacific experience. The oral histories collected barely scratched the surface.” She said, revealing her excitement towards starting new projects.
Students capture footage of Curtis’ interaction with youth of YHLH during a field trip tour to Pacific Aviation Museum
Students take a tour of the museum to learn about Pacific Aviation history
Curtis Joe, nephew of Tom Gunn, Chinese Aviator of the Pacific Ocean sharing the stories of his childhood
Students take a tour of the museum to learn about Pacific Aviation history
The era of the space shuttle may have drawn to a close, but shuttles are finding new life in education at museums across the country. The retirement of the shuttle fleet presents unique educational and collaborative opportunities for a greater community of organizations to explore space history through STEM programs.
The Smithsonian and Smithsonian Affiliations community represent, in collections and educational programs, the entirety of the U.S. Space Shuttle Program, from its inception, through the history of its flights, to the commemoration of its triumphs and tragedies. The National Air and Space Museum is home to Discovery, Smithsonian Affiliates California Science Center hosts Endeavour, and The Museum of Flight displays a full scale test shuttle to its visitors. Several more Affiliates have significant collections related to the shuttle program; five are home to Challenger Learning Centers.
As so many Affiliates are working to interpret space history and the shuttle program, we’re facilitating projects to bring this group together to encourage sharing information and materials. To begin, we’re hosting a session at the Mutual Concerns of Air and Space Museums conference, April 11-14, 2014. In this session, three museums will present case studies demonstrating unique exhibition and educational plans for the retired space shuttle fleet with the goal of sharing experiences and resources that would benefit other museums interested in using the space shuttle program in their educational offerings.
California Science Center will discuss plans for the new facility that will house Endeavour and the immersive experiences intended to encourage creativity and innovation. The Museum of Flight will share the hands-on experience (not possible with decommissioned orbiters) that visitors have when they climb into the three-story full-body trainer at the museum. The National Air and Space Museum will talk about the installation and exhibition of Discovery at the Udvar-Hazy Center. We hope a lively discussion at Mutual Concerns will lead us to future collaborations. We’d like to hear our Affiliates ideas on how to connect: should we support a trip to Washington or connect digitally? Is this a topic that would resonate with museum visitors or spark imaginative school programming? Please contact us to take part, or join us June 23-25, 2014 at the Smithsonian Affiliations conference to continue the discussion.
Greensboro Historical Museum (Greensboro, North Carolina) Montagnard teens tell stories in Smithsonian-funded documentary The film was made through a grant to the Greensboro Historical Museum from the Smithsonian Affiliates and the Asian Pacific American Center. The staff at the historical museum reached out through church sponsors to find Montagnard teenagers, convened about a dozen of them to discuss what kind of story they wanted to tell about themselves, put video cameras in their hands and then set them loose to interview each other.
Schiele Museum of Natural History (Gastonia, North Carolina) Smithsonian traveling exhibit on ants opens at Gastonia’s Schiele Museum It’s an intricate, highly regimented insect society that conducts business out of sight from most humans. A new traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution that opened Saturday at Gastonia’s Schiele Museum of Natural History explores this diverse world.
Fun social media opportunity coinciding with Titanoboa exhibit. Photo courtesy University of Nebraska State Museum.
University of Nebraska State Museum (Lincoln, Nebraska) Replica of giant snake slithers into Lincoln for exhibit expected to scare, inspire visitors The collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Florida Museum of Natural History and University of Nebraska State Museum is expected to be a hit. “It will be very popular with families and with the students — everyone likes a good scare,” said Cheryl Washer, registrar and project director for the Smithsonian traveling exhibit service.
The University of Nebraska State Museum has been named an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. “The State Museum’s new designation as a Smithsonian Affiliate builds on our long-standing research collaborations with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History,” said Priscilla Grew, director of the museum. “Three of our curators are Smithsonian research associates, and the Smithsonian’s national scarab beetle research collection has been on long-term loan to the State Museum for many years.”
Titanoboa, world’s largest snake, replica comes to Morrill Hall Titanoboa is coming to Lincoln. The 48-foot-long replica of the world’s largest snake will be featured at the University of Nebraska State Museum in Morrill Hall starting Saturday. The exhibit is part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and will be open through Sept. 7.
World’s largest snake replica slithers to Lincoln UNL paleontologist Jason Head helped bring the Smithsonian exhibit to Nebraska. He is the world-renown snake expert who, on a video conference five years ago, helped researchers identify the beast from a fossil. The titanoboa was uncovered in a Colombian coal mine.
Smithsonian exhibit makes its way to Lincoln Cheryl Washer of the Smithsonian Institute has been traveling with exhibits for more than twenty years. She’s the one responsible for getting Titanoboa to look her best before the exhibit opens up to the public. “When I get to go to the museum to see the reaction of the staff, if I get to see the visitors,” Washer said. “This is an exhibit that’s not only educational but a lot of fun. And that’s a joy.”
Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.) JANM Joins Smithsonian National Youth Summit on Freedom Summer Approximately 200 students will be at JANM to participate in the National Youth Summit by joining in the conversation and hearing from Tamio Wakayama, a Nisei Japanese Canadian who joined the American Civil Rights Movement as a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art (Elmhurst, Illinois) Lizzadro Museum exhibits ‘showy’ Smithsonian jewelry They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but Dorothy Asher took explicit care to look for other gem stones when cultivating the Lizzadro Museum’s current “Modern Designer Jewelry from the Smithsonian” exhibit.
This is a replica of the Apollo 11 space suit. While the space suits were life-giving, remarkable engineering feat in space, they are too fragile for the earth’s atmosphere. The originals from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum do not travel.
Tampa Bay History Center (Tampa Bay, Florida) Exhibit explores space through astronaut clothing The latest exhibition at Tampa Bay History Center explores space through astronaut clothing. The History Center’s “Suited for Space” opened in February 1st and will be on display through April 27.
What to Wear? The History and Future of Spacesuits The issue of “what to wear?” takes on an extra dimension of life and death when it comes to space travel…We recently had a chance to see the past, present and future of space suit technology in the Smithsonian Institutions’ touring Suited for Space exhibit currently on display at the Tampa Bay History Center in Tampa, Florida.
Special thanks to Paula Lee, Smithsonian Affiliations intern, for this guest post. This is the second of a five-part blog series she is writing as part of the Young Historians, Living Histories (YHLH) collaboration with the Asian Pacific American Center and our Affiliate network.
Students of the Montagnard community proudly representing the Smithsonian Museum and Greensboro Historical Center
Greensboro, North Carolina is home to the largest Montagnard community living not only in the United States, but outside of Vietnam which makes Greensboro, a pretty big deal. Today I’ll share what the Young Historians, Living Histories project has enabled the Smithsonian and its collaborators to discover in the recent weeks! Dean Macleod, Curator of Education at the Greensboro Historical Museum(Greensboro, North Carolina), guided me through some fascinating facts about the Montagnard community that he learned through interacting with the community’s youth.
French for “mountain people,” the Montagnard (pronounced mon-tuhn-yahrd), are the indigenous people of the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Due to political, religious, and land disputes initiated by the Communist majority of North and South Vietnam, the natives were evacuated from the highlands at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 through American efforts. The refugees began their resettlement to Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte, NC starting as early as 1986 in multiple but slow waves of immigration. There are as much as 9,000 Montagnard refugees in North Carolina with a majority in Greensboro, some of which have identified as Americans.
The diverse Montagnard youth unite to complete each role required for the interviewing processes.
With this in mind, Macleod approached the community with caution and respect and discovered that “the youth of the Montagnard community were thrilled that the Museum was engaging with them, and interested in digitizing their stories.” Although the 15 Montagnard students are of one community, they are unique to each other. Each student represented separate tribes as well as being refugees from different waves of immigration; some were born in Cambodia, others raised in Vietnam, and a few even born in America. Macleod remarks that the students’ involvement in the program was a way for them to feel like they were giving back for the sacrifices made by their ancestors.
The Montagnard stories in Greensboro even inspired other participating Affiliates to learn more. “I didn’t know anything about the Montagnard until hearing about this project. Thanks to the Greensboro Historical Museum, I’ve done a bit of research as a result,” said Shauna Tonkin, Director of Education at the Pacific Aviation Museum (Honolulu, Hawaii).
Because of this research, Greensboro Historical Center included the stories and artifacts in their Voices of a City: Greensboro North Carolina exhibition. This exhibit displays 300 years of local history that enlighten its viewers on the extraordinary stories that the city has to say about the community that shaped it.
Voices of a City Exhibition. Photo courtesy Greensboro Historical Center
Don’t forget to check back, next week’s entry will highlight students in action as we step into the spotlight and begin filming and interviewing!
Mic check ! Let’s get these stories heard.
Students are using Mac OS Editing Software to edit their videos.
Students experience Textile Revolution: An Exploration through Space and Time, the permanent exhibition at the American Textile History Museum.
For the eighth consecutive year, Citizens Bank charitable foundation donated $25,000 to the African-American Museum in Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA) in honor of Martin Luther King Day. The funding was used to underwrite the museum’s costs to offer free admission and cultural activities to more than 3,000 expected visitors.
The American Textile History Museum (Lowell, MA) has received a major gift of $1 million from the late G. Gordon Osborne and his wife, Marjorie, which will go towards the museum’s endowment fund.
The Western Reserve Historical Society recently received a $407,000 grant from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation to work with its local school district to implement an entrepreneurial curriculum for 4th-6th graders. The 3-year program will be implemented this spring.
Awards and Recognition
The Oklahoma Historical Society (Oklahoma City, OK) announced the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. has selected The Daughter of Dawn as one of 25 films inducted to its 2013 National Film Registry, a collection of cinematic treasures that represent important cultural, artistic and historic achievements in filmmaking. The 80-minute, six-reel silent movie was shot during the summer of 1920 in Oklahoma’s Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge outside of Lawton.
Charlene Donchez-Mowers and the Historic Bethlehem Partnership (Bethlehem, PA) have been named the recipients of the seventh Tribute to Historic Preservation Award sponsored by the Sun Inn Preservation Association.
The board of governors of the Strategic Air and Space Museum (Ashland, NE) announced that Michael McGinnis has been appointed as the museum’s new Executive Director.
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.
Ellen Noël Art Museum (Odessa, Texas) Ellen Noël to display famous sculpture The Ellen Noël Art Museum will host the piece “Seaform” by famed British sculptor Dame Barbara Hepworth beginning in March, in what will amount to the most valued work ever displayed by the Odessa gallery…The piece belongs to the Smithsonian Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, which approved a loan request to the Ellen Noël Art Museum, which is an affiliate.”
Museum of the Rockies (Bozeman, Montana) Museum of the Rockies T. rex to arrive at Smithsonian in April The T. rex unearthed in Montana in 1988 will arrive at the National Museum of Natural History on April 15 on a 50-year loan by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Smithsonian is planning a new, 31,000-square-foot dinosaur hall that is scheduled to open in 2019.
Jack Horner, Curator of Paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies, provides scale for Tyrannosaurus rex fossils at the excavation site near the Fort Peck Reservoir in Montana in June 1990. Named for its discoverer, Kathy Wankel, the Wankel T.rex is estimated to have weighed six to seven tons. Photo courtesy Museum of the Rockies.
American Textile History Museum (Lowell, Massachussets) American Textile Museum Receives Major Gift The American Textile History Museum in Lowell, MA has received a major gift of $1 million from the late G. Gordon Osborne and his wife, Marjorie, who passed away last year.