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September 29, 2014

let’s source the crowds

While it may seem like a contemporary term, many museums, including the Smithsonian, have been using crowdsourcing as a strategy for years.  At the Smithsonian, we’ve been at it since 1849, when the first Secretary, Joseph Henry, used 150 weather observers all over the U.S. to contribute data, an activity that led to the formation of the National Weather Service.

The Smithsonian still sources the power of our audiences today on topics ranging from tree leaves and gardens to immigration and stories from rural America.  We’d love to hear from you!  Please contribute your voice, or let your visitors know, about the projects below.  Do you have a crowdsourcing initiative you’d like to share?  Let us know in the comments.

SI Transcription Center– Crowdsourcing transcriptions of primary source documents https://transcription.si.edu/

Leafsnap – Crowdsourcing tree images for mobile app http://leafsnap.com/

worksgarden

crowdsourced image of kohlrabi growing in the garden of The Works, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Newark, Ohio.

Encyclopedia of Life – Crowdsourcing species-related media http://eol.org/info/contribute

Our American Journey (National Museum of American History) – Crowdsourcing oral histories of American experience of migration and immigration  http://my.si.edu/oaj/story

Community of Gardens (Smithsonian Gardens)- Learn from the ways that gardens and gardeners of all backgrounds have shaped America’s landscape.  https://communityofgardens.si.edu/

Agriculture Innovation and Heritage Archive (National Museum of American History) – Think about how transformations in American agriculture have affected you, your family, your community, and the environment.    http://americanhistory.si.edu/agheritage/how-to-participate

Stories from Main Street  (Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service)– Crowdsourcing stories about rural America  – http://www.storiesfrommainstreet.org/

Ask Smithsonian (Smithsonian Magazine) – Try to stump us with a question about anything.  Really, anything.  http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/ask-smithsonian/ask-form/?no-ist

Will to Adorn (Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage) – Listen to and contribute your stories about the choices you make everyday when you dress for school, work, fun, or special occasions. http://www.festival.si.edu/2013/Will_to_Adorn/GetTheApp/

eMammal (National Museum of Natural History) – Work with researchers to document mammals using camera traps. http://emammal.wordpress.com/about/

Finally, here’s a look at some spectacular online exhibitions created by crowdsourcing:

from the crowdsourced exhibition, A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America

from the crowdsourced exhibition, A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America

A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America (Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center) – The first crowdsourced gallery of the Asian Pacific American experience around the world as lived on one day.  http://smithsonianapa.org/life2014/

My Space Shuttle Memories (National Air and Space Museum) Did you ever see a space shuttle launch or land in person?   http://airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/moving-beyond-earth/memories.cfm

Portraits of Planet Ocean (National Museum of Natural History) – Stunning photo gallery of the world’s magnificent oceans by oceanographers and enthusiasts.   https://www.flickr.com/groups/portraitsofplanetocean/

 

 

August 26, 2014

Smithsonian Science How Online Resources

pobiner-webcast-smithsonian

Smithsonian physical anthropologist Dr. Briana Pobiner with the skull of a sabertooth during a Smithsonian Science How webcast. Live webcasts are offered every month during the school year on Thursdays at 11 and 2 PM eastern time. Smithsonian photo by Wei Qian.

Smithsonian Science How is back!  Following a successful partnership with six Smithsonian Affiliates earlier this year, the popular webcast has returned with new dates and new topics.  These free, interactive, TV-style webcast programs will introduce middle school students to core science concepts through the lens of Smithsonian research and experts, providing students with positive STEM role models and a connection to science in their lives.  Explore the topics in the schedule by presenting a webcast at your location, using the classroom activities, and connecting the discussion to your own collections.

A schedule of the programs and list of the topics that will be presented is available here.

If you are a staff member at a Smithsonian Affiliate who would like to offer the program, please email us at affiliations@si.edu to sign up and receive resources, including strategies to share this program on social media.  Affiliate partners will be asked for information about their audiences, numbers of attendees and which webcasts will be offered.

April 1, 2014

Batter Up! It’s Opening Day in Affiliateland

“Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don’t care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game!”

Opening Day is a state of mind. Countless baseball fans recognize this unofficial holiday as a good reason to call in sick at work or be truant from school and go out to the ballpark for the first of the regular season games. Now, we’re not suggesting playing hooky or skipping school by any means, but if you can’t make it to the ballpark, catch some baseball history at the Smithsonian or in your own neighborhood at one of these Smithsonian Affiliates.

Photo courtesy South Dakota State Historical Society.

Photo courtesy South Dakota State Historical Society.

At the South Dakota State Historical Society (Pierre, SD)
Thanks to a donation from Aberdeen native Paul Gertsen, a collection of Northern League (1900-1971) baseball materials showcasing the history of baseball in South Dakota will open soon. “The Northern League was the highest level of professional baseball in South Dakota, and an important minor league system in the upper Midwest. So many great players were on those teams, such as Hank Aaron, Jim Palmer, Lou Brock and Willie Stargell. The league’s history is rich, and its South Dakota roots run deep. I am proud that the society is now home to the most complete and definitive collection of Northern League materials in existence. It is truly an honor to accept this collection, and it is very exciting for anyone interested in the history of South Dakota baseball,” commented Dan Brosz, curator of collections at the Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society. Contact Jay Smith, Museum Director for more info 605.773.3798.

Sheet music for “Take Me Out to the Ball-Game” by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer, 1908 Courtesy of Andy Strasberg

At NMAJH, sheet music for “Take Me Out to the Ball-Game” by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer, 1908
Courtesy of Andy Strasberg

At the National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia, PA)
Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American is on view through October 2014. The exhibition displays the central role baseball has played in the lives of American minority communities as they sought to understand and express the ideals, culture, and behaviors of their homeland—or challenge them. Programs for this show include talks with ESPN and major league baseball historians, and a summer film series featuring baseball.

The 1960s World Series display at the Senator John Heinz History Center. Photo courtesy of the Center.

The 1960s World Series display at the Senator John Heinz History Center. Photo courtesy of the Center.

At the Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Heinz History Center will showcase artifacts from one of the greatest moments in sports history through May 1– Mazeroski Artifacts from the 1960 World Series. Fans will enjoy Mazeroski’s Pirates uniform and bronzed 35-inch Louisville Slugger bat accompanied by additional items from 1960, including the pitching rubber and first base from Game 7, shortstop Dick Groat’s jersey from his 1960 Most Valuable Player season, and a life-like museum figure of Mazeroski hitting the legendary home run.

Photo courtesy Rare Book & Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Photo courtesy Rare Book & Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Champaign, IL)
The Rare Book & Manuscript Library has made a number of important book and manuscript additions over the past few years. Babylon to Baseball: Recent Additions to the Rare Book & Manuscript Library will showcase over thirty new pieces. Collections and items to be highlighted range from a 4000 year old Babylonian clay tablet to scarce baseball reference works once owned by the American League President’s Office.

At the Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, California)
Dodgers: Brotherhood of the Game, on view March 29- September 14, explores the team’s storied past through four players and a Hall of Fame manager, each of whom made history in his own right: Jackie Robinson, Fernando Valenzuela, Chan Ho Park, Hideo Nomo, and Tommy Lasorda. From their original roots in Brooklyn to today’s home in Los Angeles, the Dodgers are trailblazers in the world of sports, on and off the field. The franchise is dedicated to supporting a culture of winning baseball, providing a first-class, family-friendly experience at Dodger Stadium and maintaining strong partnerships in the community.

Our amazing intern, Rachel, checking out baseball history at the National Museum of American History.

Our amazing intern, Rachel, checking out baseball history at the National Museum of American History.

At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History
Baseball history can be seen throughout the American History Museum. Here you can see a WWII Secret Compartment Baseball (1942). In WWII, the U.S. Military Intelligence Service created “care packages” with the intent of assisting Allied prisoners’ escapes from enemy containment. Baseballs were often used to smuggle in different items to the prisoners through secret compartments. Before Jackie Robinson rocked the baseball world by becoming the first integrated baseball player in history, African Americans played in separate leagues. On view also in the American Stories exhibit is a Negro Leagues Baseball (1920-1945), signed by players of the Negro Leagues, which drew millions of fans during their height.

Newkirk High School Tigers. Photo by Oklahoma Humanities Council, Newkirk, OK.

Newkirk High School Tigers. Photo by Oklahoma Humanities Council, Newkirk, OK.

Through Museums on Main Street at the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and possibly coming to a small town near you—Hometown Teams. Hometown Teams tells the story of sports as an indelible part of our culture and community. For well over one hundred years sports have reflected the trials and triumphs of the American experience and helped shape our national character. Whether it’s professional sports, or those played on the collegiate or scholastic level, amateur sports or sports played by kids on the local playground, the plain fact is sports are everywhere in America. Our love of sports begins in our hometowns–on the sandlot, at the local ball field, in the street, even. Americans play sports everywhere.

And last but not least, the exhibition may not be on the road anymore, but you can still view Beyond Baseball: The Life of Roberto Clemente through an online exhibition from SITES, based on an original exhibition from the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, a Smithsonian Affiliate. Clemente was born in the summer of 1934 in a house of concrete and wood on an old country road in Barrio San Antón, Carolina, Puerto Rico. He died on December 31, 1972, in a plane crash a few miles from his birthplace while attempting to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. In his thirty-eight years, RobertoClemente became a baseball legend in the United States, but in his homeland and throughout Latin America he became a national and cultural icon.

Do you know of baseball exhibits at Smithsonian Affiliates in your hometown? Let us know! Email us or tweet us @SIAffiliates and share your baseball stories!

March 31, 2014

Coming Up in Affiliateland, April 2014

Spring has sprung and Affiliate collaborations are in full bloom in April! 

FLORIDA
American Art Museum curator E. Carmen Ramos gives a talk on What is Latino About American Art? at the Frost Art Museum. The talk coincides with the opening of the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibition, Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art, in Miami, 4.2.

PUERTO RICO
National Postal Museum educator Kim Harrell leads a workshop on designing educational materials at the Museo y Centro de Estudios Humanísticos in Gurabo, 4.5.

WASHINGTON
The Museum of History and Industry participates in the National Museum of American History’s Let’s Do History, a program which supports teachers in using museum objects in their classrooms in Seattle, 4.7.

MARYLAND
The College Park Aviation Museum welcomes volunteers from the National Postal Museum for a behind-the-scenes tour in College Park, 4.8.

WASHINGTON, D.C.
Staff from California Science Center (Los Angeles) and the Museum of Flight (Seattle) will join National Air and Space Museum’s Michael Hulslander and NASA educator, Jennifer Kennedy at a session during the Mutual Concerns of Air and Space Museums conference to discuss collaborative possibilities related to space shuttle history, 4.14.

trexMONTANA
The Wankel Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil specimen travels to the National Museum of Natural History from the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, 4.15.

TEXAS
National Museum of American History curator Dwight Blocker Bowers gives a talk on “That’s Entertainment!” at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History in Fort Worth, 4.17.

NEBRASKA
National Museum of Natural History Director Kirk Johnson gives a lecture on From Fossils to Freeways and Shovel-tuskers to Cornhuskers: Nebraska’s contribution to the great story of life on Earth at the University of Nebraska State Museum in Lincoln, 4.23.

VIRGINIA
The Virginia Museum of Natural History opens SITES’ Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants exhibition in Martinsville, 4.26.

NEW YORK
Loren Schoenberg, Artistic Director of New York City Affiliate, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, will give a talk on Painting Jazz at the Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages in Stony Brook, 4.27.

 

February 11, 2014

Young Historians, Living Histories- Today’s Stop: Oklahoma City, OK!

Special thanks to Paula Lee, Smithsonian Affiliations intern, for this guest post. This is the first 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. 

Asian Pacific American youth representing the Young Historians, Living HIstory after completing a workshop

Asian Pacific American youth representing the Young Historians, Living History after completing a workshop

Early this August, I had an extraordinary opportunity to join Smithsonian Affiliations as an intern directly assisting with the Young Historians, Living Histories grant. After a few weeks of researching the project, I spoke with Leah Craig, Curator of Education at the Oklahoma History Center, an Affiliate in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma History Center is one of nine Affiliate museums selected to receive the YHLH grant funded by the Smithsonian’s Youth Access Grant program. Additional Affiliates include Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (Seattle, WA), Institute of Texan Cultures (San Antonio, TX), Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, OH), Pacific Aviation Museum (Honolulu, HI), Sonoma County Museum (Santa Rosa, CA), Greensboro Historical Museum (Greensboro, NC), Riverside Metropolitan Museum (Riverside, CA), and Historic Arkansas Museum (Little Rock, AR).

This program is an educational initiative designed to engage underserved youth in Asian Pacific American communities by incorporating the use of digital media to produce oral histories. Being an Asian American myself, I was particularly thrilled at the chance to be involved in a project that hit so close to home. The Affiliates have collaborated with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (APAC) and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) to provide essential curriculum guidelines that will be used to train educators to implement youth workshops. Participating Affiliates have recruited Asian Pacific American students to attend workshops at the museums. Middle and high school students will learn a variety of 21st-century skills, methods of community outreach, and digital storytelling to explore, contextualize, and deepen their understanding of Asian Pacific American history and culture.

Director Leah Craig leading one of many workshops on Asian American history

Curator Leah Craig leading one of many workshops on Asian American history

While the Affiliates were busy recruiting students, Craig had already begun to lead a team of 20 gifted and talented students from Norman High School through active learning workshops. The workshops covered essential editing, filming, interviewing and a lesson in Asian Pacific American history with the help of teachers Margaret Wadleigh, LaRadius Allen, and Moving Image Archivist Corey Ayers. Students that participated in the workshop came from diverse cultural backgrounds and were placed in groups that encouraged them to share their stories and ideas as they began their transformation into historians seeking stories within the Asian Pacific American community.  At only 1.9 percent, Oklahoma’s Asian American population isn’t large but according to the U.S. Census Bureau it includes a variety of Chinese, Korean, Pilipino, Burmese, and Hmong communities with significant Vietnamese and growing Indian communities. The program has enticed the young historians to become curious and research the immigration stories that attracted Asian Americans’ very first settlement into Oklahoma such as the Land Run in 1889.

Shoulder to Shoulder-- Oklahoman students eager to learn the film making processes of oral histries in a workshop led by Moving Image Archivist, Corey Ayers

Shoulder to Shoulder– Oklahoman students eager to learn the film making processes of oral histries in a workshop led by Moving Image Archivist, Corey Ayers

Craig boasts that “by conducting the oral histories students are helping us collect the history of our community from people with whom we may not have any other way to collect their stories.” Students were challenged to reveal the hidden struggles and accomplishments that Asian Pacific Americans in their own families/personal network had endured while en route, discovering a part of them that was never truly appreciated. Wadleigh, one of the two mentoring teachers, observed that the oral history element of this project engaged the students in a way that activated their “emotional” skills, skills that helped them discover powerful stories that couldn’t be told through any textbook.   Look forward to future posts under the YHLH Series as we begin to unravel the unique stories hidden across the nation “oh the places we’ll go” when we’re looking!

January 24, 2014

Smithsonian Secretary kicks off 2014 Affiliations National Conference

Education and access have always been at the core of all of our work. Our Affiliate network provides countless opportunities for informal learning in local communities across the U.S. through research, scholarship and exhibitions both real and virtual. Many Affiliates have collaborated with the Smithsonian on online national summits for teens, science webcasts, and even collected oral histories all captured for a virtual audience as well as developed as engaging public programs at each organization.

We’ve invited Smithsonian Secretary, G. Wayne Clough, to be our Keynote Speaker at our 2014 Affiliations National Conference* (June 23-25) to share how Affiliates are our partners in tackling a digital world.

“While digital technology poses great challenges, it also offers great possibilities. For the Smithsonian and our nation’s other museums, libraries and archives, today is a time when we can serve the role our founders envisioned for the educational systems of our republic. We can help all the people, not just a few of the people, to understand our culture, the cultures of other countries and life in all its dimensions.”

Join us on June 24 and discover the possibilities when we partner in making our collections more accessible and provide lifelong learning experiences to all of our visitors through innovative digital access.

To read the Secretary’s free book Best of Both Worlds: Museums, Libraries, and Archives in a Digital Age and see a short video, go to http://www.si.edu/BestofBothWorlds. The book is also available for free at iTunes U. Read the full press release for the Secretary’s e-book here.

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

January 23, 2014

Unearthing Paleontologists in Miami

A special thanks for this guest post to Michelle Beumer, Restoration and Social Action Coordinator at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science in Miami, Florida.

Ever wanted to be a Paleontologist? Last Thursday, over 100 fifth grade students from Goulds Elementary School in Homestead got to experience a day in the life of a paleontologist. Through a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science staff joined Goulds Elementary students for a fossil whalebone scavenger hunt, a live science webcast with Dr. Nick Pyenson, and a question and answer session hosted by the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.

Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science staff member, Ta-Shana Taylor is our very own whalebone expert, and guides the students through their scavenger hunt activity. Photo courtesy Frost Museum of Science.

Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science staff member, Ta-Shana Taylor is our very own whalebone expert, and guides the students through their scavenger hunt activity. Photo courtesy Frost Museum of Science.

To jump-start the immersion experience, students were sent on a mission to hunt for special whale fossils.  Through various stations, students took a trip around the world exploring different fossil-rich locations. Students dug through buckets of sand (not unlike real paleontologists) to find their bone.  Working as a team, students then had to figure out the story of their whalebone in a broader picture by comparing results in each of the five world locations. Then Smithsonian scientist Dr. Nick Pyenson discussed his research on the webcast and showed some of the specimens that be found through his work in Peru, Chile, the eastern United States, Panama, and Vancouver, while answering questions that students from around the country asked via a live chat window. The students from Goulds Elementary learned basic whale anatomy and how that corresponds to our own human anatomy, what whale species are rare and common now versus millions of years ago, and how paleontologists discover and dig up history.

Photo courtesy Frost Museum of Science.

Photo courtesy Frost Museum of Science.

The new Q?RIUS (pronounced “curious”) collection at the National Museum of Natural History will be presented through a series of live webcasts. From January until June 2014, nine live webcasts will air that examine a wide range of scientific topics that are perfect for you and your classrooms to watch, participate in, and enjoy. Each webcast is based on the Next Generation Science Standards and entices students to explore core science concepts through real-world connections.

Explore the topics in the schedule to access a package of classroom activities, lessons, readings and other related resources that support each webcast program.

Join us in our scientific adventures and tune in to watch real Smithsonian scientists talk about their research and answer your questions, live!

Join the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science and the National Museum of Natural History on February 12th to become Bird Detectives with featuring Carla Dove.

Students watching the Q?RIUS webcast from the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy Frost Museum of Science.

Students watching the Q?RIUS webcast from the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy Frost Museum of Science.

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