Many thanks to Joshua Ruff, History Curator and Betsy Radecki, Educator, from the Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages in Stony Brook, NY for this post. This is the first of what we hope will be many! guest authored posts from Affiliates about Smithsonian experiences at their sites.
The Long Island Museum is thrilled to be hosting the SITES exhibit Our Journeys/Our Stories: Portraits of Latino Achievement, through June 8. We opened the exhibit with a gala reception attended by guests from the Smithsonian and sponsor Ford Motor Company along with museum members and local political and social leaders. Guests toured the exhibit, feasted on fantastic ethnic food and listened to a Uruguayan musical ensemble.
One of the things we often try to do with traveling exhibits is to add a local dimension or theme. In Our Journeys, we have added three Long Island Latino achievers and attempted to mirror all of the technical features of the rest of the exhibit – the same graphic design, same framing/matting – to make our section seem to fit seamlessly into the larger whole. This can be a little more difficult than it seems at first – the colors and finish of the panels from different graphic designers are subtly different, for example – but it came out great and SITES helped us with all the translations.
On March 18, 40 teachers attended a staff development workshop and brainstormed lesson plans to use both in the classroom and at the exhibit. During the coming months the teachers will be bringing nearly 2000 students to the exhibit. We are very excited about the May 4 free family festival, which will include Latino foods, music, stories and dance, all provided by artists and vendors from the local community. In order to promote the festival, we are partnering with a local library to make April “Hispanic Heritage Month” and are sponsoring both a morning storytelling session for children and an evening music program for families at the library. To make it easier for visitors to get to the museum, we have arranged to provide buses from area libraries and service organizations. The festival will also include tours of the exhibit and a chance for families to record their own journeys through videotaped interviews.
I had the pleasure of attending the opening, and was also so impressed upon meeting the many members of the Museum’s “Local Committee of Honor.” Latinos from all sectors of the community including nonprofit health organizations, foreign language teachers, businesspeople and more, celebrated with the Museum and brought the show’s message to the community at large. Congratulations all!
If you have a Smithsonian experience you’d like to share with other Affiliates, let us know!!