Each month we’re highlighting Affiliate-Smithsonian collaborations making headlines. Congrats to these Affiliates making news this month! If you have a clipping you’d like to have considered for the Affiliate blog, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee.
This photograph of Navajo code talkers working a radio in 1943 is part of the exhibit “Navajo Code Talkers: Photographs” by Kenji Kawano at the Heard Museum in Phoenix.
Whether you are a new or veteran Affiliate, one of the best ways to maximize your unique relationship with the world’s largest museum and research complex is to host a Smithsonian exhibition. SITES has a plethora of exciting new offerings in the works, and we’re pleased to give the Affiliate network the scoop before widely publicizing them. Contact us for more detailed information or click on the links below.
Jacob Lawrence Illustrates Aesop’s Fables
Jacob Lawrence, 1969. The Ant and the Grasshopper from Aesop’s Fables. Image Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York.
The classic Aesop’s Fables seen through the eyes of one of most important American artists of the 20th century. In 1969, Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000) created a series of twenty-three lively ink drawings of Aesop’s Fables, which interpreted the ancient tales for a contemporary audience. As a socially engaged American artist who created powerful narratives of American history and historical figures, Lawrence often explored themes of social justice and ethical conduct. His drawings depict timeless stories, teaching morals in a simple, understandable way. Tour begins: 2014
Princess Kaiulani, the last princess of the Kingdom of Hawaii prior to annexation.
Asian and Pacific Americans make up more than 5% of the U.S. population –over 17 million people—and those numbers are growing. In the first exhibition of its kind, the Smithsonian celebrates Asian Pacific American history across the multitude of incredibly diverse cultures, and explores how Asian Pacific Americans have shaped and been shaped by the course of our nation’s history. Rich with compelling, often surprising stories, the exhibition takes a sweeping look at this history, from the very first Asian immigrants to the influx of highly skilled workers many decades later.Tour begins: September 2014
Patios, Play Sets, and the Invention of the American Back Yard
An American family enjoys their yard. Image courtesy AAG collection.
Retreats for recreation, entertainment, dining, and relaxation, the American back yard combines the comfort and convenience of living rooms with the freedom of the open air. Patios…examines the growing popularity of outdoor living since the mid-20th century with a look at fascinating social trends like the transition from the front porch to the back yard patio, the rise of the do-it-yourself homeowner, and the use of “chemical warfare” to achieve the perfect lawn. Featuring rare, vintage photographs, along with pop-culture references and period advertisements, this exhibition will be a fun stroll through America’s back yard. Learn more here.
Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise
Newcomb Pottery Vase, c. 1931. Low relief of stylized Pitcher plant. Aurelia Arbo, decorator; Jonathan B. Hunt, potter. Collection of the Haynie Family.
This major exhibition of Newcomb pottery and crafts features 175 exceptional works of pottery, metalwork, bookbinding, and textiles from important public and private collections. Enriched by new scholarship, historical photos and archival materials, the exhibition looks beyond the beauty of the works and illuminates the philosophy of the Newcomb Art School, the women and educators who embodied it, and its place in the American Arts & Crafts movement. Learn more here.
As summer turns into autumn, Affiliate accomplishments continue to shine!
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced the Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, Michigan) has been awarded $750,000 to help support cross-cultural understanding.
Dr. Kenneth B. Chapman and his wife, Dr. Ulrika Holm, presented Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens (Staten Island, New York) with $10,000 to be used for restoration and repairs to the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden. The Chapman Family has agreed to contribute an additional $10,000 in matching funds for the restoration project.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science (Denver, Colorado) was one of nine organizations to receive 21st Century Museum Professionals grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The $244,897 award will enable the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, through Denver-area Evaluation Network (DEN) a collaborative of 15 cultural organizations, to positively influence evaluative thinking, implementation, and use in diverse Mountain-Plains museums.
Dell Services is donating $6.5 million in technology and services to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (Dallas, Texas) to power its IT operations and help support its goal to advance youth education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Union Station Kansas City (Kansas City, Missouri) announced that the funding has been secured to move forward to create a new 3-D digital theater and Innovation Center. Three local foundations – the Goppert Foundation, the Regnier Family Foundation and the Schutte Foundation – provided the funding needed to establish this new theater which will be able to serve multiple purposes: showing a variety of educational and entertainment films, first- and second-run movies, and offering digital, interactive conference space for large groups.
The Mid-America Science Museum (Hot Springs, Arkansas) will qualify for a $7.8 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation thanks to a $520,000 pledge from the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission that completed a local $1.7 million matching requirement. The pledge means almost $10 million will go to begin construction on a massive renovation and expansion program.
Historic Bethlehem Partnership celebrated the announcement that the U.S. Interior Secretary named 14 acres in Downtown Bethlehem a National Historic Landmark District. The distinguished honor means their historic sites “possess exceptional value… in illustrating the heritage of the United States.”
The Ellen Noël Art Museum hosts curator Carolyn Russo from the National Air and Space Museum, who will be giving a series of lectures and a photography class in conjunction with the In Plane View exhibition, in Odessa, 11.1-2.
Curator John Hasse from the National Museum of American History and Affiliations director Harold Closter will take part in the Musical Instrument Museum’s special jazz events in Phoenix, 11.10-11.
Deputy director Richard Pickering and food historian Kathleen Wall from Plimoth Plantation will be performing historical theater and giving food talks about the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., 11.11.
National Portrait Gallery’s Sid Hart will host a lecture about on the War of 1812 at the Greensboro Historical Museum in Greensboro, 11.13.
The Frost Art Museum will host the Reflections Across Time: Seminole Portraits exhibition, which includes loans from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and the National Museum of the American Indian, in Miami, 11.17.
The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture will host the National Museum of American History’s Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Warriors: Photographs by Gertrude Käsebier, in Spokane, 11.17.
The Heinz History Center opens the From Slavery to Freedom exhibition, featuring artifacts on loan from the National Museum of American History, in Pittsburgh, 11.30.
Affiliates, don’t miss this opportunity to share your museum theater experiences at the Smithsonian!
CALL FOR PROPOSALS
“Mr. Avery” from Mystic Seaport
Evolving the Story: Innovation in Today’s Museum Theatre
International Museum Theatre Alliance (IMTAL) 2013 Global Conference
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC October 6-10, 2013
The 2013 IMTAL Global Conference will focus on creativity and innovation in today’s Museum Theatre. In 2013, Museum Theatre is a proven, tested, educational approach in the field of museum studies. It is also an art form bringing the best of performance to museum visitors of all ages. But how is the field continuing to evolve? The 2013 Global conference will bring together practitioners, researchers, performers, and museum professionals from around the world to discuss, debate, present, and share examples of how the field is evolving and innovating. We invite proposals that address the following topics in relation to the field of museum Theatre:
New and creative participatory experiences
Challenging and unexpected content
Innovative uses of technology or social media
Innovative methods for measuring the impact of Museum Theatre, both for audiences and for museums
Panel Discussion (60-90 minutes): 2 or more presenters with presentations on similar topics that may or may not have a moderator. Individual presentations will be combined thematically by the conference organizers to create one panel discussion.
Skills Workshop (60-120 minutes): Interactive sessions presented by individuals or groups and focused on learning practical skills used in museum theatre such a script writing, costume, prop or puppet creation, acting technique, evaluation, creative dramatics, grant writing, participatory theatre, or others.
Performance with Discussion (60-120 minutes): A performance of a museum theatre work followed by a discussion to provide more in-depth understanding of the goals and objectives of the work or details of the development of the work.
Pecha Kucha Style Presentations: Presenters have 6 minutes and 40 seconds each to share up to 20 slides on a paper, project, performance, or idea related to their research or work in the field of museum theatre. Several of these presentations will be combined into a one session.
Please submit proposals by May 1, 2013 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Proposals should include: session type, session title, abstract of no more than 200 words, staging and AV needs, and contact information.
For more information about the International Museum Theatre Alliance (IMTAL), visit www.imtal.org.
Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens has preserved the home of George Washington for more than 150 years, always striving to present the most current and well-researched scholarship about our nation’s first president. In 2006, the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center opened at Mount Vernon, featuring three life-size mannequins of Washington, created, in part, through a unique collaboration between Mount Vernon, a Smithsonian Affiliate; several Smithsonian experts; and the National Museum of Dentistry, also an Affiliate.
Jeffrey Schwartz, physical anthropologist and professor at the University of Pittsburgh, led the two-year effort. Using his knowledge of teeth and bone structure, Schwartz examined the existing evidence for clues about George Washington’s appearance at different times in his life. Aiding him in this forensic reconstruction was the Partnership for Research in Spatial Modeling (PRISM), a laboratory at Arizona State University that specializes in 3-D digital imaging.
3-D computer generated images are a result of scanning Washington’s life mask and portrait bust. Photo courtesy of Mount Vernon Ladies Association.
Mount Vernon identified the many relics of Washington’s life that could provide necessary information. Using a computerized digital scanner, Schwartz scanned a 1785 life mask owned by the Morgan Library & Museum, a Jean-Antoine Houdon bust at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and a full body Houdon sculpture in the Virginia State Capitol Rotunda. Many of the Washington objects owned by the Smithsonian were also scanned or examined by Schwartz and his team.
One of the biggest challenges was determining what Washington looked like as a young man as no portraits depict his image before the age of 40. To help, the National Portrait Galleryprovided insight into the many portraits of Washington, as well as into the conventions of 18th century portraiture.
Washington’s dentures played a vital role in reconstructing Washington’s face. As he lost teeth and bone in his jaw, the shape of his face changed. Dentures also change the jaw line depending on how they fit in the mouth. By examining the dentures that Washington used in his lifetime, the team was able to create a timeline that identified the progression of Washington’s tooth loss. As the mannequins depict Washington at the ages of 19, 45 and 57, this timeline provided critical information on the changing shape of Washington’s face.
A set of George Washington’s dentures. Photo courtesy of the National Museum of Dentistry.
Three versions of Washington’s dentures can be found at the National Museum of Dentistry in Baltimore, Maryland. One is an original, complete denture for the lower jaw dated 1795, while the other two are replicas of dentures in other collections.
Since 18th century portraits emphasized the sitter’s face and not the body, information on Washington’s build was extracted from his clothing. By taking volumetric measurements of his trousers, waistcoats and shirts, clues to Washington’s height (6’ 2”) and build could be extrapolated.
The National Museum of American History gave the team access to Washington’s military uniform which provided the prototype for the costume to be worn by the 45-year-old mannequin depicting Washington at Valley Forge.
After consulting with these experts, the scans and measurements were fed into a special computer program that produced three-dimensional images of Washington. Eventually, the images were printed out or “milled” on a special machine into high-density foam, and the mannequins became reality.
The Smithsonian and the National Endowment for the Humanities examine the legacy of the Dust Bowl era through current issues of drought, agricultural sustainability and global food security during a live, interactive discussion with experts. The program will be webcast from the museum to Youth Town Halls at locations across the nation Oct. 17 at 1 p.m. EDT.
In the 1930s, severe drought and extensive farming caused widespread agricultural damage, crop failure and human misery across the Great Plains. Called the “Dust Bowl” because of the immense dust storms created as the dry soil blew away in large, dark clouds, it is considered one of the worst ecological disasters in American history. Millions of acres of farmland were damaged and hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes. Many migrated to California and other western states where the economic conditions during the Great Depression were often no better than those they had left.
The Oct. 17 discussion in Washington, D.C., taking place in the Warner Bros. Theater at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, will be joined by audiences at nine Smithsonian Affiliate museums and the National Steinbeck Center, which will also host regional Youth Town Halls. Participants at the regional Town Hall sites will prerecord questions on video to be played during the live National Youth Summit webcast. The Youth Town Halls will take place at:
The National Youth Summit brings middle and high school students together with scholars, teachers, policy experts, witnesses to history and activists in a national conversation about important events in America’s past that have relevance to the nation’s present and future. The program is an ongoing collaboration between the National Museum of American History, the National Endowment for the Humanities, PBS and museums across the United States in the Smithsonian Affiliations network.
The summit will include segments from award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns’ forthcoming film The Dust Bowland a panel discussion, moderated by Huffington Post science editor Cara Santa Maria, and featuring: Ken Burns, Dust Bowl survivor Cal Crabill, U.S. Department of Agriculture ecologist Debra Peters, fifth-generation farmer Roy Bardole from Rippey, Iowa, and farmer and founder of Anson Mills, Glenn Roberts. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will welcome the audience through a video statement. Panelists will take questions from students participating in the summit, and offer their own perspectives on what history can teach people about their relationship with the environment.
Programming for the National Youth Summit on the Dust Bowl is produced by the National Museum of American History and the National Endowment for the Humanities in partnership with Smithsonian Affiliations and PBS/WETA.
Smithsonian Affiliations collaborates with museums and educational organizations to share the Smithsonian with people in their own communities and create lasting experiences that broaden perspectives on science, history, world cultures and the arts. More information about Smithsonian Affiliations is available here.
The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. NEH grants typically go to cultural institutions, such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television and radio stations, and to individual scholars. For more information on the NEH, visit http://www.neh.gov/.
The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. To learn more about the museum, check americanhistory.si.edu. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.