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
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.
And museums are using them in new and unique ways to raise money and engage new audiences. In 2013, the Freer|Sackler Gallery launched its first major crowdfunding campaign “Together we’re one” to support Yoga: The Art of Transformation. Using crowdfunding, the museum asked ordinary citizens to help fund the exhibit. In the end, the museum raised more than $170,000, well above its goal.
At the National Museum of American History, National Air and Space Museum and National Museum of Natural History social media practitioners are engaging new audiences in person and online by hosting Tweetups (sometimes called socials) for enthusiasts who want to learn more about Smithsonian collections, programs and exhibits. Partnering with other organizations like NASA and the National Holocaust Museum, the Smithsonian reaches new audiences through the personal tweets from their most avid audiences. During the #docsocial tweetup in January 2014, the small event—about 25 tweeps—resulted in almost 24 million impressions on Twitter. (Impressions are similar to newspaper delivery—you know how many newspapers were delivered but not how many were read, but the potential is there!)
As we plan our 2014 Affiliations National Conference, we want to know who among our amazing Affiliate network have had successes in crowdfunding and tweetups? We’re planning two sessions during our conference about both topics and would love to include Affiliate insights. Have you funded a program or exhibit through online giving? Have you expanded your reach using Tweetups as a tool? We want to know. And if you’re one of our amazing Affiliate innovators, we want to include you in our conference. Email Elizabeth Bugbee to share your successes (and failures too!).
In addition, we’ve started a Social Media @SIAffiliates Facebook group. We want to create a community for our Affiliate network to get to know each other and share ideas with each other. Please join today!
Join us at the 2014 Affiliations National Conference June 23-25 in Washington, D.C. 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.
Recognizing that the need for leadership skills is fundamental in the field, Smithsonian Affiliations has recently signed an agreement to offer leadership training to staff of Affiliate museums in collaboration with George Washington University’s Museum Studies Program. The Smithsonian has a long standing collaborative relationship with GW that encompasses internships, joint research programs, and research fellowships. GW’s Museum Studies program is a nationally-known graduate training program with core curriculum in collections, exhibition development and design, new media, and museum management and leadership. Since conducting a survey of Affiliate staff in 2012, GWs Associate Professor of Museum Studies, Martha Morris, has worked with Affiliations Director, Harold Closter, to design a two-day seminar to be held here in Washington, D.C., on June 26 and 27, 2014, following the Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference.
Museums today face incredible challenges as well as new opportunities. Globalization, new technologies, competition, accountability, collections preservation, financial turmoil and staffing changes are all major concerns. In addition, professional standards and ethical mandates continue to evolve. Museums need highly trained staff, committed governance, and innovative leaders to assure their long term sustainability. The 21st-century workforce demands individuals who are collaborative, flexible, imaginative, and innovative. The goal of this collaboration between the Smithsonian and GW is to provide opportunities for staff at all levels of the museum to gain needed skills that will position them and their organization for success.
The program will provide opportunity for interaction with leaders at the Smithsonian and other museums as well as faculty of GW. Topics will include practical skills in management systems as well as strategic thinking and leadership philosophy. The value of the seminar will be in developing new skills as well as creating new networks for continuing professional growth.
The program will be reasonably priced with a limited number of scholarships available. Registration will be opening in April, but we encourage you to save the dates now. For further information about the seminar please contact Professor Martha Morris, George Washington University Museum Studies program at email@example.com.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.