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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!

August 20, 2013

kudos Affiliates! September 2013

Summer 2013 is winding down but continues to be a hot one for our Affiliates!

Funding

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The National Endowment for the Humanities recently announced the recipients of $33 million in grants for 173 humanities projects, including the following Affiliate projects:

- Mystic Seaport Museum (Mystic, CT)-$164,280
Project: “The American Maritime People” NEH Summer Institute 2014
Project Description: Implementing a five-week summer institute for twenty college and university faculty to examine recent social, cultural, and ecological approaches to American maritime studies.

- Mystic Seaport Museum (Mystic, CT)-$450,000
Project: Voyaging in the Wake of the Whalers: The 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan
Project Description: Implementing a long-term exhibition, a website, and public programs at the Mystic Seaport Museum that examine the broad economic, social, and cultural impact of whaling. 

- Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, ME)-$220,000
Project: Implementing Sustainability Strategies for the Abbe Museum’s Collections Environment
Project Description: The implementation of environmental improvements, consisting of upgrades to the climate control and lighting systems, for a museum that collects, preserves, and exhibits ethnographic and historic material relating to the four tribes of central Maine,  collectively known as the Wabanaki.

- Montana Historical Society (Helena, MT)-$300,000
Project: Montana Digital Newspaper Project
Project Description: Digitization 100,000 pages of Montana newspapers dating from 1836 to 1922, as part of the state’s continuing participation in the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).

- Ohio Historical Society (Columbus, OH)-$40,000
Project: Ohio’s Ten Tribes
Project Description: Planning for a five-thousand-square-foot permanent exhibition, a website, and educational materials examining the forced removal of ten Native American tribes from Ohio in the early 19th century and the historical and contemporary impact on these tribes.

- Oklahoma Historical Society (Oklahoma City, OK)-$300,000
Project: Oklahoma Newspaper Digitization Project
Project Description: Digitization of 100,000 pages of Oklahoma newspapers issued between 1836 and 1922, as part of the state’s continuing participation in the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).

- National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia, PA)-$300,000
Project: Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Jews in America
Project Description: Implementation of an artifact-based traveling exhibition, a smaller panel version to be displayed in baseball parks, a catalogue, a website, and related public programs.

- Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (Seattle, WA)-$179,914
Project: Asian Pacific American Immigrants in the Pacific Northwest: Transforming the Nation
Project Description: Two one-week Landmarks workshops for eighty school teachers to explore the history and culture of Asian immigrant groups in the Pacific Northwest and their significance to the nation.

- Buffalo Bill Historical Center (Cody, WY)-$200,000
Project: The Papers of William F. Cody: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and the European Frontier
Project Description: Preparation for publication of materials related to the tours by Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show of Great Britain and Germany in 1887-1906.

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The Institute of Museum and Library Services recently announced recipients of its grants for African American History and Culture, including the following Affiliates:

- Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, AL)-$74,277 to implement the Collection Storage Improvement Project, the goal of which is to safeguard its archival and fine arts collections to ensure that they will be available for use by current and future staff, scholars, and researchers.

- The Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati, OH)-$150,000 for an apprentice program, recruiting recent talented graduates from colleges and universities across the country, with a focus on those from HBCUs.
 

The Montana Historical Society (Helena, MT) is going a little Hollywood with its historic collection of films and still photographs that will help tell the story of Sen. Lee Metcalf and his contributions to what he helped make “The Last Best Place.” A two-year grant from the private sector Council on Library and Information Resources will allow them to arrange, preserve and describe the Metcalf photographs and film. The grant provides the resources necessary to spend time researching, identifying and preserving all of the materials in the collections.

Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA) received a $200,000 grant from the Plymouth Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) to support the renovation and expansion of the Museum’s Craft Center, providing essential visitor services like climate control and additional area for demonstrations and hands-on activities. The Museum also plans to construct a bakery in the Craft Center, where guests can view demonstrations of 17th-century baking techniques and learn how to make bread.

Leadership

Patricia Wilson Aden has been named the new President & CEO of the African American Museum in Philadelphia

The International Storytelling Center (Jonesborough, TN) has hired Kiran Singh Sirah, a prominent folklorist, as its new Executive Director.

Carrie M. Heinonen has been named President and Director of the Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix, AZ)

May 16, 2013

take me out to the ballgame

Summer is upon us, which means the baseball season is literally in full swing.  Nothing says America more than a sunny afternoon at the ballpark with a hot dog and ball cap, cheering on your favorite team.

Now baseball fans can share their passion outside the ballpark too, with a new initiative launched by the National Museum of American Jewish History, our Affiliate in Philadelphia.  The museum is inviting fans of all ages and backgrounds to submit artifacts, photos, and memorabilia that illustrate their connections to the game.  This collecting effort and national conversation will support a major exhibition opening at the Museum in spring 2014 called Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Jews in America

Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax during the 1966 World Series

Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax during the 1966 World Series

This exhibition (which is expected to travel around the country) is the first major exhibition to weave together the history of American sport, leisure and national identity with the story of Jewish immigration and integration into American life.  The exhibition will also tell the stories of other minority groups – including African-Americans, Latinos, Italian and Japanese immigrants – for whom baseball provided an important sense of belonging and pride.

The public is invited to share stories and memories of how baseball has affected generations of fans and their communities through the Museum’s site – chasingdreamsbaseball.tumblr.com.  Here, fans can post images of their memorabilia and share their stories with the Museum’s curators and fellow baseball aficionados.

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Sandy Koufax’ glove, on view at NMAJH, 2010-2012

Those who have visited the National Museum of American Jewish History in the past have likely seen Sandy Koufax’s glove, on loan from the Smithsonian and on view in Philadelphia when the Museum opened in its current location in 2010. 

For more information on the exhibition or public collecting initiative, please read the press release, or visit the Museum’s website at www.nmajh.org.

Just think, here’s something else you can do during the seventh inning stretch!

December 8, 2010

SITES in your neighborhood this winter

Smithsonian Affiliates across the country are bringing Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) exhibitions to their communities this winter. Here’s what’s opening at an Affiliate in the coming months: 

Jim Henson's characters provided an outlet for the various sides of his sense of humor and personality, and Henson always considered Kermit his alter ego. This Kemit, shown with Henson about 1989, is a more polished version of the original Kermit that Henson made in 1955 from his mother's old spring coat. Photo by John E. Barrett.

February 12- May 1, 2011
Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences (Peoria, Illinois)
Jim Henson’s Fantastic World

Organized with The Jim Henson Legacy, Jim Henson’s Fantastic World offers audiences a rare peek into the imagination of this brilliant innovator and creator of Kermit, Big Bird, and other beloved characters. The exhibition documents Henson’s process of “visual thinking” through works of art, photographs, documents, puppets and other 3-D objects, and film and video clips.

Legendary New York Mets’ coach Yogi Berra shares his line-up with Clemente before a 1972 spring training game in St. Petersburg, Florida. AP/Wide World Photo.

February 19- April 17, 2011
Challenger Learning Center of Arizona (Peoria, Arizona)
Beyond Baseball: The Life of Roberto Clemente

The baseball diamond has produced legendary athletes who have broken records and shattered barriers. But for many, Roberto Clemente is the most inspiring of all. With a cannon arm and lightning speed, he was an outstanding ballplayer. But the Puerto Rico native was also a dedicated humanitarian. SITES, the Smithsonian Latino Center, the Clemente family, and the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico are pleased to present Beyond Baseball: The Life of Roberto Clemente as a tribute to this monumental figure’s outstanding achievements on the field and off.

And you can still catch these exhibitions at an Affiliate in your neighborhood:

Lasting Light: 125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography, at Dixon Historic Center (Dixon, Illinois) through January 2, 2011. 


Native Words, Native Warriors
at Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center  (Mashantucket, Connecticut), through January 2, 2011.


Freedom’s Sisters,
at Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture (Baltimore, Maryland), through January 17, 2011. 


Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964,
at Sonoma County Museum (Santa Rosa, California), through January 30, 2011.

 

Find a Smithsonian Affiliate in your neighborhood here.
Find more Smithsonian traveling exhibitions and programs
here.

November 1, 2010

Sousa and Baseball: Bringing American Icons Together

Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Champaign, Illinois, recently opened “Sousa and His League of Players: America’s Music and the Golden Age of Baseball,” on view through July 2011. Special thanks to Sousa Archive Center Director, Scott Schwartz, for this guest post.  

Sheet music from the Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music held in the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History.

The University of Illinois’ 2010 American Music Month celebration will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Sousa Band’s World Tour 1910-1911 and Sousa’s love of baseball. His band’s musicians served as his baseball team whenever they played against other bands’ and communities’ teams during their unprecedented concert tour around the world.  This November’s celebration includes the opening of a special new exhibit, America’s Golden Age of Baseball through Music, using historic sheet music and rare baseball cards from the Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music, Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, and the Ronald S. Gabriel Baseball Memorabilia Collection on loan from the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center.  In addition, the University of Illinois bands will be giving a special performance in which they will be recreating the Sousa Band’s concerts given during their World Tour. Special performances include, “Rounding the Bases, Circling the Globe: Sousa’s World Tour and Baseball” and a lecture entitled, “The Essence of Uncle Sam: John Philip Sousa’s 1911 World Tour” on November 14, and “The Baseball Music Project” performed by the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Bob Thompson as conductor and Dave Winfield as host and narrator on November 12. 

Historic baseball cards from the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana and the Ronald S. Gabriel Baseball Memorabilia collections held in the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History.

Music and baseball have played an integral role in the life and culture of America for nearly two and a quarter centuries, but it was not until the late nineteenth and early twentieth century when the two forms of popular entertainment became fully entwined as the country’s greatest past times.  Songs like the “Base Ball Quickstep,” The Umpire Is a Most Unhappy Man,” “Take Your Girl to the Ball Game,” “The Baseball Man for Me,” “Let’s Get the Umpire’s Goat,” “Home Run Bill,” “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” and “Three Strikes Two-step,” dedicated specifically to John Philip Sousa’s baseball team, vividly portray America’s love affair with the national game.  For music and sports scholars and aficionados the years 1900-1920 are considered the golden age of the John Philip Sousa Band and baseball in America. The 1908 World Series is considered the greatest and most controversial baseball series of the twentieth century and the Sousa Band’s World Tour of 1910-1911 is undoubtedly one of the most unique music public relations efforts by a single individual to introduce the early twentieth-century world to American music, culture, and baseball. 

We invite you to join us as we celebrate through concerts, lectures, master classes and exhibitions, John Philip Sousa’s and baseball’s impact on your nation’s diverse music and cultural heritage.  For further information on our programming and exhibitions please visit www.sousaarchives.org  or call 217-244-9309.

 

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