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October 29, 2014

affiliates in the news- November 2014

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.

Poverty Point State Historic Site (West Carroll, Louisiana)
Poverty Point to celebrate World Heritage Site designation Saturday
According to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Poverty Point is the 22nd World Heritage Site in the United States. Dardenne’s office states that Poverty Point was the U.S. Department of the Interior’s lone nomination for world heritage status-adding to the site’s accolades as a National Historic Landmark, National Monument and Smithsonian Affiliate. 

George Catlin, Buffalo Chase, Bulls Making Battle with Men and Horses. 1832-1833, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

George Catlin, Buffalo Chase, Bulls Making Battle with Men and Horses. 1832-1833, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Mennello Museum of Art (Orlando, Florida)
Mennello Museum opens final exhibits in 15th-anniversary season
The Mennello Museum of American Art is wrapping up its 15th-anniversary year with two exhibitions that opened Oct. 3…The two new exhibitions are “George Catlin’s American Buffalo,” on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and “The Taos Society of Artists,” an original exhibition curated by museum executive director Frank Holt. The exhibitions run through Jan. 4, 2015.

The Majesty of the Buffalo, Captured on Canvas [16 Images]
In Great Falls, the exhibit was received enthusiastically, and the museum saw an uptick in attendance. “We’re delighted to have this quality of an exhibition from the Smithsonian,” Burt said, adding that the scenes provided Native Americans with “a great opportunity” for insight into their ancestors’ lifeways and the scenery of the plains.

space-center-houston-smithsonianSpace Center Houston (Houston, Texas)
Space Center Houston is 1st Smithsonian Affiliate in Houston
Space Center Houston is now a member of the Smithsonian’s crew. Space Center Houston, which serves as the official visitor center for NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas, is officially the first museum in Houston to be named a Smithsonian Affiliate.

Another giant leap for Space Center Houston
In a giant leap toward preserving the history of space exploration, Space Center Houston became the city’s first Smithsonian Affiliate on Oct. 8

Witte Museum (San Antonio, Texas)
Witte Museum announces Smithsonian partnership
We purposely waited to become a Smithsonian Affiliate because we’re in a great transformation right now at the museum and we thought it would be the perfect way to say we’re a top-tier museum,” said Marise McDermott, Witte Museum president and CEO.

Witte now a Smithsonian affiliate
The Witte Museum is now a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate. As a member of the program, the Witte will be able to borrow objects from the Smithsonian’s permanent collection and tap into its resources. “It’s such a great time for the Witte to have an affiliation,” said Marise McDermott, president and CEO of the Witte, who will announce the affiliation at a news conference this morning. “Before we were so focused on growing our campus, and now we’re ready to integrate with a national museum.”

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Berkshire Museum (Pittsfield, Massachusetts)
Smithsonian Leaders Hail Berkshire Museum SparkLab Partnership
“We think that real innovation will happen in this space,” according to Claudine Brown, Assistant Secretary of Education & Access at the Smithsonian. “Every SparkLab is different, and this one is architecturally beautiful.”

Spark!Lab is hands-on science at Berkshire Museum
Berkshire Museum Executive Director Van Shields said, while tinkering on his own Snap Circuits project, that Spark!Lab will “stimulate the kind of creativity and innovative thinking that was the beginning of the journey” of bringing the museum into the 21st century.

biomuseoThe Biomuseo (Panama)
Biomuseo Showcases Panama’s Ecological Diversity
Panama, the Biomuseo proclaims, became a “bridge of life” (the title of its permanent exhibition) and a fountain of biodiversity. Just a bit bigger than Ireland, it has more species of birds, amphibians and animals (if insects are included) than the United States and Canada combined, according to George R. Angehr, a research associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. (The Biomuseo is an affiliate of the Smithsonian, which along with the University of Panama helped develop its scientific content.)

Wondrous or hideous? Frank Gehry-designed natural history museum opens to fanfare in Panama
A natural history museum designed by famed architect Frank Gehry opened in Panama City this week. The Biomuseo — a project first conceived nearly 15 years ago and hampered by all kinds of issues — welcomed in the public for the first time Thursday.

Idaho Museum of Natural History (Pocatello, Idaho)
Asian Pacific American History exhibit on display at IMNH
Asian and Pacific Americans make up more than five percent of the U.S. population—more than 17 million people—and those numbers are growing. Their ancestral roots represent more than 50 percent of the world, extending from East Asia to Southeast Asia, and from South Asia to the Pacific Islands and Polynesia. In commemoration of this important history, “I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story” opened at the Idaho Museum of Natural History (IMNH), on September 20 and will run through November 30. “I Want the Wide American Earth” was created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). The exhibition is supported by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Smithsonian exhibit heads to local museum
“It’s pretty exciting because we are a Smithsonian-affiliated museum…and we only get it for ten weeks so it’s here before it heads-off to California, so unless you are planning on traveling to California, you won’t get to see it,” Tews said.

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October 6, 2014

let’s think like inventors

Smithsonian Affiliations would like to thank Kate Preissler, Digital Media Marketing Manager at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, for this guest post.

On October 11, the Berkshire Museum will become the fourth museum in the nation to host Spark!Lab, an exhibition developed at the Smithsonian Institution by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History (NMAH). By opening Spark!Lab we are joining with the Smithsonian in a nation-wide initiative to engage young people in acts of invention.

Staff at the Berkshire Museum get a chance to test out the Spark!Lab activities during a special training with Lemelson Center colleagues.

Staff at the Berkshire Museum get a chance to test out the Spark!Lab activities during a special training with Lemelson Center colleagues.

To prepare, colleagues from the Lemelson Center in Washington D.C. joined the Berkshire Museum staff for several days of training. A significant portion of the training had our staff trying out the activities that will be available in Spark!Lab. These activities, primarily engineering and design challenges, pose problems from the real world for visitors to solve. There are no right or wrong answers to Spark!Lab’s challenges; you may invent a solution that is completely different from my solution, yet we have both succeeded by solving the problem. These activities show young people that every brain is capable of creating something totally new and that by coming up with new ideas, we can make the world a better place for ourselves and each other.

As we tried out wind tunnels and tipping tables, it occurred to me that everyone, not just young people, probably craves opportunities to be inventive all the time. Individuals from all departments– marketing, security, visitor’s services, education – became deeply absorbed in the challenges presented. The mood in the room ran the gamut from laughter during experimentation to intense concentration on final designs, and many people had to be torn from the stations when it was time to move on. When we tested the activities with kids, the results were the same – no one wanted to leave!

The author can't look at her desk anymore without seeing all of the inventions that people devised to make life easier.

The author can’t look at her desk anymore without seeing all of the inventions that people devised to make life easier.

Until I encountered Spark!Lab and the Lemelson Center, ‘inventive creativity,’ especially as a skill set that could be learned, practiced, and honed, was not an idea to which I had given a lot of thought. So although learning about the activities and understanding what will be physically happening in our new space was valuable, it was the other aspects of our training that helped me to really understand the potential that Spark!Lab holds for altering perceptions and empowering the young people who visit the Museum.

During training we learned about many different inventors; inventions which have changed the course of history; and inventions which have made our lives a little easier in subtle ways. I spent the next few weeks seeing inventions everywhere. For instance, I sat at my desk and couldn’t help but notice that each of the items in front of me represented an idea from an actual person who saw a problem in need of a solution. And I don’t think I was the only one. My colleague Lesley Ann Beck came back to the second half of the training with a story about opening a pizza box and realizing that someone, somewhere, had gotten so frustrated with squished pizza and cheese stuck to lids, that they invented a small, round piece of plastic to keep the box lid from denting in, saving the pizza from damage. Once we started thinking about inventions, we couldn’t stop.

Spark!Lab under construction at the Berkshire Museum - a space which took inventive thinking to develop.

Spark!Lab under construction at the Berkshire Museum – a space which took inventive thinking to develop.

As construction of our Spark!Lab space in the Museum takes shape, this new lens has allowed me to see how our architects and staff have used inventive thinking to create a space that has to adapt to different needs, different audiences, and changing activities. It’s exciting to have a space for Spark!Lab that is the result of the creative inventiveness we’re trying to instill there.

We also had a discussion about ways to reinforce inventive thinking in kids, which gave me the chance to think back to my childhood and especially to my father, who built my sisters and me a workbench and encouraged us to create using wood scraps from his own projects. For years I used a Walkman held together by a wood nail because he loved to fix things instead of throwing them out. I thought about the pulley system he had rigged for our birdfeeder, which made it easy to fill but hard for squirrels to get to. I realized that my dad is one of those people who travels through the world with the eyes of an inventor. I also realized that not everyone has a person in his or her life to model and encourage these traits – but that by opening this space and staffing it with trained facilitators, our Museum could play that role for many.

You might now be asking, what do you mean when you say “the eyes of an inventor”? In the training, I wondered that too, and for me the best answer came from one of our facilitators, Michelle DelCarlo, Spark!Lab National Network Manager. She described inventors as people who encounter a problem and react by thinking “I can make this better.” With the mindset of an empowered inventor, problems become sources of motivation, not roadblocks or excuses to give up. So with that thought, I can’t wait to be a part of Spark!Lab because, really, what a wonderful world we could live in if each of us approached our days with inventors’ brains – not just seeing the problems, but feeling confident in our ability to solve them.

Spark!Lab will provide a space for young people in the Museum's community to think like inventors.

Spark!Lab will provide a space for young people in the Museum’s community to think like inventors.

 

 

September 24, 2014

coming up in affiliateland in october 2014

The air is turning crisp and Affiliates continue to host top-rated programs all over the country.

PANAMA

The BioMuseo, designed by Frank Gehry, is ready to open in Panama.

The BioMuseo, designed by Frank Gehry, is ready to open in Panama.

National Outreach Manager Alma Douglas takes part in the celebration of the BioMuseo, which officially opens to the public in Panama City, 10.2.

TENNESSEE

Smithsonian Associates lead an exclusive tour Inside Oak Ridge National Laboratory featuring two Affiliates, the Museum of Appalachia and American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, 10.4-7.

FLORIDA

The Menello Museum of Art opens George Catlin’s American Buffalo exhibition from the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Orlando, 10.4.

The South Florida Museum opens SITES The Evolving Universe exhibition in Bradenton, 10.25.

TEXAS

Affiliations director Harold Closter will announce the new affiliation with the Witte Museum in San Antonio, 10.7.

Affiliations director Harold Closter will announce the new affiliation with the Space Center Houston, 10/8.

MASSACHUSETTS

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Several Smithsonian staff members will attend the celebration to open Spark!Lab, an interactive exhibit and activity space resulting from a collaboration between the Berkshire Museum and the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, in Pittsfield, 10.10.

The Lowell National Historical Park will host an Innovators in Community Engagement Forum, including Sharon Reinckens from the Anacostia Community Museum, and fellow Affiliate, Cassie Chinn, from the Wing Luke Museum, in Lowell, 10.21-22.

SOUTH CAROLINA

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate hosts their first “Smithsonian Speaker Series” with a talk by fellow Affiliate Dr. Deborah Barnhart, CEO of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The Museum will also present public exhibition of student creations as part of the Smithsonian’s Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos astrophotography project, in Greenville, 10.28.

 

 

August 25, 2014

Affiliates in the news! September edition

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.

Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Cody, Wyoming)
True West Magazine Names Cody Firearms Museum in Annual Top Ten Museums List
“The Cody Firearms Museum dedication to excellence, and their mission of preserving and interpreting our great western history for all generations, is inspiring,” says True West Executive Editor Bob Boze Bell. “They keep the Old West alive.”

HistoryMiami (Miami, Florida)
Exhibit seeking items related to exodus out of Cuba
A new initiative by HistoryMiami and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is aiming to capture the experiences of both Cuban balseros, or rafters, as well as those of Cuban exiles in general: How they traveled here and what they found upon arrival.

This baby olinguito was found in a nest 40 feet above the ground in a large dead bromeliad tree. (Photo by Juan Rendon taken at the Mesenia-Paramillo Nature Reserve in Colombia, courtesy Saving Species)

This baby olinguito was found in a nest 40 feet above the ground in a large dead bromeliad tree. (Photo by Juan Rendon taken at the Mesenia-Paramillo Nature Reserve in Colombia, courtesy Saving Species)

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, North Carolina)
Crowdsourcing the Olinguito
“It’s kind of like looking at pictures of your growing child,” said Roland Kays, a zoologist at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences & N.C. State University. “You can see our knowledge about the species grow with every picture sent to us.”

San Diego Air & Space Museum (San Diego, California)
SD Air & Space Museum names eight new Hall of Famers
Joe Engle, Fitz Fulton, Bill Boeing Jr., John (Jack) Dailey, Roger Schaufele, Bessie Coleman, the Ninety-Nines and WD-40 will be inducted Nov. 1 in a celebration at the museum’s Pavilion of Flight in Balboa Park.

Union Station Kansas City (Kansas City, Missouri)
New Science City attraction: Smithsonian’s Spark!Lab designed for inventive young minds
The rejuvenation of Science City at Union Station continues with the opening Tuesday of Spark!Lab, an interactive area intended to inspire kids to be inventive using simple materials. The idea is the property of the Smithsonian Institution’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and is only the second one in the United States outside Washington, D.C.

 

Ten-year-olds Peyton Carter of Kansas City (left) and Ethan Guo of Overland Park worked together together to build a course for a marble to roll along and make sounds while it moved. JILL TOYOSHIBA/The Kansas City Star

Ten-year-olds Peyton Carter of Kansas City (left) and Ethan Guo of Overland Park worked together together to build a course for a marble to roll along and make sounds while it moved. JILL TOYOSHIBA/The Kansas City Star

Young scientists get hands-on learning experience at new Spark!Lab
Hands-on learning is one of the best ways to learn. Now there’s a Spark!Lab dedicated to doing just that. There are only three in the world. Lucky for metro residents, one is located right here in Kansas City at Union Station.

National Atomic Testing Museum (Las Vegas, Nevada)
The nuclear story told at National Atomic Testing Museum, Las Vegas
In December 2011, the museum was designated as a national museum and is today affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. As part of the designation, the museum has shifted its focus from a regional museum to a national museum, dedicated to telling the country’s history of nuclear development.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Cincinnati’s Freedom Center sheds its chains of doubt
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center marks the 10th anniversary of its opening Sunday, celebrating a decade in which it survived derision, doubts and debt that nearly shut it down.

Berkshire Museum (Pittsfield, Massachusetts)
Berkshire Museum To Host Smithsonian Spark!Lab
This fall, the Berkshire Museum will become one of only five sites in the United States to host a new kind of innovative science learning exhibit developed by the Smithsonian Institute

Birthplace of Country Music Museum (Bristol, Tennessee)
Going Places: Birthplace of Country Music Museum definitely worth the trip to Bristol
An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the BCMM is dedicated to telling the story of the Bristol Sessions, the first commercially-successful recordings of country music.

The Birthplace of Country Museum Museum in Bristol, Tennessee

The Birthplace of Country Museum Museum in Bristol, Tennessee

Read:At The Cradle Of Country Music, A Monument You Can Hear As Well As See

Listen: NPR Weekend Edition Saturday

Birthplace of Country Music Museum Opens
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum is opening in Bristol, Virginia this weekend. Nashville may be the mecca of this music today, but as Johnny Cash himself put it, Bristol was the site of the ‘Big Bang’ that led to the universe of country music we know today.

Birthplace of Country Music Museum set to open
This Smithsonian-affiliated museum will open in a facility designed to engage the community regularly through programming and exhibits and is expected to draw visitors from around the world.

Grand Opening Of The Birthplace Of Country Music Museum In Bristol Is This Weekend
The Smithsonian Institution-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum is dedicated to preserve the legacy of the 1927 Bristol Sessions and their lasting influence on American popular music through interactive, multi-media exhibits, film, and more. Johnny Cash referred to the famous Sessions as “The single most important event in the history of country music.” Also known as the “Big Bang of Country Music,” the legendary recordings by Ralph Peer took country music to a new level and produced pioneers of the genre such as Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family.

Birthplace of Country Music Museum Opens in Bristol This Weekend
“The opening of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum is something that our community has been looking forward to for many years, and we take pride in giving our community something that celebrates our rich music heritage,” Leah Ross, the museum’s executive director, told Kingsport’s Times News.

Saving Our African American Treasures. Photo credit: Michael R. Barnes

Saving Our African American Treasures. Photo credit: Michael R. Barnes

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, Alabama)
Smithsonian and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to Present “Save Our African American Treasures” Sept. 6
“We are extremely proud of bringing ‘Save Our African American Treasures’ to Birmingham and of our partnership with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute,” said Lonnie Bunch, director of the Smithsonian museum.

July 23, 2013

Affiliates in the News! July 2013

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.

telluride

Telluride Historical Museum Executive Director Erica Kinias demonstrates the restored Pelton Wheel, which uses water to generate electricity. The museum was recently named a Smithsonian Affiliate. Photo by Heather Sackett.

Telluride Historical Museum (Telluride, Colorado)
Sharing History: Telluride Historical Museum named Smithsonian Affiliate
Telluride Historical Museum Chronicles Area Gold Rush to Ghost Town

South Dakota State Historical Society (Pierre, S.D.)
Museum of State Historical Society to Host Live Smithsonian Webcast on July 20
State Historical Society offers free videos

Mennello Museum of American Art (Orlando, FL)
‘Earl Cunningham’s Everglades’ at Mennello Museum

Kentucky Historical Society (Frankfort, KY)
Historical Society Joins Smithsonian Family
Kentucky Historical Society Now a Smithsonian Affiliate
KHS Set To Announce Smithsonian Partnership
Kentucky Historical Society forming affiliation with Smithsonian Institution

Elvis on the Southern Railroad between Chattanooga and Memphis, Tenn. July 4, 1956. © Alfred Wertheimer.

Elvis on the Southern Railroad between Chattanooga and Memphis, Tenn.
July 4, 1956. © Alfred Wertheimer.

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
History Center Exhibit explores Pennsylvania’s impact on the Civil War
Heinz History Center exhibition highlights Pa. role in Civil War
Center brings big guns to Pa. Civil War exhibit

Fort Worth Museum of Science and History (Fort Worth, TX)
Elvis in a history museum? Fort Worth photos are a swivel-hipping hit
Hanging Out with Elvis in Fort Worth
‘Elvis at 21’ exhibit at Fort Worth Science Museum proves interesting even for non-fans
Elvis at 21 delves into the puzzling nature of sex appeal, charisma, and intimacy

Berkshire Museum (Pittsfield, MA)
Berkshire Museum now a Smithsonian affiliate
Berkshire Museum becomes Smithsonian Affiliate, First Museum in Western MA to earn designation
Berkshire Museum named affiliate of Smithsonian Institution

David Ward of the National Portrait Gallery discusses a painting by Roger Shimomura.

David Ward of the National Portrait Gallery discusses a painting by Roger Shimomura at the Japanese American National Museum.

Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, CA)
A Self-portrait of Asian America: Smithsonian co-presents art exhibition at JANM
Seven citizens, seven stories: the performance “fighting for democracy” heads from Philly to DC
May Issue: First Asian American Exhibit Debuts at the Smithsonian

Schiele Museum of Natural History (Gastonia, NC)
Stay at home safari exhibit takes guests on tour of wild kingdom

Idaho Museum of Natural History (Pocatello, ID)
Digital Specimens

Miami Science Museum (Miami, FL)
2013 Smithsonian Online Education Conference Series Presents Two Sessions on Astrophotography

Mashantucket Pequot Museum (Mashantucket, CT)
Ramp It Up! Skateboard Exhibit Moves to Pequot Museum

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