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October 31, 2011

“It’s more than just an instrument.” Smithsonian cultural specialist travels to Charlotte, NC, for Native American Heritage Celebration

I met Dennis Zotigh (Kiowa/Ohkay Owingeh/Santee Dakota), museum cultural specialist at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), after he had finished a short performance in the rotunda at the museum. He had begun softly beating the drum and as it grew louder, heads appeared over the railings three floors up and visitors gathered from all over the museum. 

Dennis Zotigh at the National Museum of the American Indian.

 “There’s a technique in this.  It’s more than an instrument. It’s an embodiment of the human spirit and it speaks from spirit to spirit.  There is a natural progression that is not evident unless you know it’s happening,” said Zotigh. “I start very low and the louder it gets, people back up and a natural circle is made around the instrument drawing people all over to gather in the circle.”  

People in mid-conversation, couples arguing, and even children playing in the hallway naturally stopped to focus on his drumming. “It’s soothing. It speaks to them. And for just a few moments, they leave their problems. The drum is more than just an aesthetic piece. It’s an embodiment of the heartbeat of the Indian culture,” said Zotigh after the performance. 

Most days you can find Zotigh in the hallways and galleries at NMAI where he’s engaging with visitors and teaching them about Native American culture. He’s been asked everything from the most basic to the most scholarly of questions and is eager to share his knowledge with anyone.  A performer all his life, Zotigh has traveled all over the world performing for multicultural audiences and oftentimes introducing them to something they’ve never been aware of before. 

Zotigh performing a Hoop Dance in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

This November you can find Zotigh at The Charlotte Museum of History (CMH), a Smithsonian Affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he’ll be participating in the 3rd Annual American Indian Heritage Month Celebration. Never having been to Charlotte, Zotigh was invited by a former Smithsonian Affiliations Intern Partner, Brandie Macdonald (Choctaw/Chickasaw), whom he met while she interned in the Education Department at NMAI during the summer of 2011. At the CMH, Macdonald is Education and Volunteer Coordinator and has already taken the practical experience she learned on the national level from the Smithsonian and translated it to successful programming on the state level for docents and CMH’s educational programs. Zotigh’s appearance at the American Indian Heritage Month Celebration also coincides with the exhibition Native Words, Native Warriors, organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, and currently on view at CMH.

At the American Indian Heritage Month Celebration, Zotigh will be participating in a blessing of the grounds, a hoop dance workshop, hand drum demonstration and a performance called “Musical Journey Through Indian Country: Diverse Songs from Alaska to Florida.”  He’s spoken before queens, attorney generals, heads of state, presidents, university students, and children with the goal of crossing cultural divides and reaching out to communities.  When he’s not traveling, Zotigh continues the conversation on his blog, Beyond FAQ: Let’s Talk, at NMAI. 

**Smithsonian Affiliates interested in bringing Smithsonian speakers like Dennis Zotigh to their neighborhoods should contact their Smithsonian Affiliations National Outreach Manager for more information.**

October 24, 2011

coming up in affiliateland in november 2011

ILLINOIS:
The National Museum of Natural History’s David Hunt will be the keynote speaker at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana Spurlock Museum’s 100th anniversary celebration in Champaign, 11/1.

NEW MEXICO:
The City of Las Cruces Museum System will host SITES’ NASA | ART: 50 Years of Exploration in Las Cruces, 11/4.

CALIFORNIA:
Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden speaks about his book, Falling to Earth, at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, 11/4.

The Sonoma County Museum will host SITES’ Singgalot: The Ties that Bind in Santa Rosa, 11/12.

MARYLAND:
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture will host two SITES exhibitions –  IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas and Beyond Baseball:The Life of Roberto Clemente, opening in Baltimore, 11/5.

NORTH CAROLINA:
The National Museum of American Indian’s Dennis Zotigh will present a workshop and lecture at the Charlotte Museum of History in Charlotte, 11/5.

The Greensboro Historical Museum will host a lecture from the Smithsonian Associates in Greensboro, 11/7.

ALABAMA:
The Anniston Museum of Natural History celebrates its 10th Anniversary as a Smithsonian Affiliate in Anniston, 11/10.

GEORGIA:
Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden speaks about his book, Falling to Earth, at the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, 11/11.

NEW YORK:
Richard Kurin, Smithsonian Under Secretary for History, Art, Culture, will present a lecture about the Hope Diamond at the Museum of American Finance in New York, 11/15.

 

September 26, 2011

coming up in affiliateland in october 2011

Autumn is always a busy time in Affiliateland!  Hope you can catch one of these opportunities to experience the Smithsonian in your hometown.

KENTUCKY:
The Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion architectural model, on loan from the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute, is on view at the Headley-Whitney Museum in Lexington, through 3/2012.

WASHINGTON:
Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden will be speaking about his book Falling to Earth at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, 10/8.

CONNECTICUT:
The Mashantucket Pequot Museum will open the IndiVisible exhibition, on loan from the National Museum of the American Indian, in Mashantucket, 10/8.

NEW YORK:
Smithsonian National Board member Abby Joseph Cohen will speak at the Museum of American Finance in New York, 10/13.

LOUISIANA:
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art will be celebrating their 10th anniversary as an affiliate in New Orleans, 10/15.

ARIZONA:
The Arizona State  Museum will open the Through the Eyes of the Eagle, an exhibition developed by Affiliate the David J. Sencer CDC Museum) in Tucson, 10/15.

KANSAS:
Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden will be speaking about his book Falling to Earth at the Kansas Cosmophere in Hutchinson, 10/15.

MARYLAND:
Curator Michael Neufeld will lecture on the National Air and Space Museum Autobiography at the College Park Aviation Museum in College Park, 10/15.

MASSACHUSETTS:
The USS Constitution Museum will be announcing their affiliation at a Launching Party in Boston, 10/20.

GEORGIA:
Dr. David W. Penney, Associate Director for Museum Scholarship at the National Museum of the American Indian, will present a talk on historic Native American objects at the Southeastern Cowboy Festival at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, 10/21.

NORTH CAROLINA:
The Charlotte Museum of History will open SITES’ Native Words, Native Warriors exhibition in Charlotte, 10/22.

SOUTH CAROLINA:
Affiliations staff will be on a panel with colleagues from the Headley-Whitney Museum, the Museum of Arts and Sciences, Tellus Science Museum, and York County Culture and Heritage Museums at the Southeastern Museum  Conference in Greenville, 10/25-27.

 

 

August 25, 2011

SITES’ corner

By Ed Liskey, Senior Scheduling & Exhibitor Relations Coordinator, Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service

We’d like to share some of the great experiences Affiliate museums have had hosting SITES exhibitions this past summer.  When will you get your SITES on? 

Native Words, Native Warriors at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum

The Wisconsin Maritime Museum (Manitowoc, WI) is hosting SITES’ Native Words, Native Warriors, from July 23- October 2, 2011. It’s the remarkable story of Indian soldiers from more than a dozen tribes who used their Native languages in the service of the U.S. military.

Museum Educator Wendy Lutzke reports that the museum has made  interesting historical connections between the exhibition and its World War II submarine, the USS Cobia.  The Cobia is the largest artifact in the museum’s collection, and is moored right outside the gallery.  “While researching the history of the Code Talkers in the Pacific, intern Nick Oswald found that both the Code Talkers and the crew of the USS Cobia had a direct impact on the outcome of the battle of Iwo Jima.  Code Talkers revealed deceptive Japanese communications that mimicked those sent by the Allies, while the crew of the USS Cobia destroyed two Japanese vessels, one of which was carrying tanks intended for Iwo Jima.” 

Native Words, Native Warriors at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum

In September, the museum will feature Oneida Nation historian Loretta Metoxen, to speak on the Oneida’s contribution to the Code Talker Program.  A medal recognizing the Oneida individuals involved in the program will be struck by the U.S. Mint later this fall. 

The Charlotte Museum of History (Charlotte, NC) hosted SITES’ Becoming American:  Teenagers & Immigration exhibition April 23 – July 17, 2011, and visitors loved every minute of it.  Photographer Barbara Beirne’s images capture first-generation immigrants and children of immigrants, revealing a diverse array of teenage responses to the immigrant experience.

Becoming American installation at The Charlotte Museum of History

 Exhibits Manager Lee Goodan reported that “the Museum actively works to engage the diverse community of the Charlotte/Mecklenburg region, home to many immigrants from other areas of the world and transplants from around the country. The stories of Becoming American reflect the diverse make-up of the area, and provide compelling examples of finding identity with migration. As we explore the theme of home within our institution, this exhibition illustrated the challenges and opportunities of finding and remembering ‘home.’ The focus on teenagers provided us the opportunity to create a successful program for high school students. Based on visitor feedback, the content resonated with our visitors who identified with the stories or found the exhibition insightful on a topic with which they were not personally familiar.”

Becoming American high school program at The Charlotte Museum of History

 Ms. Goodan continued:  “It was an excellent exhibition- compelling, thought-provoking, and directly presented. The primary strength of the exhibition was that it seemed to be very effective at evoking responses- either intellectual or emotional- from visitors. Based on comments left in the exhibition response book, we received more comments of a personal or substantive nature than usual. Some included political or social commentary, some shared personal experience with immigration, and some simply noted that they had been touched or affected by the stories.”

Farmers, Warriors, Builders a the South Florida Museum

The South Florida Museum and Parker Manatee Aquarium (Bradenton, FL) is currently hosting Farmers, Warriors, Builders:  The Hidden Life of Ants, on view through October 9, 2011.  More than 140 guests got buggy with entomology family fun on Saturday, August 6 at a “Family Night” program at the museum.  Hands-on crafts, a cartoon movie about the critters, and a scavenger hunt through the museum including the Farmers, Warriors, Builders exhibition all made the event a huge hit.

The museum team is thrilled about another exhibition-related event with Dr. Mark Moffett, the world-renowned ant expert, award-winning photographer, and Smithsonian Research Associate whose work is featured in the exhibition.  On September 29, he will present “Adventures Among Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions” based on his newest book of the same title. “We are thrilled to bring such a witty, experienced, renowned scientist and real-life adventurer to our community,” said Brynne Anne Besio, Executive Director. “This fascinating exhibition and the chance to meet Dr. Moffett represent such a unique opportunity for our members and the general public to learn from a modern-day explorer.”

Please visit our website to learn more about all of our exhibitions that will help you get your SITES on.

The Affiliate flag in the Becoming American installation at the Charlotte Museum of History

 

 

 

June 29, 2011

SITES in your neighborhood this summer!

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

Marine radio messengers on their way to Okinawa, Japan, 1945. Left to right: Private First Class Joe Hosteen Kelwood (Navajo), Steamboat Canyon, AZ; Pvt. Floyd Saupitty (Comanche), Lawton, OK; and Private First Class Alex Williams (Navajo), Leupp, AZ. Courtesy U.S. Marine Corps.

July 23 – October 2, 2011
Wisconsin Maritime Museum (Manitowoc, Wisconsin)
Native Words, Native Warriors
Native Words, Native Warriors
tells the remarkable story of Indian soldiers from more than a dozen tribes who used their Native languages in the service of the U.S. military. Developed with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, this inspiring exhibition was made possible in part thanks to the generous support of Elizabeth Hunter Solomon. Additional support has been provided by the Smithsonian Women’s Committee and the AMB Foundation.

July 30 – October 9, 2011
South Florida Museum and Parker Manatee Aquarium (Bradenton, Florida)
Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants
Small yet abundant, with complex and wildly diverse lifestyles, ants are everywhere, living lives mostly hidden from our view. What if we could see into their world…on their level? What would we learn? What parallels could we draw between them and us? Now, with the aid of a macro lens and the insights of ant expert and photographer Dr. Mark Moffett, SITES and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History present the world of ants.

August 13 – October 16, 2011
The Charlotte Museum of History (Charlotte, North Carolina)
Singgalot: (The Ties That Bind) Filipinos in America, from Colonial Subjects to Citizens
After tracing the first trans-oceanic trade missions between Manila and Acapulco in the 1500s, Singgalot explores the tenuous political relationship between the United States and the Philippines, when Spain ceded the Pacific-island following the Spanish-American War. Rarely seen historical images detail Filipino migration between 1906 and 1935 as Hawai’i sugar plantations, West Coast farms, and Alaskan canneries recruited Asians to join the labor force. When the U.S. government sounded the call to arms in the 1940s, Filipino immigrants answered, serving as infantrymen and earning respect from a grateful nation. Nearly 20 years later, the 1965 Immigration Act hastened a third major wave of Filipinos who would champion major changes in gender equality and class in the Filipino American community and make significant contributions to the fight for civil rights.

Singglot documents the achievements of contemporary Filipino Americans. In 2000, Navy Captain Eleanor “Connie” Mariano, Medical Corps, was promoted to Rear Admiral, the highest military rank occupied by a Filipino American. Courtesy Filipinas Magazine.

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

March 27, 2011

coming up in Affiliateland in April 2011

Hello spring!   Like the cherry blossoms in D.C., activities at Affiliates are budding all over the country in April.

MARYLAND:
The
Smithsonian Associates presents a public tour, “The Birthplace of American Railroading,” at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museumin Baltimore, 4/2.

The B & O Museum will also open The War Came by Train, an exhibition commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, and featuring the 1851 Pioneer locomotive, on loan from the National Museum of American History and recently restored by the B & O Museum, 4/14.

National Museum of American History curator Nancy Davis will serve on the jury panel for the upcoming Supersize exhibition at Annmarie Garden, 4/8.

COLORADO:
NASM curator Michael Neufeld will give a public lecture and book signing for the National Air and Space Museum: An Autobiography at the Littleton Museum in Littleton, 4/6.  

VIRGINIA:
National Museum of Natural History curator Doug Owlsey will present the keynote lecture for the VMNH Foundation Thomas Jefferson Awards at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville, 4/8.

PENNSYLVANIA:
Smithsonian Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture Dr. Richard Kurin will present a 10th Affiliate Anniversary Plaque to the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh at their annual History Makers Award Dinner, 4/8.

CALIFORNIA:
Riverside Metropolitan Museum will feature a modern quilt on loan from the National Museum of the American Indian in its upcoming exhibition American Indian Women Artists: Beyond Craft, opening in Riverside, 4/7.

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes will celebrate the opening of their new building with an exhibition including artifacts on loan from the National Museum of American History in Los Angeles, 4/15.

NEW YORK:
National Postal Museum curator Cheryl Ganz will present a public lecture, “Fan Dancing and Fan Belts: Selling Optimism at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair” at The Long Island Museum of American Art, History & Carriages in Stony Brook, 4/10.

NORTH CAROLINA:
The Charlotte Museum of History opens SITES’ Becoming American: Teenagers and Immigration exhibition in Charlotte, 4/23.

FLORIDA:
The South Florida Museum and Parker Manatee Aquarium opens SITES’ Farmers, Warriors, Builders:  The Hidden Life of Ants exhibition in Bradenton, 4/30.  

March 5, 2011

SITES in your neighborhood this spring

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

This 1929 photo shows P.E. Allen of the White House police force, trainer Harry Waters, and some of the White House dogs, although not Herbert Hoover’s personal favorite, King Tut. Photo by Herbert E. French, National Photo Company. Library of Congress.

March 19- May 29, 2011
Orange County Regional History Center(Orlando, Florida)
The Working White House: Two Centuries of Traditions and Memories
Two centuries of stories and traditions are preserved in this exhibition, developed with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and the White House Historical Association. Archival and contemporary images, videos, as well as fascinating oral histories of workers who have served presidents from William Taft through George W. Bush convey the occupational culture of this private yet public place.

Judith Jamison in “Cry,” 1976, Max Waldman (1919 - 1981), National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Gift of Carol Greunke, Max Waldman Archives.

March 26 – June 19, 2011
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits
This inaugural exhibition of photographic portraits of African Americans explores the medium’s influential role in shaping public identity and individual notions of race and status over the past 150 years. The portrait subjects come from many sectors of the African American community, from Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and Edmonia Lewis, to W.E.B. Du Bois, Lorraine Hansberry, and Wynton Marsalis.

Portrait from Becoming American: Teenagers and Immigration. Photographs © Barbara Beirne

April 23 – July 17, 2011
The Charlotte Museum of History (Charlotte, North Carolina)
Becoming American: Teenagers & Immigration, Photographs by Barbara Beirne
In many ways, ours is a nation of immigrants—hungry for freedom, peace, and the opportunity promised by the American Dream. The realities of that immigrant experience are most vividly read in the faces and words of young people who have made this journey. In this exhibition, each sensitive portrait is paired with excerpts from Beirne’s interviews with teens from Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. All of their stories are unique, and we read in every quote—and in every face—the individual struggles and hopes of “becoming American.”

Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants.

April 30 – July 10, 2011
South Florida Museum and Parker Manatee Aquarium (Bradenton, Florida)
Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants
Small yet abundant, with complex and wildly diverse lifestyles, ants are everywhere, living lives mostly hidden from our view. What if we could see into their world…on their level? What would we learn? What parallels could we draw between them and us? Now, with the aid of a macro lens and the insights of ant expert and photographer Dr. Mark Moffett, SITES and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History present the world of ants.

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

Beyond Baseball: The Life of Roberto Clemente, at Challenger Learning Center of Arizona (Peoria, Arizona), through April 17, 2011.

Jim Henson’s Fantastic World, at Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences (Peoria, Illinois), through May 1, 2011.

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

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