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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.

 

 

June 22, 2011

see for yourself: a conference adventure

Many thanks to Natalie DeRiso, Community Programs Manager at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for this guest blog post. 

As I sat down to write this blog post about attending my first annual Smithsonian Affiliations Conference, I tried to take mental stock of all the amazing things I wanted to talk about. I hemmed and hawed for a few days trying to decide what would be the most interesting to everyone reading. I thought about all I had learned just from the other attendees: the absolutely marvelous space camp program at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson; or the fact that Museum of the Rockies in Montana has one of the best dinosaur collections in the world including 12 T-Rex skeletons. There is a fabulous new facility, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, with a hands-on room that allows artists of all levels to try out instruments from around the world; and that the Las Cruces Museum System in New Mexico is way ahead of schedule in creating a new LEED-certified facility for their Science and History Museum. In fact I could probably fill multiple posts talking about all of the creative, brilliant people I met at the conference.

I could also go on for ages about the conference itself. The Smithsonian’s focus on education was invigorating, especially for a community program manager in the education department of her museum, the Heinz History Center. Every session I attended gave me something new to chew on, and pushed me to move out of my comfort zone when thinking about education in my community programs. I had a light bulb go off at one point on the most basic aspect of my job, and was slightly embarrassed that I hadn’t thought of it before!

Behind the Scenes in the paleobiology department in the National Museum of Natural History

In the end though probably the coolest thing I got to do was go behind the scenes at the National Museum of Natural History. The session itself was about the loan process for the museum. It was great to hear the insiders’ view of the loan process, and also to see that all institutions, big and small, are facing the same issues when it comes to their artifacts and archives. But for a kid who dreamed of being an archaeologist or paleontologist from a young age (I wasn’t picky, I just wanted to dig stuff up, preferably in the desert), it was mind-blowingly cool to have Kathy Hollis, Collections Manager for the Paleobiology Department, casually point out the triceratops skull we were passing.

Sometimes, in the day-to-day of museum life, we can lose track of what makes our jobs so cool. Budgets, strategic plans and meetings, while important, have a tendency to weigh heavily on us and keep us up at night. It’s easy to lose perspective, but looking into the skull of a dinosaur can certainly knock you back down to earth. We get the chance to work with amazing collections, to hear and tell remarkable stories and sometimes, on those most treasured days, it really is like being Indiana Jones.

Conference attendees snap pictures of a kited salmon at breakfast at the National Museum of the American Indian

So in the end, that’s what my blog post is all about. The conference helped breath new life into me; it gave me the much-needed opportunity to remember why I went into this field. Maybe that’s a little cheesy but what else would you expect from a girl whose ring tone is still Raiders of the Lost Ark ?

 

February 25, 2011

affiliates help smithsonian and MIT solve mysteries

Helping the Smithsonian solve a mystery about a fictitious environmental disaster – doesn’t that sound like fun?

A preview look at the Vanished site, a curated alternate-reality game

Smithsonian scientists have teamed up with MIT’s Education Arcade to engage middle-school students to do just that, in an online alternate-reality game.   Vanished will kick off on April 4 at vanished.mit.edu.  In the course of 8 weeks, students ages 11-14 from all over the country will collect clues on- and off-line, and form a scientific community to help Smithsonian scientists test hypotheses and solve this mystery.  Thanks to the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies, a range of scientists from entomologists to paleontologists will host videoconference sessions with players, mentoring them through their scientific discoveries.  (Read more in this USA Today article.)

Where will students collect the real data from their hometowns, to share with Smithsonian scientists?  Many will look to their local Affiliate for clues.  According to MIT game designer Caitlin Feeley, “a kid in Kansas could go to the Kansas Cosmosphere in Hutchinson and bring back information on space exploration, and a kid in North Carolina could go to the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, walk through their incredible diorama, and bring back information on how a lost species massively affected an entire ecosystem.”  In fact, 17 Affiliate museums are partnering with the Smithsonian and MIT to offer clue-gathering opportunities for gamers.  “The Aerospace Museum of California is excited to partner with the Smithsonian and MIT in this unique educational opportunity,” says Linda Payne, the Museum’s Education Director.  “We are certain that Vanished will stimulate students’ interest in scientific exploration and problem solving.”

The game, made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation, hopes to capitalize on the popularity of shows such as CSI to offer a specific kind of scientific problem-solving for students.  “The kids are actually doing science,” says Elizabeth Cottrell, Smithsonian geologist and director of the Smithsonian’s global volcanism program.  “They are going to have the ‘Ah, I get it,”… moment for themselves.”

Thanks to the Smithsonian Affiliates who will help students find those “Ah hah” moments… right in their own neighborhoods.

Affiliate partners for Vanished:
Mid-America Science Museum, Hot Springs, AR
Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science, Tallahassee, FL
Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, WY
Kansas Cosmosphere, Hutchinson, KS
The Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA
Schiele Museum of Natural History, Gastonia, NC
Aerospace Museum of California, McClellan, CA
Putnam Museum, Davenport, IA
Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh, PA
South Florida Museum, Bradenton, FL
Virginia Museum of Natural History, Martinsville, VA
Kenosha Public Museum, Kenosha, WI
Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, MT
Museum of Dentistry, Baltimore, MD
South Carolina State Museum, Columbia, SC

“Vanished” in the news:
USA Today: Interactive game ‘Vanished’ doubles as an educational tool

ArtDaily.org: Smithsonian and MIT Partner to Turn Kids into Scientific Investigators

May 28, 2010

affiliates in the news: week of May 24

Congratulations to Affiliates making news this week!

 

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem (NY, NY)
NYC seeks developer to build new home for National Jazz Museum in Harlem

City looking to build Jazz Museum in Harlem

Charlotte Museum of History (Charlotte, NC)
Charlotte Museum of History announces new president & CEO

History museum names new leader

Buffalo Bill Historical Center (Cody, WY)
Buffalo Bill Museum finally gets its turn

Cody tourism looks good in 2010

National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium (Dubuque, IA)
MUSEUM & AQUARIUM EXPANSION TO OPEN JUNE 26, 2010

 

Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center (Hutchinson, KS)
Hutchinson, Kansas – Salt Mines and Space Museum

New York State Museum (Albany, NY)
Researchers learn about role of bees in tropical ecosystems using radio transmitters

First radio tracking of tropical orchid bees

February 5, 2010

affiliates in the news: week of Feb 1

Congratulations to these Affiliates making headlines this week!

broganlogo_smMary Brogan Museum of Art and Science (Tallahassee, FL)
Lectures planned for Kinsey Collection at Brogan

csc-logo


California Science Center
(Los Angeles, CA)
AFT, NEA Offer Black History Month Teaching Tools


mhs_072logo5_08Montana Historical Society
(Helena, MT)
Historical Society exhibit honors Indian soldiers
Smithsonian exhibit on Native soldiers will tour Montana reservations


Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center
(Hutchinson, KS)Click to visit the Cosmosphere
Heritage area wins state tourism grant
Cosmosphere to receive tourism grant money
Tourism projects receive funding


Click to visit MOLAAMuseum of Latin American Art
(Long Beach, CA)
MOLAA Gets $100k Getty Grant To Host Exhibit In 2011

September 26, 2009

On the Road Again

Mountain Plains Museum Association

Ahhh... Cheyenne

It’s fall conference time again. Look for Affiliations staff at these events this fall.  Let us know if you’ll be there too!

October 6: Smithsonian Affiliations Director, Harold Closter, will be at the Mountain-Plains Museum Association Conference in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He’s chairing a session called “Pard’ners: A Smithsonian in Your Community” which includes presenters from Affiliates Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, Littleton Historical Museum, and the Durham Museum.

October 24: National Outreach Manager, Laura Hansen, will be at the Western Museum Association’s annual meeting in San Diego, California.

November 11: National Outreach Manager, Jennifer Brundage will be at the New England Museum Association’s annual conference in Nashau, New Hampshire.

See you in YOUR neighborhood! 

 

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