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October 14, 2014

road report: the smithsonian in sunny california

On the road in sunny California!

On the road in sunny California!

Three and a half days, 559 miles and visits to eight Smithsonian Affiliates in southern California, only just begins to describe my recent trip to the west coast.  I had traveled to Los Angeles to attend the opening event for Cahuilla Continuum: Túku, Ívax, Túleka, the Riverside Metropolitan Museum’s exhibition telling the story of a Southern California Native people, the Cahuilla.  This gave me the welcome opportunity of visiting the Smithsonian Affiliates in and surrounding Los Angeles.  The following is a recap of my whirlwind tour.

Cerritos Library

Cerritos Library

I should start by saying that with 23 Smithsonian Affiliates, California has more Smithsonian Affiliates than any other state in the union.  Most states have three or four (and we have yet to Affiliate with a few states) but the diversity of California’s cultural landscape is certainly well represented in our west coast partners.

Cerritos Library, is a library (and Smithsonian Affiliate) like few others.  There is an aquarium, reading labs, exhibition spaces and an art collection. It was terrific to see the community using this resource so thoroughly.

laplaza_garden

The garden at LA Plaza through the grey metal gates.

On day 2, I visited LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, a wonderful space in a historic building- often so rare in the west.  The garden takes advantage of the hot California sun to teach students about nutrition and agriculture.

The Apollo Boilerplate at Columbia Memorial Space Center, on loan from the National Air and Space Museum.

The Apollo Boilerplate at Columbia Memorial Space Center, on loan from the National Air and Space Museum.

In the afternoon, I visited the Columbia Memorial Space Center, home to an Apollo “Boilerplate,” on loan from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.  Then I headed towards northeast toward Alta Loma to visit one of our newest Smithsonian Affiliates, the Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts.  The visit to this woodworker artist’s home gave me a better understanding of the huge impact his work has had in the art world.

Here I am in a Sam Maloof chair.

Here I am in a Sam Maloof chair.

The next day, my morning began with a visit to a school on an Indian reservation; the Riverside Metropolitan Museum had brought two scholars from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian as part of their annual Smithsonian Week in Riverside.  The students asked great questions and shared their own experiences with the visitors from DC.  We stopped in at the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum in Palm Springs, also a Smithsonian Affiliate, to see their latest exhibition, Through You, Our Ancient Leaders, We Became: Birth of the Agua Caliente Band.

Michael Hammond, Director of Agua Caliente Cultural Museum and Sarah Mundy, Director of Riverside Metropolitan Museum in front of the display case holding the artifacts on loan from the National Museum of the American Indian.

Michael Hammond, Director of Agua Caliente Cultural Museum and Sarah Mundy, Director of Riverside Metropolitan Museum in front of the display case holding the artifacts on loan from the National Museum of the American Indian.

On the last day of my visit I

Students explore study collections after Jill Norwood and Emil Her Many Horses from the National Museum of the American Indian spoke to students during Smithsonian Week in Riverside.

Students explore study collections after Jill Norwood and Emil Her Many Horses from the National Museum of the American Indian spoke to students during Smithsonian Week in Riverside.

stopped in on two Affiliates: Millard Sheets Art Center in Pomona and the Western Science Center in Hemet, both doing great work connecting their communities with educational resources.  I ended my day with the event that had brought me to California: the Riverside Metropolitan Museum was celebrating the opening of their Cahuilla Continuum exhibition, which included three artifacts from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.  They were deservedly proud of their work and we were proud of the wonderful partnership between Riverside (and all of the terrific Affiliates in California) and the Smithsonian.

September 28, 2011

kudos affiliates! october 2011

Way to go Affiliates!

Saginaw Art Museum (Saginaw, Michigan) has received a $15,000 Michigan District Grant from the Macy’s Foundation to continue to host “Macy’s Free Fridays” through 2012. This program is a collaborative effort to make the arts more accessible to the diverse people and organizations of the Great Lakes Bay Region.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announced the Museum of American Finance (New York, New York) received $100,000 to install a climate-control system as part of the federal funding received by the corporation.

Pratt & Whitney donated $1 million dollars to the National World War II Museum (New Orleans, Louisiana) to help tell the story of America’s experience in the war that changed the world. In addition, the company is donating a Twin Wasp R-1830-90D, an engine that powered several different World War II aircraft.

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes (Los Angeles, California) announced the Pepsico Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to the museum to benefit the Plaza’s Edible Teaching Garden and Culinary Arts program. The program will offer educational demonstrations and cooking lessons in the effort to encourage physical activity, healthy food choices and educate participants on the cultural history of Mexican and Mexican American cuisine.

The Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, Michigan) received a $200,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to fund two projects–one, the exhibit “Little Syria,” a neighborhood of early 20th century New York City; the other, an environmental project for youth in the U.S. and Jordan.

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) received an $88,738 grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission to fund a two-year project to describe and provide access to more than 600 archival collections. In addition, the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County board awarded a $250,000 grant to the Center to help buy a $1.3 million vacant building for an artifacts storage facility and conservation center.

Ellen Noël Art Museum (Odessa, Texas) was awarded a Heritage Tourism Partnership Grant by the Texas Historical Commission to fund the installation of promotional and museum signage in Odessa.

 

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.  

 

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