August 26, 2016

coming up in affiliateland in september 2016

Plenty of activity around the Affiliate network and the Smithsonian as school starts back up again.

WASHINGTON, DC
Presented jointly by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Affiliate, the Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts (Alta Loma, CA), the symposium “Furniture and the Future,” will  celebrate the centennial of Sam Maloof’s birth, at the American Art Museum, 9.16.

maincolorlogoVTMASSACHUSETTS
Affiliations director Harold Closter will be on hand to announce the Smithsonian’s new affiliation with the Springfield Museums, and will kick off Smithsonian Week in Springfield.  National Air and Space Museum scientist John Grant will give a lecture on moving the rovers around Mars.  Archives of American Art curator Mary Savig will present a talk on artists’ handwritten letters from their collection, and early education specialist Carrie Heflin will lead a children’s storytime and gallery exploration around transportation, in Springfield, 9.17-24.

FLORIDA
National Museum of Natural History educator Dr. Briana Pobiner will present a talk on prehistoric human diets on 9.17 at the Museum of Arts and Sciences, followed a few days later by two concerts on bop pianist Horace Silver by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, in Daytona, 9.24.

NATIONWIDE

The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture will open in Washington on September 24.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will open in Washington on September 24.


More than 50 Affiliates will take part in Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Live!, opening their facilities for free as part of this national initiative to invite communities into their local museums and cultural organizations, 9.24.

Multiple Affiliates across the country will help the Smithsonian celebrate the opening of its new museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture.  Check their website for details on events, dates and locations, 9.24.

 

February 22, 2016

what’s up in Affiliateland in March 2016

CONNECTICUT
Roger Connor, Curator at the National Air and Space Museum, will present a talk on “By the Stars to Victory: Making Aerial Celestial Navigation Practical Between the World Wars” as part of the Stars of the Smithsonian lecture series at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, 3.3.

PENNSYLVANIA
The traveling exhibition Toys of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s opens at the Heinz History Center with two artifact loans from the National Museum of American History – a toy computer from 1965 and a vintage Mr. Potato Head, in Pittsburgh, 3.4.

NATIONWIDE
Over 40 Affiliates nationwide will take place in the special edition of Museum Day Live!, offering free admission and special programming on 3.12.

Carla Dove, Program Manager at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology

Carla Dove, Program Manager at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology

NORTH CAROLINA
Carla Dove, forensic ornithologist at the National Museum of Natural History, will explain to visitors her job in identifying what types of birds collide with airplanes, and how that helps to make aviation a safer industry at the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte, 3.12.

NEW MEXICO
Jeffrey Post, Curator at the National Museum of Natural History, will present a talk on the American gemstone jewelry collection at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque, 3.15.

IDAHO
The Idaho Museum of Natural History opens SITES Titanoboa: Monster Snake exhibition in Pocatello, 3.19.

Briana Pobiner of the National Museum of Natural History holds a hominid skull.

Briana Pobiner of the National Museum of Natural History holds a hominid skull.

MASSACHUSETTS
Dr. Briana Pobiner, educator at the National Museum of Natural History, will present a talk on “Ancient Appetites: What Our Ancestors Really Ate and How We Know” at Framingham State University in Framingham, 3.21.

Affiliates in the news: March edition

Congrats to these Affiliates making news!  If you have a clipping that highlights a collaboration with the Smithsonian or with a fellow Affiliate, or a clipping that demonstrates leadership in education, innovation, and arts/culture/history/science you’d like to have considered for the Affiliate blog, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee.

A Boa constrictor skull is scaled up to the same size as Titanoboa and compared to a human skeleton using 3-D tech in the IVL. Render courtesy of Jesse Pruitt.

A Boa constrictor skull is scaled up to the same size as Titanoboa and compared to a human skeleton using 3-D tech in the IVL. Render courtesy of Jesse Pruitt.

Idaho Museum of Natural History (Pocatello, ID)
Idaho Museum of Natural History uses 3-D technology to bring Titanoboa monster snake to life
“Having the opportunity for something I made to go along with something the Smithsonian created is personally very cool,” Schlader said. “Not to mention the fact that the University of Florida made the scans of the fossil available so we can print it and actually hold a copy of a piece of this snake is just amazing.”

The Museum of Flight (Seattle, WA) and Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor (Ford Island, HI)
12 Museums for the Aviation Enthusiast

Hagley Museum and Library (Wilmington, DE)
Hagley Now Has World’s Largest Private Collection of Patent Models
The Rothschild Patent Model Collection of 4,101 one-of-a-kind models — going alphabetically from an adjustable pillow sham to a wrestling toy — builds upon 849 patent models already at Hagley and the early innovations and patents from the DuPont Company.

Space Center Houston (Houston, TX)
Space Center Houston Drives Greater Houston Economy With More Jobs
“The museum plays a vital role in the region by bringing tourism dollars and stimulating the workforce,” said the center’s President and CEO Richard E. Allen Jr. “Globally, it is inspiring creativity and innovation in people from all over the world. With our hands-on educational programs, we’re exciting young minds and inspiring them to think about a possible future career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

Photo courtesy Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum.

Photo courtesy Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum.

Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum (Miami, FL)
Remember ‘Pac-Man’? Museum exhibit has fun with classic video games
Video games have scored their way into one South Florida art museum. Atari, PlayStation and other home systems are the main players of “The Art of Video Games” exhibit at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum Florida International University in Miami.

‘Art of Video Games’ on exhibit now at the Frost Art Museum
One take-away Rodriguez hopes students visiting the exhibit will go home with is that the museum is a fun, exciting place that asks a question: what is the role of art in your life?

FROST ART MUSEUM PRESENTS THE ULTIMATE MAN-CAVE EXPERIENCE: “THE ART OF VIDEO GAMES” EXHIBITION
On March 16, 2012, “The Art of Video Games” opened at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. The exhibition is Melissinos’ homage to the world of Marios and Sonics. For the past three years, “The Art of Video Games” has been on a cross-country adventure visiting various museums. The final stop of the tour is Miami’s Frost Art Museum.

The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU opens “The Art of Video Games”
The Art of Video Games is one of the first major exhibitions to explore the 40-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking graphics, creative storytelling and player interactivity.

Smithsonian’s Video Game Exhibit Opens in Miami
Organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the exhibit and revolves around the 40-year evolution of video games, and their art expression.

The Art of Video Games” National Tour’s Final Stop in Miami
By teaming up with Florida International University’s Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum for The Art of Video Games exhibition as Presenting Sponsors, we have another great opportunity to be active in the community that is at the heart of Alienware,” said Frank Azor, General Manager of Alienware. “It was almost 20 years ago that Alienware started in Miami and even though we’ve evolved to a global community of gamers it’s great to have this incredible exhibit conclude in the South Florida community that’s been so instrumental in our success.”

A view of Above and Beyond, the new exhibit at the Saint Louis Science Center. Photo by Oscar Williams.

A view of Above and Beyond, the new exhibit at the Saint Louis Science Center. Photo by Oscar Williams.

Saint Louis Science Center (Saint Louis, MO)
Saint Louis Science Center unveils new exhibit
 “Above and Beyond” is produced by Evergreen Exhibitions in association with Boeing, in collaboration with NASA and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, and in educational collaboration with The Museum of Flight in Seattle.

Antique Automobile Club of America (Hershey, PA)
Pioneers in African American Automotive History at the AACA Museum
While learning the history, visitors can take the opportunity to assemble their own paper traffic signals, patented by Garrett Morgan, courtesy of the Western Reserve Historical Society.

Challenger Space Center Arizona (Peoria)
Challenger disaster: 30 years later
Inspired by and named for the lost shuttle, the Challenger Space Center in Peoria opened in July 2000. Affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution and the Challenger Learning Centers, it was the first stand-alone facility not only in Arizona, but in the entire Southwest.

 

January 28, 2016

Road Report: Smithsonian Dazzles in New Mexico

The beauty of the “Land of Enchantment” began gradually as the plane started its relatively smooth descent over the Sandia Mountains into Albuquerque, home of two Smithsonian Affiliates and the nature of my visit. As I drove to my first destination of the day-National Museum of Nuclear Science & History-I understood why the Sandia Mountains got its name as the reddish hue of the coming sunset came into view. (Sandia means watermelon.)

I arrived at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History to find Museum Director, Jim Walther, and Deputy Director, Greg Shuman, working tirelessly painting an exhibition space for the upcoming show “Art of the Reactor.” Jim extended me enough time to show some new collection additions, including a Delorean, which fit nicely in the “Pop Culture” gallery and explained how he has spent the past few days fielding media inquiries regarding the “hydrogen bomb” and its potential repercussions.

Chris highlights the Apollo Capsule (NASM) and details the story behind the lettering on the capsule.

Chris highlights the Apollo Capsule (NASM) and details the story behind the lettering on the capsule.

Friday, I woke up early to begin my three hour drive through southwestern New Mexico to Alamogordo, site of the New Mexico Museum of Space History and home to over 30 artifacts from the National Air and Space Museum (NASM). I found Chris Orwoll, Division Director, at the Museum Support Center, appraising a huge collection donation from California. Chris showed me the lunar rover from NASM and explained the details for the restoration project, scheduled to be completed in 2017. Chris took me to the main museum complex, located in the foothills of the Lincoln National Forest and provides a magnificent view of the Tularosa Basin, home of Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range. Chris highlights the Apollo Capsule (NASM) and details the story behind the lettering on the capsule.

The culmination of my visit ended with a series of events at one of our newest Affiliates-New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science for the opening of the “Post Diamond Tiara” exhibit. A year in the making, the Post Diamond Tiara, on loan from the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), was unveiled by new Executive Director, Margaret (Margie) Marino to the “oohs” and “aahs” of the excited crowd of volunteers, donors and general public. The events were capped with the formal presentation of Certificate of Affiliation. The Post Diamond Tiara excitement will continue on March 15, when NMNH curator, Jeffery Post, will present a lecture on this and other artifacts of the NMNH gem collection.

My flight home allowed me to reflect on my stay in New Mexico and as with so many other trips, I understood and appreciated all the hard work, energy and enthusiasm the Affiliate staff members put into maintaining and showcasing their partnership with the Smithsonian. The reward was seen on the faces of the visitors seeing a thousand glistening diamonds for the first time and an appreciative smile came across my face.

So if you find yourself in New Mexico or any of the other 44 states where Affiliates reside, I encourage you to stop in and put a smile on your face.

October 25, 2015

coming up in Affiliateland in November 2015

The fall season is in full swing with great events at Affiliates!

Watch a free webcast of the day-long symposium on the Puerto Rican Diaspora at http://museo.ut.pr/centro-de-estudios/puerto-rico-aqui-y-alla/

Watch a free webcast of the day-long symposium on the Puerto Rican Diaspora at http://museo.ut.pr/centro-de-estudios/puerto-rico-aqui-y-alla/

PUERTO RICO
The Museo y Centro de Estudios Humanísticos at the Universidad del Turabo hosts Aquí y Allá: a multidisciplinary symposium exploring the Puerto Rican diaspora in collaboration with Smithsonian Affiliations and Smithsonian Latino Center, in Gurabo. Four Affiliates will host live viewings of the symposium’s free webcast, including Framingham State University in Framingham, MA; the African American Museum in Philadelphia, PA; the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh; and Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando, FL, 11.5.

MAINE
National Outreach Manager Jennifer Brundage attends the New England Museum Association conference, and leads a session with colleagues from the Berkshire Museum and the Lemelson-MIT Program in Portland, 11.4-6.

CALIFORNIA
The Museums of Sonoma County open SITES’ Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation exhibition in Santa Rosa, 11.8.

CONNECTICUT
Mystic Seaport kicks off its Stars of the Smithsonian lecture series with a talk by Andy Johnston, Geographer at the National Air and Space Museum, on navigation across the oceans, earth and space, in Mystic, 11.12.

OHIO
The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology offers the Learning Through Objects: Museums and Young Children workshop in collaboration with the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center in Newark, 11.14.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Affiliations Director Harold Closter will attend the official Affiliate announcement at the Coastal Discovery Museum on Hilton Head Island, 11.18.

NEW YORK

The John Clum watch fob which tells the story of the gold rush in Alaska, on loan from the National Postal Museum, will be on view at MoAF in November.

The John Clum watch fob which tells the story of the gold rush in Alaska, on loan from the National Postal Museum, will be on view at MoAF in November.

The Museum of American Finance opens the Worth its Weight: Gold from the Ground Up exhibition featuring 27 artifacts on loan from three Smithsonian museums, in New York City, 11.19.

 

May 27, 2015

Press roundup for June 2015

Lots of Affiliates in the news around the country!

New Mexico Museum of Space History (Alamagordo, NM)
Restoration Project For New Mexico Museum Of Space History
“The Smithsonian takes artifact conservation very seriously, as do we here at the museum. Our goal is to make sure that when an artifact undergoes this process that everything is taken into account – from the present condition of the artifact to long term conservation goals and the facilities at Holloman where the restoration will take place. The plan we put together goes step by step through the entire process. The Smithsonian was very pleased with our plans and partnership with the 49thWing,” said Taylor. “I think the best part about this, though, is the excitement of the teams on base and their commitment to an authentic restoration of the boilerplate.”

The Museum of Flight (Seattle, WA)
American Fighter Aces Fly Into History – Once Again: Pilots recognized with Congress’ highest civilian award
Seattle’s Museum of Flight is home to the American Fighter Aces Association (AFAA) and an extensive collection of artifacts, documents and exhibits that tell the legendary stories of the Fighter Aces. It supports more than 700 “Friends” of the Aces in AFAA chapters across the country who are dedicated to championing the stories of these brave pilots, preserving and sharing their legacy.

US Space & Rocket Center (Huntsville, AL)
Movers & Shapers, May 2015
Dr. Deborah Barnhart serves as Gov. Robert Bentley’s appointee to the Alabama Space Authority Task Force and was recently appointed to the Smithsonian Affiliations Advisory Council. She is a recipient of NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal.

"Gramps," on view at the Heinz History Center, on loan from the National Museum of American History

“Gramps,” on view at the Heinz History Center, on loan from the National Museum of American History

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
‘We Can Do It!’ at Heinz History Center looks at homefront, battlefront
One of the stars of the show is the 1940 model military reconnaissance car designed and constructed in 49 days by the American Bantam Car Co. in Butler. The prototype jeep, known as “Gramps,” is on loan to the history center from the Smithsonian Institution. Behind Gramps is a 10-foot-tall photo mural of the vehicle surrounded by the engineers, managers and workers who built it.

History Center Exhibit Exploring Pittsburgh and World War II Opens Tomorrow
We Can Do It! WWII is the title (playing off the famous Rosie the Riveter poster) of the new Senator John Heinz History Center exhibit exploring wartime Pittsburgh, during the 1940s.

Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry (Baltimore,MD)
Baltimore’s Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry
[Photo Gallery] The Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry, which opened in 1996, is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution that is operated by the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. The museum’s extensive and fascinating collection includes thousands of items such as drills, extractors, antique mouthwash bottles, toothpaste tubes and antique dental chairs.

Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks & Minerals (Hillsboro, OR)
Smithsonian forges partnership with Rice Museum
“It’s a big feather in the whole community’s cap,” Gray added. “To be affiliated with the Smithsonian says a lot for the community support we’ve enjoyed for decades, and being rewarded with this prestigious affiliation brings awareness of our museum to a broader area and will bring more tourism into the area.”

South Carolina State Museum (Columbia, SC)
State Museum Celebrates Anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope
[VIDEO] On Friday viewers may see live streaming from the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., as well as exhibits of sidewalk astronomy.

May 4, 2015

Katharine Hepburn at The Durham Museum

Special thanks for this guest post to Amy Henderson, National Portrait Gallery’s historian emerita. Amy is a cultural historian specializing in “the lively arts”—particularly media-generated celebrity culture. Her books and exhibitions run the gamut from the pioneers in early broadcasting to Elvis Presley, Katharine Hepburn and Katharine Graham.

In the late 1980s, I met writer-director Garson Kanin at a Washington dinner party, and he set the stage for one of my happiest adventures as a cultural historian at the National Portrait Gallery. When I discovered that Garson, who wrote and directed all of the Katharine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy movies, lived next door to Herself in New York, I whined until he promised to give me her address. My excuse? The Portrait Gallery needed a fine portrait of the iconic actress!

Garson’s introduction worked, and I got to know Miss Hepburn in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. I would have coffee and cookies with her when I traveled to New York, and we always went on an exploration of all the portraits she kept in her townhouse; there were a lot, since she had known artists her entire life.

She mentioned “all the costumes” on the upper floor, but I never got a glimpse. Now, thanks to the Durham Museum in Omaha, the costumes are on full view. “Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen” is drawn from the Kent State Museum’s Hepburn Costume Collection, and features more than 35 costumes worn in 21 films and 6 stage productions—and some of her private life clothes.

image001

Mick Hale, Director of Education at the Durham, heard that I had curated a 2007 Portrait Gallery exhibition celebrating Hepburn’s centennial, and invited me to speak about her life in conjunction with the Durham’s costume show. I eagerly accepted, and spoke at this Smithsonian Affiliate in April. Talking about her life, I focused mainly on Hepburn’s remarkable ability to fashion her own image, even in the heyday of the Hollywood studio system when studios configured their stars to reflect their own particular movie “brand.”  E.g., Warner Bros. had a “Murderers’ Row” of gangsters, while MGM boasted “all the stars in the heavens.”

The Durham has been a Smithsonian Affiliate since 2002, and Mick Hale estimates that they have hosted 25 or so traveling exhibitions such as the Hepburn costumes. Other recent speakers have included Mike Neufeld from the National Air and Space Museum, who spoke about the Apollo 8 mission during the Durham’s “1968” exhibition; and Smithsonian Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, Richard Kurin, who shared his stories about 101 Smithsonian artifacts last Fall when the Durham hosted the Franklin Institute’s traveling exhibit “Identity: An Exhibition of You.”

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My visit was enormous fun. First, the museum itself is lodged in what had been a stunning Art Deco train station that opened in 1931; lofty ceilings and a sense of bustle create an instantly uplifting “wow” museum experience. Second, for me it was great to see the costumes Hepburn wore during her long stage and screen career. Her waist was TINY—20”—and it was fascinating to see costumes from such landmark performances as the Broadway version of the Philadelphia Story. I also lingered over the section that spotlighted her impeccably tailored tan slacks, of which she had dozens.

My visit came at the end of Mick Hale’s tenure as education director at the Durham. After ten years, he is heading toward new challenges, directing a leadership initiative in Lincoln. But his dynamic partnership with the Smithsonian will remain firmly rooted at the Durham. “The museum and I are very proud of what we have done with the Smithsonian,” he told me, “and I know the quality work and collaboration will continue for a long time.”

image003All photos courtesy of the Durham Museum.

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