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/

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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


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.


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.”


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.

April 22, 2015

coming up in affiliateland in may 2015

The 2015 class of inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

The 2015 class of inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Affiliations director Harold Closter will give remarks at the Affiliations announcement at the Upcountry History Museum in Greenville, 5.7.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame (headquartered in North Canton, OH) will host a series of innovation events at the Smithsonian to celebrate the 2015 class of inductees – 14 trailblazing inventors.  The induction ceremony will be held at the National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum, 5.12.  Innovation Echo, a panel discussion with inductees, co-hosted by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, will take place at the National Museum of American History, 5.13.

College Park Aviation Museum will host From Queen Bee to Drone Fever: The Strange Evolution of Unmanned Aircraft, a public lecture by National Air and Space curator Roger Conner in College Park, 5.14.

Dig_It_poster_300NORTH CAROLINA
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will open SITES Dig It: The Secrets of Soil in Raleigh, 5.16.

April 17, 2015

new webcasts from the National Air and Space Museum

Filed under: General — Tags: , — Aaron Glavas @ 1:27 pm

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (NASM) is developing nine STEM in 30live, fast-paced 30-minute webcasts which will be made available to teachers and students in grades 5-8 classrooms across the country. The primary goal of this program is to increase interest and engagement in STEM for students.  STEM in 30 hopes to achieve:

from the webcast "Earth Day: A View from Above"

from the webcast “Earth Day: A View from Above”

– Increased interest in STEM and STEM careers
– Increased understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics topics
– Increased awareness and importance of current and future human space exploration

This series of webcasts from the National Air and Space Museum and partner sites focus on STEM subjects that integrate all four content areas. The webcasts will feature NASA and NASM curators, scientists, and educators exploring STEM subjects using museum and NASA collections, galleries, and activities. During the 30-minute broadcasts, students will engage with museum experts through experiments and activities, ask the experts questions, and answer interactive poll questions through the interactive ‘Cover It Live’ feature.

The webcast will be available live on the National Air and Space Museum website as well as NASA TV.  After the live broadcasts, NASM will archive the webcasts in an interactive STEM in 30 Gallery.

from the webcast "Hot Air Balloons and Air Pressure"

from the webcast “Hot Air Balloons and Air Pressure”

Upcoming and archived topics include Space Junk, the Wright Brothers, Space Food, Living and Working in Space, and more.

Affiliates are encouraged to share this new resource with their school partners, host “viewing parties” in their own museums, or show the archived webcasts in their galleries or theaters at any time.  If your organization decides to broadcast any of these webcasts, let us know!

March 24, 2015

A First Look at New Traveling Exhibitions from the Smithsonian

singerAmong other benefits, Smithsonian Affiliates learn about new Smithsonian traveling exhibitions first!  We’re pleased to bring you two exciting new exhibitions that will travel.  The first, Armchair Archaeology: Paul Singer’s Search for Ancient China from the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery details the amazing story of collector Dr. Paul Singer, a psychiatrist by trade who amassed a wide-ranging Chinese art collection, now part of the Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian.

He collected most aggressively after he immigrated to the United States in 1939, making discoveries at art dealers, auction houses, and thrift stores alike. A self-taught, amateur scholar-collector who never learned the Chinese language, Singer managed to secure a research appointment at the Metropolitan Museum of Art due to his remarkable visual memory and extensive experience in the field.

singer2fsga The exhibition examines both archaeology and miniatures through topical groupings of objects dating from the Bronze  Age (circa 1800–300 BCE) to the Ming dynasty (1368–1644.)  In addition to exploring form, function, and meaning,  the ninety-five objects in the exhibition also represent a range of media, including jade, marble, fluorite, bone,  ivory, amber, gold, silver, bronze, and ceramics from earthenware to porcelain. This breadth reflects Singer’s  ambition to amass “a sequential development in all the materials worked by Chinese artists.”  For more information  and a pdf with an overview of the exhibition, Please email us.

BIG_11EDI_6621F310_13rz copy Across the Mall, from National Air and Space Museum, comes Art of the Airport Tower.  The exhibition is the  second to feature photographs from Museum Specialist, Carolyn Russo. The first, In Plane View, traveled to  many Affiliates over its multi-year run, and is currently on view at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.  Both exhibitions feature stunning photographs of their subjects; Art of the Airport Tower shows these often overlooked utilitarian structures as beautiful art in our everyday lives.   It is a photographic journey to airports in the U.S. and around the world.
DXB_8150F2rz copy

Russo documents these important architectural structures to bring a heightened awareness to their simple beauty and call for their preservation.  She is available for lectures and public programs to venues hosting the exhibition.

Art of the Airport Tower includes historic towers such as the Ford Island Tower, which stood the day of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, as well as today’s heavily trafficked airports such as London’s Heathrow Airport. International towers–including several of the world’s tallest towers, one of which is the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand–are also highlighted. Captions describe the airport and the towers’ significance, and an introduction by F. Robert van der Linden tells the history of airport towers to contextualize Russo’s work.

This exhibit will attract a diverse audience, appealing to anyone with an interest in aviation, aerospace, art, photography, technology, history, culture, and architecture. Please let us know if you’re interested!


March 23, 2015

coming up in Affiliateland in April 2015

Spring is here in Affiliateland!

The National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) will open the Richard Avedon: Family Affairs exhibition featuring reproductions of the photographer’s work from Smithsonian collections, 4.1 . The National Museum of American History will collaborate with NMAJH to host a Let’s Do History workshop for teachers in Philadelphia, 4.7.

The African American Museum in Philadelphia will co-sponsor the Emancipation 2015 Symposium, featuring a keynote by Nancy Bercaw, curator at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Philadelphia, 4.25.

WeCanDoItThe Heinz History Center will open You Can Do It! World War II exhibition, featuring six artifact loans from the National Museum of American History and the National Air and Space Museum, in Pittsburgh, 4.25.

The Smithsonian Associates lead a tour on “Politics and Society in Civil War-era Richmond” featuring the American Civil War Center in Richmond, 4.4.

The Sullivan Museum and History Center will feature a lecture by Tom Crouch, senior curator at the National Air and Space Museum on Lincoln’s military aeronautics in the Civil War in Northfield, 4.8.

The Durham Museum will host National Portrait Gallery curator Amy Henderson for a lecture on “Katharine Hepburn: Master of Her Own Image,” in Omaha, 4.9.

History Colorado will feature a lecture by National Air and Space Museum curator Mike Neufeld on Apollo 8 as a complement to the 1968 exhibition in Denver, 4.21.

The Museum Center at 5ive Points will open SITES IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas in Cleveland, 4.24.

The National Museum of American History will host a National Youth Summit: War on Poverty program in collaboration with several Affiliates: the Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI); HistoryMiami (Miami, FL); Museum of History and Industry (Seattle, WA); National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati, OH); and Oklahoma History Center (Oklahoma City, OK), 4.28.

Will you be at the American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting? So will we! Say hi to Affiliations’ national outreach managers Laura Hansen and Caroline Mah in Atlanta, 4.29.

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