February 4, 2016

visiting Affiliate artifacts… in Washington

In Affiliations, we like to say that our partnerships are two-way streets. We learn as much from our Affiliates as we share. Our Affiliate partners lend ideas, energy and expertise not only to the Smithsonian, but to each other. They also lend artifacts, and often, the very best, rare ones they have in their collections.

Recently, I took an afternoon out of the office to visit the handful of loans currently on view from our Affiliate partners to the Smithsonian. What better pleasure to run in to our Affiliate friends across the country than by discovering pieces from their collections here in Washington?!

A case featuring inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

A case featuring inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame

My first stop on this walkabout was the National Museum of American History and its newly-opened innovation wing. The Inventing in America exhibition features a case that honors inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, our Affiliate in Canton, OH. Visitors can marvel at a selection of inventions made by some of the 500 men and women who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and learn about inventions such as the first intravascular stent from 1984, 3M sticky notes, the first digital camera from 1975, and the 1976 Apple computer.

exhibitcase4_atNMAH.Jan2016

Descriptions of the inventions of Hall of Fame inductees

Notably, the case explains the invention of Kevlar, the high strength fabric (used for example, in bullet-proof vests) invented by Stephanie Kwolek in 1965 while she worked at DuPont. Luckily, our Delaware Affiliate, the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, has an extensive collection of material about Kevlar (including Kwolek’s papers) and lent two artifacts from their collection to bring her story to life.

I wandered over to the National Portrait Gallery to see its Dark Fields of the Republic: Alexander Gardner Photographs, 1859-1872 exhibition. At one time, Gardner worked for the famous photographer Matthew Brady before casting out as an influential documentarian in his own right. The profound Civil War-era images on view in these galleries are haunting still. Among them are important works from three Smithsonian Affiliates.

at_NPG2.Jan2016

Field of Antietam photo book on loan from the National Civil War Museum

The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA lent a photographic book titled the Field of Antietam from 1962. Before photomechanical reproduction, books like this one were made by printing each of the original photographs by hand, adhering them to mounts, and binding them as a book. Knowing this process makes the book feel all that more special.

Our Affiliate in Indianapolis, the Indiana Historical Society lent chilling images of the executions of the Lincoln assassination conspirators. Notably, Alexander Gardner was the only photographer allowed to document the hangings, and his position on the wall of the prison grants a panoramic view that is searing and unforgettable.

Sketchbook of the War, on loan from the Western Reserve Historical Society

Gardner’s Photographic Sketchbook of the War, on loan from the Western Reserve Historical Society

Finally, the Western Reserve Historical Society, our Affiliate in Cleveland, OH also lent several works to the exhibition, including what feels like an incongruous view of a picnic in the woods. Alas, one discovers its main subject is Walt Whitman, who lived in Washington, D.C. for part of the war, writing letters for injured soldiers. It’s an unsettling yet bucolic image among the battlefields represented on the walls around it. Another impressive loan is Gardner’s Photographic Sketchbook of the War in two volumes. This large-scale folio published in 1866 features 100 images from Gardner’s vast collection that successfully distill the chronological narrative of the war in a meaningful and emotional way.

Finally, I ended my excursion at the Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian. This retrospective – her first major one – traces the artistic journey of WalkingStick, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Emerging from the art world of New York in the 1960-70s, the show traces her 40+ year career from early figurative work through her famous diptychs to recent paintings of monumental landscapes with symbolic references to their Native links.

Three Affiliates are represented in this exhibition as well. One of our newest, The Rockwell Museum in Corning, NY lent a diptych, Letting Go/From Chaos to Calm from 1990. These rich paintings of mixed dry media on sculptmetal juxtapose the figurative and abstract, the visual and visceral in stimulating and thought-provoking ways.

Visitors can leaf through a touchable version of WalkingStick's artist book, on loan from the Heard Museum.

Visitors can leaf through a touchable version of WalkingStick’s artist book, on loan from the Heard Museum

The Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ (where the show will travel after Washington) lent two works. One canvas, Cardinal Points from 1983-85, uses acrylic paint and saporified wax to achieve a textured and active surface that rewards prolonged study. Her artist book on loan from the Heard contrasts depictions of herself with the kinds of stereotypical comments about her identity that continue to plague Native people. (Flip through the book here.)

Finally, the Denver Art Museum lent a commanding diptych of a different style, Farewell to the Smokies from 2007. This oil painting on wood blends two views of a majestic mountain landscape, with silhouettes of figures walking across their base. It’s a powerful reminder of Native history, and at the same time, of the indelible legacy of Native peoples on the American landscape.

Thank you Affiliates, for all the ways that you enrich the Smithsonian!

Farewell to the Farewell to the Smokies, 2007. Oil on wood panel, 36 x 72 x 1 in. Denver Art Museum: William Sr. and Dorothy Harmsen Collection, 2008.14. Photo courtesy of the Denver Art Museum

Farewell to the Smokies, 2007. Oil on wood panel, 36 x 72 x 1 in. Denver Art Museum: William Sr. and Dorothy Harmsen Collection, 2008.14. Photo courtesy of the Denver Art Museum

 

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January 27, 2016

kudos Affiliates! February 2016

Congrats to these Affiliates on their recent accomplishments.

Funding

MassBay Community College and Framingham State University (Framingham, MA) have received a $5,000 grant from the Sudbury Capital Grant Fund for the new MetroWest College Planning Center. The center has been set up to improve college readiness, participation, and completion among underserved student populations and nontraditional adult learners in the region.

The National Civil War Museum (Harrisburg, PA) has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the NRA Foundation. The funds will be used to construct a new exhibit recognizing firearm manufacturers of the Civil War era that are still in operation today as well as highlighting gun safety programs and firearm education and training offered through the NRA.

Awards and Recognition

Jose Santamaria, Executive Director of the Tellus Science Museum (Cartersville, GA), was recognized with one of the most prestigious awards – Museum Professional of the Year – during the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries, for his service to the museum industry.

Leadership and Staff Changes

The Board of the American Jazz Museum (Kansas City, MO) announced that Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner has been named executive director of the museum.

The board of directors of Conner Prairie Interactive History Park (Fishers, IN) announced the hiring of Norman O. Burns II as President and CEO. Burns succeeds Ellen M. Rosenthal, who retired from the museum’s top position on January 4 after 12 years at the helm.

July 27, 2014

kudos Affiliates! August 2014

Great news from Affiliateland!  Bravo to all!

FUNDING

The National Civil War Museum (Harrisburg, PA) received a $5,000 donation from the Hall Foundation to support educational programming. The Hall Foundation is the title sponsor of the new exhibit “In the Hands of the Enemy: The Captivity, Exchange & Parole of Prisoners of War,” that highlights the brutal conditions of prisoner of war camps, Confederate and Union. The exhibit will have rare artifacts from the National Civil War Museum’s collection on display, and information panels will address and explain the conditions of the camps and daily prisoner life.

The Hawai`i State Legislature approved $500,000 in State Grant-in-Aid funding toward the new Island Heritage Gallery exhibit at the Lyman Museum (Hilo, HI).  The new exhibit will explore a historical timeline of the many people, cultures, events, and ideas that left their mark on Hawai`i Island and contributed to the rich, diverse mosaic of modern Hawai`i.

The Hall Family Foundation has donated $4 million to help fund capital improvement projects at Union Station Kansas City (Kansas City, MO). The funding will be used to make improvements to Science City as well as the development of a pedestrian bridge and a new lower-level entrance.

Two Affiliates recently received Museum Grants for African American History and Culture (AAHC) from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS):

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture (Baltimore, MD) Award Amount: $69,674

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture will hire a curatorial graduate student intern, create a postdoctoral fellowship in African American history, and establish a professional development fund that will allow staff at all levels to take advantage of training programs relevant to their work as museum professionals.

American Jazz Museum (Kansas City, MO) Award Amount: $133,050

The American Jazz Museum will hire a registrar to enhance the accessibility of the museum’s collections and create four semester-long paid internship positions focusing on collections and education.

The Ellen Noël Art Museum (Odessa, TX) received a grant from the Junior League of Odessa for the “Little Free Library”, a decorative receptacle and will be filled with books for children and young adults to “take a book, leave a book.”  In addition, the Ellen Noel Art Museum has received a $20,000 grant from National Endowment for the Arts for their innovative research in the 3D printing lab meant to assist the visually impaired.

GAR Foundation distributed awards to teams of Ohio educators through its annual Educator Initiative Grant program. The awards support teacher-initiated, classroom-based projects and methods that demonstrate gains in student achievement and include the following affiliates:

  • National Inventors Hall of Fame (Akron, OH) STEM Middle School, $9,500, for “STEM E5d.”
  • Akron Public Schools, National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM High School, $4,999, for “Survivability of an Impossible Situation.”
  • Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, OH) $10,000 for Hale Farm & Village’s Adopt-a-School Program at Leggett Elementary.
  • Western Reserve Historical Society, $5,000 for Hale Farm & Village’s Wetmore Barn Preservation.

Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA) announced that the Massachusetts budget for 2015 includes $2 million funding for the restoration of Mayflower II, a replica of the original ship that brought the Pilgrims to Massachusetts.

The African American Museum in Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA) received a $50,000 award from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation  to enhance two current art exhibits: the photography of “Distant Echoes: Black Farmers in America,” and the sculpture of “Syd Carpenter: More Places of Our Own.” The Knight-supported programming, dubbed “Beyond Sustenance,” will encompass interactive storytelling, art-making, community dining, and workshops centered on African-American traditions in farming, cooking and more.

Mystic Seaport and the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center (Mystic, Mashantucket, CT) received a $30,095 grant from Connecticut Humanities to support a project called Connecticut Indian Whalers: Work, Community, and Life at Sea.  The project features digital, exhibit and program offerings designed to raise school and public awareness about the men of color from Connecticut who labored on 19th century whaling ships, in particular Native American men whose work experience was strongly intertwined with their social and kinship networks.

Staten Island City Council allocated $3.7 million to Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden for building renovations.

ACHIEVEMENTS & RECOGNITION

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced that North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, NC) was one of 10 recipients of the 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community.

Charlene Donchez Mowers, executive director of Historic Bethlehem Museums and Sites (Bethlehem, PA), received the Strategic Partner Award from the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce.  Historic Bethlehem has recently been designated a National Historic Landmark site.

The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) proudly announced the winners of the 69th annual Leadership in History Awards, the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. Below are the Affiliate recipients for the 2014 Awards:

Conner Prairie (Fishers, IN) has been chosen by FlipKey Vacation Rental as one of its “Top Family Attractions Worth Traveling For.”

The Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point state park (Pioneer, LA) have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This prestigious designation is a global recognition of the site’s outstanding universal value.

PA Museums announced that the Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA) received the President’s Award for its national award-winning exhibit From Slavery to Freedom.


LEADERSHIP

The Board of the Western Reserve Historical Society announced that Kelly Falcone-Hall has been selected to be the new CEO. Falcone-Hall had been serving as interim CEO during the selection process.

 

April 25, 2014

coming up in affiliateland in May 2014

 

As summer approaches, things are heating up in Affiliateland!

WYOMING
Several staff members from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West will speak during a day-long conference at the Smithsonian on 300 Years of Innovation in Scotland and America, coming from Cody, 5.1.

Affiliations director Harold Closter will be speaking at the Colorado-Wyoming Museum Association meeting in Cody, 5.7-10.

Beth Wilson of the National Air and Space Museum leads a videoconference session on the Wright Flyer.

Beth Wilson of the National Air and Space Museum leads a videoconference session on the Wright Flyer.

GEORGIA
Wayne Motts, Director of the National Civil War Museum (an Affiliate in Harrisburg, PA) will give a public lecture on the Civil War at the members preview of the new 1864 exhibition at the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw, 5.2.

SOUTH DAKOTA
The South Dakota State Historical Society hosts a talk and book signing on the Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects by Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture, in Pierre, 5.5.

WASHINGTON
The National Air and Space Museum will present an online workshop for students on Kites, Wings and Flying Things: Learning with the Wright Brothers, to be held at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, 5.6, 13 and 27.

INDIANA
Conner Prairie Interactive History Park  hosts a workshop on the Importance of Informal Learning with Betsy Bowers, Director of the Smithsonian Center for Innovation in Early Learning in Fishers, 5.9.

Betsy Bowers will discuss how young explorers in informal museum environments are a vital part of early childhood learning at the Smithsonian.

Betsy Bowers will discuss how young explorers in informal museum environments are a vital part of early childhood learning at the Smithsonian.

FLORIDA
National Air and Space Museum curator Carolyn Russo will serve as a juror for the Mayfaire Arts Festival at the Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, 5.10-11.

The Frost Art Museum hosts a talk and book signing on the Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects by Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture, in Miami, 5.21.

PENNSYLVANIA
A group of staff from the U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center will spend a day touring collections and exhibitions with colleagues at the National Museum of American History, coming from Carlisle, 5.12

MARYLAND
The Smithsonian Associates have organized a study tour on Natural History of the Mid-Atlantic: Stories of Calvert County that will visit Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center in Solomons, 5.17.

COLORADO
Allison Wickens, Director of Education at the National Postal Museum, will give a public lecture on  Colorado Mail Stories: By Train, Plane, and Pony Express at History Colorado in Denver, 5.20

March 31, 2014

kudos Affiliates! April 2014

Affiliates are bursting into spring with impressive awards and recognition. 

FUNDINGP

The National Civil War Museum (Harrisburg, PA) has received a $30,000 grant from the Kunkle-Rutherford Foundation to pay for upgrades to the museum’s galleries audio system.

The George Gund Foundation awarded a $150,000 grant to the Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, OH) for the restoration and installation of the Euclid Beach Carousel at its University Circle facility.

Thanks to a $2,000 grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, the Wisconsin Maritime Museum (Manitowoc, WI) will create four new guides on the Manitowoc River, focusing on a different facet of the river and its heritage.


RECOGNITION

Drumming at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix.

Drumming at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix.

Two Affiliates – California Science Center (Los Angeles) and Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix, AZ) – made the list of USA Today’s 20 Best Museums for Families across the USA.

As part of a marketing campaign planned for this spring, the Nebraska Tourism Commission surveyed Nebraskans and non-Nebraskans alike on what Nebraska attractions and events are the most iconic. The Strategic Air & Space Museum (Ashland, NE) came in at #7 and was the only state museum in the top-10.

Peter Aucella, assistant superintendent of Lowell National Historical Park (Lowell, MA) is the 2014 recipient of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Lowell’s Thomas G. Kelakos Community Spirit Award, which recognizes people who give back to the community.

The Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, ME) received the 2014 Maine Office of Tourism Leadership and Growth Award.

The Army Heritage Center Foundation (Carlisle, PA) announced that its education director, Jeff Hawks, will receive the Adler Friend of Education Award from the Pennsylvania State Education Association for his work as state coordinator for National History Day in Pennsylvania.

Students celebrate National History Day in Pennsylvania

Students celebrate National History Day in Pennsylvania

The Building Museums Symposium selected the Museum of History and Industry (Seattle, WA) as one of two museums to be awarded the 2014 Building Museums “Buildy” Award in recognition of their exemplary accomplishment in leading their institution through the challenging process of creating new museum space. The museum converted an historic Naval Armory building into museum space, while retaining the architectural integrity of the historic landmark.

The Antique Automobile Club of America Museum (AACAM in Hershey, PA) was recently awarded five NAMMY awards, bestowed by the National Association of Automobile Museums (NAAM) at their annual conference in California last week.  AACAM took home first place awards for Events & Public Promotion, Collateral Materials, and Interpretative Exhibits; and third place awards for Newsletters and Magazines, and Websites.  Mark Lizewskie, Executive Director of the AACAM, was also elected to the NAAM Board of Directors.

 

Congratulations to all!

 

 

April 30, 2013

affiliates in the news, spring 2013 edition

Affiliates are making news this month!

National Atomic Testing Museum (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Las Vegas museum tells of city’s history with nuclear testing

 

North Carolina Museum of History (Raleigh, North Carolina)
Exhibition featuring 19th-century African American master cabinetmaker Thomas Day opens at Renwick Gallery April 12

 

Mennello Museum of American Art (Orlando, Florida)
Live Active Cultures: Orlando’s balance of old and new: 20th-century canvases and a world-premiere play just a few hundred yards apart.

 

National Civil War Museum (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) and the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History (Kennesaw, Georgia)
Medal of Honor 150: The National Civil War Museum gathers 6 examples of highest honor

 

Mashantucket Pequot Museum (Mashantucket, CT)
Ramp It Up’ at museum

 
Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, ME)
Abbe will partner with Smithsonian

March 26, 2013

Affiliates in the news: March-April 2013

Each month we’re highlighting Affiliate-Smithsonian and Affiliate-Affiliate collaborations making headlines. Congrats to these Affiliates making news this month! If you have a clipping you’d like to have considered for the Affiliate blog, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee.

(Michael Johnson/Daily News)

(Michael Johnson/Daily News)

New Mexico Museum of Space History (Alamogordo, N.M.)
Apollo Capsule Lands at New Mexico Space Museum
Space history museum will become Smithsonian affiliate
New Mexico Museum of Space History First State Museum to Obtain Smithsonian Affiliation
Governor Proclaims “New Mexico Museum of Space History Day”
NMMSH now a Smithsonian affiliate; gets Apollo boilerplate 1207 

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Let’s Learn From the Past: Apollo 8 mission 

History Colorado (Denver, Colo.)
Thomas Jefferson’s Bible Coming to Denver
History Colorado Center offers rare glimpse of Thomas Jefferson’s Bible
Thomas Jefferson’s Bible Coming to Denver’s History Colorado Center 

Agua Caliente Cultural Museum (Palm Springs, Calif.)
Film fans gather at Palm Springs annual Native FilmFest 

Littleton Museum (Littleton, Colo.)
`Ramp It Up’ offers glimpse of culture 

Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History (Kennesaw, Georgia) and the National Civil War Museum (Harrisburg, Pa.)
Southern Museum Executive Director to Speak at National Civil War Museum

Senior paper conservator Janice Stagnitto Ellis, left, and political history curator Harry Rubenstein of the Smithonian's National Museum of American History discuss Thomas Jefferson's Bible at History Colorado Center on Wednesday. (Photos by Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post)

Senior paper conservator Janice Stagnitto Ellis, left, and political history curator Harry Rubenstein of the Smithonian’s National Museum of American History discuss Thomas Jefferson’s Bible at History Colorado Center on Wednesday. (Photos by Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post)

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