July 28, 2015

Affiliates in the news!

Congrats to these Affiliates making news!  We were on a hiatus during our Conference season, but we’re back in action highlighting Affiliate-Smithsonian and Affiliate-Affiliate collaborations making headlines. If you have a clipping highlighting a collaboration with the Smithsonian or with a fellow Affiliate you’d like to have considered for the Affiliate blog, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee.

Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum (Clewiston, FL)
Florida Fontiers: Seminole museum offers a place to remember
“We want this to be the source for tribal history and culture for people,” said director Anne McCudden. “We want this to be the place where people can come to get the correct information, to meet tribal members, and to really experience tribal culture one-on-one.”

South Dakota State Historical Society (Pierre, SD)
State Historical Society’s Sioux Horse Effigy Returned
We are designing a new display for the effigy that will include loaned effigies from the State Historical Society of North Dakota and the National Museum of the American Indian.

Las Cruces Museum of Nature & Science (Las Cruces, NM)
Kids ‘Capture the Colorful Cosmos’ in new exhibit
It’s a workshop fusing the worlds of art and science. Using software provided by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, students will learn about astronomy, remotely control a telescope to take an image of a celestial object, and process the image for visual impact. Students will then use the image as the basis of an art project,” explained Kimberly Hanson, education curator for the Las Cruces Museum of Nature & Science, which is hosting the project.

National Inventors Hall of Fame (North Canton, Ohio)
Smithsonian Innovation Wing Opens at National Museum of American History
The experience begins in the Johnson-Louis Gateway to Innovation where “Inventing in America,” in collaboration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, displays early patent models, trademarks and inventions of National Inventors Hall of Fame members.

Daniel "Chappie" James, became a flight leader for a fighter squadron at Clark Field in the Philippines in the late 1940s. James flew 101 combat sorties in Korea in P-51 Mustangs and F-80 jets. He also flew in Vietnam and later became a four-star general. Photo courtesy Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.

Daniel “Chappie” James, became a flight leader for a fighter squadron at Clark Field in the Philippines in the late 1940s. James flew 101 combat sorties in Korea in P-51 Mustangs and F-80 jets. He also flew in Vietnam and later became a four-star general. Photo courtesy Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

The Air Zoo (Portage, Michigan)
Air Zoo exhibition ‘Black Wings,’ looks at history of blacks in U.S. aviation
“The Smithsonian’s ‘Black Wings’ exhibit so poignantly tells the stories of the trials and triumphs of some of our country’s most heroic aviators and space pioneers.  The Air Zoo is honored to bring these extraordinary heroes to life for all our guests from Southwest Michigan and beyond,” said Troy Thrash, president and CEO of the Air Zoo.

New traveling Smithsonian exhibit opens at the Air Zoo
“This is really the perfect tie-in that really shapes what we’re trying to do at the Air Zoo; really tell these stories about famous aviators and astronauts as well, but also not-so-famous aviators and astronauts, who have done some amazing, remarkable, heroic things that many people don’t know about,” said Air Zoo President and CEO Troy Thrash.

National Museum of Industrial History (Bethlehem, PA)
New director Amy Hollander brings fresh start to embattled industrial history museum
“If I were to design a dream job, it would be to be the executive director of the National Museum of Industrial History, a Smithsonian affiliate in a local, engaged community that is passionate about saving the vanishing landscape, which is how this appears to me,” Hollander said. “This is the classic historic preservation success story.”

Chuck Liddy-NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

Chuck Liddy-NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, NC)
NC State study finds coyotes help limit carnage from cats
This study describes some of the first results to come out of the “e-mammal” citizen science project led by the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and the Smithsonian Institution. Volunteers set up cameras in their backyards, along trails, in urban forests, and in parks and nature preserves. They also helped identify the animals captured in photographs.

History Colorado (Denver, CO)
Roots run deep for Latinos in Colorado
Eduardo Diaz, the director of the Smithsonian Latino Center, said he could not emphasize enough the importance of this exhibit and its message about the impact the Chicano movement has had on civil rights and justice issues across the nation.

Irving Arts Center (Irving, TX)
New Executive Director at Irving Arts Center in Texas
Todd Eric Hawkins has been named the Irving Arts Center’s executive director

Mennello Museum of American Art (Orlando, FL)
Reports: Mennello Museum names new director
Shannon Fitzgerald will be the new director of Orlando’s Mennello Museum of American Art, according to several media reports.

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.

Coming Up in Affiliateland in June 2015

Even though we’ll see many Affiliates in DC for the Affiliations National Conference, some will be home leading this great roster of events.

MASSACHUSETTS
Dr. Libby Haight O’Connell (Chief Historian, Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, History Channel and A+E Networks, and Alumnus of the Board of the National Museum of American History) presents The American Plate: A Culinary History in 100 Bites, a time-traveling dinner program at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, 6.4.

Attendees at the Jewel City Jamboree in Huntington, WV will hear Smithsonian Folkways recordings.

Attendees at the Jewel City Jamboree in Huntington, WV will hear Smithsonian Folkways recordings.

WEST VIRGINIA
The Heritage Farm Museum and Village will live stream Smithsonian Folkways recordings during its Jewel City Jamboree in Huntington, 6.6.

FLORIDA
The Wolfsonian at Florida International University opens SITES’ Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise exhibition in Miami, 6.12.

The Tampa Bay History Center opens SITES’ Patios, Pools, & the Invention of the American Backyard exhibition in Tampa, 6.20.

PENNSYLVANIA
A team of textile conservators from the National Museum of the American Indian will be touring and consulting with the U.S.  Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, 6.16-18.

CALIFORNIA
The Museums of Sonoma County opens SITES’ I Want the Wide American Earth exhibition in Santa Rosa, 6.20.

NATIONWIDE
Twelve Affiliates will welcome interns from the Smithsonian Latino Center’s Young Ambassadors Program from June 29-July 31.  Thank you to the Adler Planetarium (Chicago, IL); California Science Center (Los Angeles,  CA); Chabot Space and Science Center (Oakland, CA); Fort Worth Museum of Science and History (Fort Worth, TX); History Colorado (Denver, CO); Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (San Juan, PR); Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, CA); Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix, AZ); Museum of Flight (Seattle, WA); and the Witte Museum (San Antonio, TX).

 

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.

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.
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.

MARYLAND
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.

March 23, 2015

coming up in Affiliateland in April 2015

Spring is here in Affiliateland!

PENNSYLVANIA
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.

VIRGINIA
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.

VERMONT
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.

NEBRASKA
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.

COLORADO
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.

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

national_youth_summit_0NATIONWIDE
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.

GEORGIA
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.

October 27, 2014

coming up in affiliateland in november 2014

Even though the weather is turning chilly, Affiliates are keeping things hot with events from coast to coast.

CALIFORNIA
General John Dailey, Director of the National Air and Space Museum, will be inducted into the International Air and Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air and Space Museum, 11.1.

pins on loan

Environmental pins on loan from the Smithsonian to an Affiliate in California

The Sonoma County Museum will present Hole in the Head: The Battle for Bodega Bay and the Birth of the Environmental Movement exhibition, featuring 13 protest buttons on loan from the National Museum of American History, in Santa Rosa, 11.2.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
The National Inventors Hall of Fame will participate in the Smithsonian Innovation Festival in Washington, 11.1-2.

Organized by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, an exhibition titled Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College opens at the Smithsonian, presented by the National Museum of African American History and Culture in their gallery at the National Museum of American History in Washington, 11.7.

PENNSYLVANIA
The Heinz History Center presents jazz innovation as part of its Places of Invention ongoing project with the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center, in Pittsburgh, 11.1.

NEBRASKA
Undersecretary Richard Kurin presents a talk and booksigning on The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects at the Durham Museum in Omaha, 11.4.

Earth from Space exhibition in New Mexico

Earth from Space exhibition in New Mexico

NEW MEXICO
Dr. Andrew Johnston, geographer and curator at the National Air and Space Museum, presents a public talk at the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo, 11.6.

VIRGINIA
George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens presents The Face of the Nation: George Washington, Art, and America symposium, featuring National Portrait Gallery curator Wendy Wick Reaves and curator emerita Ellen Miles, at Mount Vernon, 11.7.

GEORGIA
National Portrait Gallery researcher and author Warren Perry presents a public lecture on Guns, Horses, Uniforms, and More Guns: Themes of American Civil War Visual Culture at the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, 11.13.

Jeff Post, Curator at the National Museum of Natural History will present a public lecture on the Hope Diamond at the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, 11.21.

PUERTO RICO
Affiliations Director Harold Closter leads a workshop on Designing Museum Budgets at the Museo y Centro de Estudios Humanísticos in Gurabo, 11.15.

25 Smithsonian artifacts from the film industry will be on view soon in North Carolina

25 Smithsonian artifacts from the film industry will be on view soon in North Carolina

NORTH CAROLINA
The North Carolina Museum of History will present Starring North Carolina! an exhibition of the state’s role in the film industry featuring 25 artifacts on loan from the National Museum of American History, in Raleigh, 11.15.

LOUISIANA
Undersecretary Richard Kurin presents a talk and booksigning on The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, 11.18.

 

October 6, 2014

let’s think like inventors

Smithsonian Affiliations would like to thank Kate Preissler, Digital Media Marketing Manager at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, for this guest post.

On October 11, the Berkshire Museum will become the fourth museum in the nation to host Spark!Lab, an exhibition developed at the Smithsonian Institution by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History (NMAH). By opening Spark!Lab we are joining with the Smithsonian in a nation-wide initiative to engage young people in acts of invention.

Staff at the Berkshire Museum get a chance to test out the Spark!Lab activities during a special training with Lemelson Center colleagues.

Staff at the Berkshire Museum get a chance to test out the Spark!Lab activities during a special training with Lemelson Center colleagues.

To prepare, colleagues from the Lemelson Center in Washington D.C. joined the Berkshire Museum staff for several days of training. A significant portion of the training had our staff trying out the activities that will be available in Spark!Lab. These activities, primarily engineering and design challenges, pose problems from the real world for visitors to solve. There are no right or wrong answers to Spark!Lab’s challenges; you may invent a solution that is completely different from my solution, yet we have both succeeded by solving the problem. These activities show young people that every brain is capable of creating something totally new and that by coming up with new ideas, we can make the world a better place for ourselves and each other.

As we tried out wind tunnels and tipping tables, it occurred to me that everyone, not just young people, probably craves opportunities to be inventive all the time. Individuals from all departments– marketing, security, visitor’s services, education – became deeply absorbed in the challenges presented. The mood in the room ran the gamut from laughter during experimentation to intense concentration on final designs, and many people had to be torn from the stations when it was time to move on. When we tested the activities with kids, the results were the same – no one wanted to leave!

The author can't look at her desk anymore without seeing all of the inventions that people devised to make life easier.

The author can’t look at her desk anymore without seeing all of the inventions that people devised to make life easier.

Until I encountered Spark!Lab and the Lemelson Center, ‘inventive creativity,’ especially as a skill set that could be learned, practiced, and honed, was not an idea to which I had given a lot of thought. So although learning about the activities and understanding what will be physically happening in our new space was valuable, it was the other aspects of our training that helped me to really understand the potential that Spark!Lab holds for altering perceptions and empowering the young people who visit the Museum.

During training we learned about many different inventors; inventions which have changed the course of history; and inventions which have made our lives a little easier in subtle ways. I spent the next few weeks seeing inventions everywhere. For instance, I sat at my desk and couldn’t help but notice that each of the items in front of me represented an idea from an actual person who saw a problem in need of a solution. And I don’t think I was the only one. My colleague Lesley Ann Beck came back to the second half of the training with a story about opening a pizza box and realizing that someone, somewhere, had gotten so frustrated with squished pizza and cheese stuck to lids, that they invented a small, round piece of plastic to keep the box lid from denting in, saving the pizza from damage. Once we started thinking about inventions, we couldn’t stop.

Spark!Lab under construction at the Berkshire Museum - a space which took inventive thinking to develop.

Spark!Lab under construction at the Berkshire Museum – a space which took inventive thinking to develop.

As construction of our Spark!Lab space in the Museum takes shape, this new lens has allowed me to see how our architects and staff have used inventive thinking to create a space that has to adapt to different needs, different audiences, and changing activities. It’s exciting to have a space for Spark!Lab that is the result of the creative inventiveness we’re trying to instill there.

We also had a discussion about ways to reinforce inventive thinking in kids, which gave me the chance to think back to my childhood and especially to my father, who built my sisters and me a workbench and encouraged us to create using wood scraps from his own projects. For years I used a Walkman held together by a wood nail because he loved to fix things instead of throwing them out. I thought about the pulley system he had rigged for our birdfeeder, which made it easy to fill but hard for squirrels to get to. I realized that my dad is one of those people who travels through the world with the eyes of an inventor. I also realized that not everyone has a person in his or her life to model and encourage these traits – but that by opening this space and staffing it with trained facilitators, our Museum could play that role for many.

You might now be asking, what do you mean when you say “the eyes of an inventor”? In the training, I wondered that too, and for me the best answer came from one of our facilitators, Michelle DelCarlo, Spark!Lab National Network Manager. She described inventors as people who encounter a problem and react by thinking “I can make this better.” With the mindset of an empowered inventor, problems become sources of motivation, not roadblocks or excuses to give up. So with that thought, I can’t wait to be a part of Spark!Lab because, really, what a wonderful world we could live in if each of us approached our days with inventors’ brains – not just seeing the problems, but feeling confident in our ability to solve them.

Spark!Lab will provide a space for young people in the Museum's community to think like inventors.

Spark!Lab will provide a space for young people in the Museum’s community to think like inventors.

 

 

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