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August 29, 2014

where the buffalo roam

On Saturday, August 30, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo will bring back the American bison in a new exhibit and habitat.  Zora and Wilma are not only beautiful animals, but they also serve as an important reminder about conservation and the Zoo’s inception. In 1887, American bison wandered the National Mall, helping to bring awareness to the endangerment of the species. Two years later, Congress passed legislation to found the National Zoo, celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.

Bison roam around the Smithsonian Castle

Bison roam around the Smithsonian Castle, 1887-89

At Affiliations, we are wallowing in the excitement of welcoming these magnificent animals to Washington. So we decided to scan our herd of partners, to see where else the mighty American bison are roaming among Affiliate plains. We found a virtual stampede of bison content in Affiliateland!

- It seems appropriate to start in Wyoming, at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. After all, it was “Buffalo Bill” Cody who offered the Smithsonian a herd of 18 bison in 1888. Painfully, the gift had to be refused for lack of space on the National Mall.  But today, you can find plenty of bison material at the Buffalo Bill Center in Cody. The Center’s museums house an impressive collection of art depicting “Nature’s Cattle,” including beautiful Audubon prints as well as Native artifacts made from the bison, and natural history specimens.

"Scout" at the Durham Museum in Omaha.

“Scout” at the Durham Museum in Omaha

- It was a Nebraska rancher who donated the very first bison to the Smithsonian’s collection, so it seems natural to travel on to Omaha to visit “Scout,” the beloved bison on view at the Durham Museum. At 7 ½’ high and 10’ long, this magnificent specimen helps to tell the important story of the Midwest’s history with the bison. As part of their bison interpretation, the Durham Museum uses the online resource Tracking the Buffalo from the National Museum of American History. Go ahead – take the site’s interactive test to guess what you could make from all the parts of the animal.

-  Some bison though, were revered beyond all that they could provide for Native people. A white bison is extremely rare, appearing once in approximately five million births. For this reason, these animals are considered sacred and possess great spiritual power to Native and non-Native people alike. Given this extreme rarity, where could you ever see one now?! The Montana Historical Society in Helena displays “Big Medicine,” a white buffalo who died in 1959. With blue eyes, tan hooves, and a brown topknot, there’s still plenty of reasons to revere the beauty of this extraordinary specimen today.

"White Medicine" on view at the Montana Historical Society

“Big Medicine” on view at the Montana Historical Society

- As rare as Big Medicine is, perhaps no bison has the hometown spirit of “On the Wind,” the massive bronze bison who greets visitors to the History Colorado Center in Denver. He’s been seen wearing bandannas when the stock show comes to town, a Broncos jersey during football season, and even a bike helmet during the recent Pro Challenge cycling race through the state. He’s also an important reminder of the stories told inside the Center about the historic relationship between bison and the peoples of the West.

- To travel even further back in time, check out the archeological remains of a gigantic Ice Age bison at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Excavated from the Colorado Rockies, this iconic specimen and its neighbors represent one of the most significant fossil discoveries ever made in Colorado.  How gigantic was it?  Twice the size of a modern bison!  How do we know?  It had a horn spread more than 7’ wide (compared with the 2 ½’ spread of the modern buffalo).

HistoryCObison

“On the Wind” in Denver reflects the community

- If you’re finding it hard to imagine the size of a modern bison without actually seeing one, the South Dakota State Historical Society can help you out.  They’ve devised a fun 30-page coloring sheet called How Big is a Buffalo. Bison make quite an appearance in the Society’s education kits, which include objects, lesson plans, worksheets and ideas for additional activities. The Buffalo and Plains Indians, Lewis and Clark, and Archeology kits are just a few that explore all facets of this great American species.

- Lest you think the Affiliate bison only roam west of the Mississippi, think again.  The Mashantucket Pequot Museum in Connecticut is currently displaying The Bison: American Icon exhibition, which explores “the dramatic changes that occurred to the bison and its habitat, and to the people who depended on it for their daily existence.” At the end of September, the Museum invites visitors to take the Bison Challenge – an outdoor activity that will test your speed, strength, and senses against the performance of a bison.  Good luck!

Bison: American Icon exhibit on view at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum

The Bison: American Icon exhibit on view at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum

As the song goes, “oh give me a home… “  It’s gratifying to see how many Affiliate “homes” across America celebrate the iconic bison, and that the Smithsonian will soon provide two of them a home in the nation’s capital.

How does your museum interpret the mighty bison? (We’re looking at you Idaho and Oklahoma)  Tell us your stories!

 

(Footnote:  “bison” and “buffalo” are often used interchangeably.  Culturally this is correct; scientifically it is not.  Technically, bison and buffalo are not the same animal. Click here to compare their differences.)

 

buffalomeThe author is a National Outreach Manager in Smithsonian Affiliations, and a long-time buffalophile.

 

August 26, 2014

coming up in affiliateland in September 2014

Affiliates are “going back to school” with gusto this September!

VERMONT
Smithsonian Affiliations staff will participate in a ceremony with Senator Patrick Leahy to announce our new affiliation with the Sullivan Museum and History Center, the first Affiliate in Vermont, in Northfield, 9.2.

grizzly

new book by National Air and Space Museum educator

MAINE
The Abbe Museum welcomes Tim Grove, educator at the National Air and Space Museum, for a talk and signing of his new book A Grizzly in the Mail and Other Adventures in American History, in Bar Harbor, 9.4.

ALABAMA
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute hosts the Save Our African American Treasures program organized by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Birmingham, 9.6.

FLORIDA
Chef and expert on Native cuisine Richard Hetzler presents a lecture and cooking demonstration at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum in St. Augustine, 9.6.

The Museum of Arts and Sciences presents Septembers with the Smithsonian, which includes a public lecture by Craig Saffoe, Curator of Big Cats from the National Zoo, 9.20; and a concert and student workshops with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, in Daytona, 9.27.

The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum opens SITES Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America in Clewiston, 9.13.

TEXAS
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science hosts a workshop on Creating Collections with Young Children led by educators from the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, in Dallas, 9.11-12.

George Jacob, Executive Director, Ellen Noël Art Museum (Odessa) will give a lecture on the meaning of WPA era murals as part of The Art of Tom Lea: Preserving Our National Heritage symposium hosted by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., 9.24.

visitors enjoy Ramp It Up

Ramp It Up exhibition coming to Florida

ARIZONA
The National Museum of American History collaborates with the Arizona Historical Society and the Arizona State Museum to present the Let’s Do History professional development program for teachers in Tucson, 9.20, 27.

IDAHO
The Idaho Museum of Natural History opens SITES I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story exhibition in Pocatello, 9.20.

PENNSYLVANIA
Renee Anderson, textile conservator at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will spend a week at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, in dialogue with staff on conservation projects and future collaboration opportunities, in Carlisle, 9.22-26.

CALIFORNIA
The Riverside Metropolitan Museum presents Smithsonian Week in Riverside featuring talks by experts from the National Museum of the American Indian, 9.24-27.  The Museum also opens Cahuilla Continuum, an exhibition featuring three objects from the National Museum of the American Indian, in Riverside, 9.26

gems

curator Jeff Post talks gems in Illinois

NATIONWIDE
More than 75 Affiliates will participate in Smithsonian Museum Day Live!, offering free admission to their museums, 9.27. Find a list of participating Affiliates here.

ILLINOIS
The Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art hosts a talk by National Museum of Natural History curator Jeff Post on A Look Inside the Smithsonian’s Gem & Mineral Collection in Elmhurst, 9.28.

PANAMA
Smithsonian Affiliations staff will attend the opening ceremonies of the new BioMuseo when it opens to the public in Panama, 9.29.

August 25, 2014

Affiliates in the news! September edition

Congrats to these Affiliates making news! Each month we highlight 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.

Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Cody, Wyoming)
True West Magazine Names Cody Firearms Museum in Annual Top Ten Museums List
“The Cody Firearms Museum dedication to excellence, and their mission of preserving and interpreting our great western history for all generations, is inspiring,” says True West Executive Editor Bob Boze Bell. “They keep the Old West alive.”

HistoryMiami (Miami, Florida)
Exhibit seeking items related to exodus out of Cuba
A new initiative by HistoryMiami and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is aiming to capture the experiences of both Cuban balseros, or rafters, as well as those of Cuban exiles in general: How they traveled here and what they found upon arrival.

This baby olinguito was found in a nest 40 feet above the ground in a large dead bromeliad tree. (Photo by Juan Rendon taken at the Mesenia-Paramillo Nature Reserve in Colombia, courtesy Saving Species)

This baby olinguito was found in a nest 40 feet above the ground in a large dead bromeliad tree. (Photo by Juan Rendon taken at the Mesenia-Paramillo Nature Reserve in Colombia, courtesy Saving Species)

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, North Carolina)
Crowdsourcing the Olinguito
“It’s kind of like looking at pictures of your growing child,” said Roland Kays, a zoologist at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences & N.C. State University. “You can see our knowledge about the species grow with every picture sent to us.”

San Diego Air & Space Museum (San Diego, California)
SD Air & Space Museum names eight new Hall of Famers
Joe Engle, Fitz Fulton, Bill Boeing Jr., John (Jack) Dailey, Roger Schaufele, Bessie Coleman, the Ninety-Nines and WD-40 will be inducted Nov. 1 in a celebration at the museum’s Pavilion of Flight in Balboa Park.

Union Station Kansas City (Kansas City, Missouri)
New Science City attraction: Smithsonian’s Spark!Lab designed for inventive young minds
The rejuvenation of Science City at Union Station continues with the opening Tuesday of Spark!Lab, an interactive area intended to inspire kids to be inventive using simple materials. The idea is the property of the Smithsonian Institution’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and is only the second one in the United States outside Washington, D.C.

 

Ten-year-olds Peyton Carter of Kansas City (left) and Ethan Guo of Overland Park worked together together to build a course for a marble to roll along and make sounds while it moved. JILL TOYOSHIBA/The Kansas City Star

Ten-year-olds Peyton Carter of Kansas City (left) and Ethan Guo of Overland Park worked together together to build a course for a marble to roll along and make sounds while it moved. JILL TOYOSHIBA/The Kansas City Star

Young scientists get hands-on learning experience at new Spark!Lab
Hands-on learning is one of the best ways to learn. Now there’s a Spark!Lab dedicated to doing just that. There are only three in the world. Lucky for metro residents, one is located right here in Kansas City at Union Station.

National Atomic Testing Museum (Las Vegas, Nevada)
The nuclear story told at National Atomic Testing Museum, Las Vegas
In December 2011, the museum was designated as a national museum and is today affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. As part of the designation, the museum has shifted its focus from a regional museum to a national museum, dedicated to telling the country’s history of nuclear development.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Cincinnati’s Freedom Center sheds its chains of doubt
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center marks the 10th anniversary of its opening Sunday, celebrating a decade in which it survived derision, doubts and debt that nearly shut it down.

Berkshire Museum (Pittsfield, Massachusetts)
Berkshire Museum To Host Smithsonian Spark!Lab
This fall, the Berkshire Museum will become one of only five sites in the United States to host a new kind of innovative science learning exhibit developed by the Smithsonian Institute

Birthplace of Country Music Museum (Bristol, Tennessee)
Going Places: Birthplace of Country Music Museum definitely worth the trip to Bristol
An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the BCMM is dedicated to telling the story of the Bristol Sessions, the first commercially-successful recordings of country music.

The Birthplace of Country Museum Museum in Bristol, Tennessee

The Birthplace of Country Museum Museum in Bristol, Tennessee

Read:At The Cradle Of Country Music, A Monument You Can Hear As Well As See

Listen: NPR Weekend Edition Saturday

Birthplace of Country Music Museum Opens
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum is opening in Bristol, Virginia this weekend. Nashville may be the mecca of this music today, but as Johnny Cash himself put it, Bristol was the site of the ‘Big Bang’ that led to the universe of country music we know today.

Birthplace of Country Music Museum set to open
This Smithsonian-affiliated museum will open in a facility designed to engage the community regularly through programming and exhibits and is expected to draw visitors from around the world.

Grand Opening Of The Birthplace Of Country Music Museum In Bristol Is This Weekend
The Smithsonian Institution-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum is dedicated to preserve the legacy of the 1927 Bristol Sessions and their lasting influence on American popular music through interactive, multi-media exhibits, film, and more. Johnny Cash referred to the famous Sessions as “The single most important event in the history of country music.” Also known as the “Big Bang of Country Music,” the legendary recordings by Ralph Peer took country music to a new level and produced pioneers of the genre such as Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family.

Birthplace of Country Music Museum Opens in Bristol This Weekend
“The opening of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum is something that our community has been looking forward to for many years, and we take pride in giving our community something that celebrates our rich music heritage,” Leah Ross, the museum’s executive director, told Kingsport’s Times News.

Saving Our African American Treasures. Photo credit: Michael R. Barnes

Saving Our African American Treasures. Photo credit: Michael R. Barnes

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, Alabama)
Smithsonian and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to Present “Save Our African American Treasures” Sept. 6
“We are extremely proud of bringing ‘Save Our African American Treasures’ to Birmingham and of our partnership with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute,” said Lonnie Bunch, director of the Smithsonian museum.

July 27, 2014

coming up in Affiliateland in August 2014

The lazy end of summer is seeing no slowdown of activity in Affiliateland.  Get out there and experience some terrific Smithsonian programs in your neighborhood!

TENNESSEE
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum hosts its grand opening weekend with concerts, contests, exhibits and more in Bristol, 8.1-3.

MISSOURI
Union Station will open a satellite Spark!Lab, developed by the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, in Kansas City, 8.5.

FLORIDA
History Miami opens SITES American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music exhibition in Miami, 8.6.

Celia Cruz, Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan, some of the artists featured in the American Sabor exhibit.

Celia Cruz, Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan, some of the artists featured in the American Sabor exhibit.

CONNECTICUT
Hunt Hill Farm hosts two public programs by photography curator Shannon Perich from the National Museum of American History, who will discuss photography during the Civil War, and sign copies of the Smithsonian Civil War: Inside the National Collections publication, in New Milford, 8.10

WASHINGTON
The Museum of History and Industry hosts Innoskate, a day-long celebration of skateboarding innovations, including demonstrations, clinics, and talks by skateboard artists in Seattle, 8.16.

SOUTH CAROLINA
The South Carolina State Museum will open Windows to New Worlds, a newly-expanded complex that includes a planetarium and 4-D theater in Columbia, 8.16.

 

blackWings2

PENNSYLVANIA
Antje Neumann, conservator at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will participate in Pittsburgh’s Hidden Treasures at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, 8.17.

MARYLAND
Robbie Davis, Project Director for the Smithsonian’s Museums on Main Street will serve as a juror for Annmarie Garden‘s upcoming exhibition Feast Your Eyes: Food as Art in Solomons, 8.20.

ALABAMA

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center opens SITES Black Wings: American Dreams of Flight exhibition in Huntsville, 8.24.

WISCONSIN
The Kenosha Public Museum hosts a lecture on Mr. Lincoln’s Air Force: Civil War Ballooning on Both Sides of the Line by National Air and Space Museum curator Dr. Tom Crouch in Kenosha, 8.26.

 

 

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

April 17, 2014

adventures with affiliations!

Special thanks for this guest post to Rachel Brummond. Rachel interned with the Affiliations office this spring and helped us build our e-marketing for the Smithsonian Affiliations Membership Program. Rachel is wrapping up her Junior year at Luther College in Iowa with a Major in Management/Political Science. Many, many thanks for everything Rachel!

My Dream: Living in DC with the Smithsonian in one hand and the Capital in the other!

My Dream: Living in DC with the Smithsonian in one hand and the Capital in the other!

I have dreamt of being a part of the Smithsonian Institution since I was a little girl on her first vacation to Washington, D.C. After that, when others wanted to be princesses, ballerinas, firefighters and policemen, I wanted to grow up to be THE curator of THE Smithsonian Museum. Little did I know that the Smithsonian is actually a network of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoo, and nine research facilities, each with their own curators, directors, membership staff, and programs.  I also had no idea that the Smithsonian is a living organism that includes a nationwide partnership program that consists of more than 180 Affiliates in more than 40 states, Puerto Rico and Panama. That first trip marked the beginning of a remarkable journey to where I am today—an intern learning from the same organization that I ooh’d and ahh’d about as a child.

This spring I had the incredible opportunity to join the D.C. intern-pack as a membership communications intern at Smithsonian Affiliations, leading to some Seriously Amazing opportunities through the Smithsonian and specifically with the Affiliations office. I have visited countless museums, had private tours, attended share-fairs, and been thoroughly immersed in the culture and collaboration that the Smithsonian embodies. The Affiliations office has brought me a much better understanding of the nationwide partnerships that we facilitate, and of course has led to an extensive growth of my photo collection that documents my life in the nation’s capital!

Two of my favorite museums: The National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum!

Two of my favorite museums: The National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum!

Being an intern for the Smithsonian has been such a learning experience! Smithsonian curators and researchers have important and serious work to do, so it’s always fun to see a lighter side of their jobs from time to time. For instance, every April Fool’s day the National Museum of American History hosts a “conference on stuff” with a lighthearted theme for all Smithsonian staff and visitors. Harold Closter, director of our very own Affiliations office, emceed this year’s salt-themed event and had some very “punny” quips for the audience. It was so fun to see the Smithsonian staff operating in an off-the-cuff, fun, but still well-researched way! I was also encouraged to explore the Smithsonian in-between projects, so I took “museum Fridays” and went to discover as many Smithsonian museums as possible while I was here. I saw 12 of the 15 museums that are currently open and in D.C.—a considerable success that appeals to the learning buff in me!

One of the most memorable experiences was the arrival of The Nation’s T.Rex. To me, this loan really shows the amazing partnerships that the Smithsonian creates with Affiliates across the country. The Wankel T.rex was discovered in Montana and lived at the Museum of the Rockies, a fabulous Smithsonian Affiliate, for the past two decades. It was so fun to participate in the social media plan by crafting tweets to talk about the dino’s arrival and about its 50-year vacation to the National Museum of Natural History. What a fantastic way to outline the network and partnership program that the Affiliations office facilitates. I am so proud to have been a part of an Institution so committed to the increase and diffusion of knowledge—even if their audience doesn’t always live in the DC area.

That’s what the Affiliations office is all about, bringing the Smithsonian to people around the country in order to create access to the incredible collection of knowledge, artifacts, and amazing culture that embodies the Institution. It’s been an adventure to say the least, and I am so grateful that the Affiliations office was willing to have me as a part of their team!

Here it is! The Wankel T.Rex was one of my favorite projects. Special shout out to Museum of the Rockies!

Here it is! The Wankel T.Rex was one of my favorite projects. Special shout out to Museum of the Rockies!

April 1, 2014

Batter Up! It’s Opening Day in Affiliateland

“Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don’t care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game!”

Opening Day is a state of mind. Countless baseball fans recognize this unofficial holiday as a good reason to call in sick at work or be truant from school and go out to the ballpark for the first of the regular season games. Now, we’re not suggesting playing hooky or skipping school by any means, but if you can’t make it to the ballpark, catch some baseball history at the Smithsonian or in your own neighborhood at one of these Smithsonian Affiliates.

Photo courtesy South Dakota State Historical Society.

Photo courtesy South Dakota State Historical Society.

At the South Dakota State Historical Society (Pierre, SD)
Thanks to a donation from Aberdeen native Paul Gertsen, a collection of Northern League (1900-1971) baseball materials showcasing the history of baseball in South Dakota will open soon. “The Northern League was the highest level of professional baseball in South Dakota, and an important minor league system in the upper Midwest. So many great players were on those teams, such as Hank Aaron, Jim Palmer, Lou Brock and Willie Stargell. The league’s history is rich, and its South Dakota roots run deep. I am proud that the society is now home to the most complete and definitive collection of Northern League materials in existence. It is truly an honor to accept this collection, and it is very exciting for anyone interested in the history of South Dakota baseball,” commented Dan Brosz, curator of collections at the Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society. Contact Jay Smith, Museum Director for more info 605.773.3798.

Sheet music for “Take Me Out to the Ball-Game” by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer, 1908 Courtesy of Andy Strasberg

At NMAJH, sheet music for “Take Me Out to the Ball-Game” by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer, 1908
Courtesy of Andy Strasberg

At the National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia, PA)
Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American is on view through October 2014. The exhibition displays the central role baseball has played in the lives of American minority communities as they sought to understand and express the ideals, culture, and behaviors of their homeland—or challenge them. Programs for this show include talks with ESPN and major league baseball historians, and a summer film series featuring baseball.

The 1960s World Series display at the Senator John Heinz History Center. Photo courtesy of the Center.

The 1960s World Series display at the Senator John Heinz History Center. Photo courtesy of the Center.

At the Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Heinz History Center will showcase artifacts from one of the greatest moments in sports history through May 1– Mazeroski Artifacts from the 1960 World Series. Fans will enjoy Mazeroski’s Pirates uniform and bronzed 35-inch Louisville Slugger bat accompanied by additional items from 1960, including the pitching rubber and first base from Game 7, shortstop Dick Groat’s jersey from his 1960 Most Valuable Player season, and a life-like museum figure of Mazeroski hitting the legendary home run.

Photo courtesy Rare Book & Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Photo courtesy Rare Book & Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Champaign, IL)
The Rare Book & Manuscript Library has made a number of important book and manuscript additions over the past few years. Babylon to Baseball: Recent Additions to the Rare Book & Manuscript Library will showcase over thirty new pieces. Collections and items to be highlighted range from a 4000 year old Babylonian clay tablet to scarce baseball reference works once owned by the American League President’s Office.

At the Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, California)
Dodgers: Brotherhood of the Game, on view March 29- September 14, explores the team’s storied past through four players and a Hall of Fame manager, each of whom made history in his own right: Jackie Robinson, Fernando Valenzuela, Chan Ho Park, Hideo Nomo, and Tommy Lasorda. From their original roots in Brooklyn to today’s home in Los Angeles, the Dodgers are trailblazers in the world of sports, on and off the field. The franchise is dedicated to supporting a culture of winning baseball, providing a first-class, family-friendly experience at Dodger Stadium and maintaining strong partnerships in the community.

Our amazing intern, Rachel, checking out baseball history at the National Museum of American History.

Our amazing intern, Rachel, checking out baseball history at the National Museum of American History.

At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History
Baseball history can be seen throughout the American History Museum. Here you can see a WWII Secret Compartment Baseball (1942). In WWII, the U.S. Military Intelligence Service created “care packages” with the intent of assisting Allied prisoners’ escapes from enemy containment. Baseballs were often used to smuggle in different items to the prisoners through secret compartments. Before Jackie Robinson rocked the baseball world by becoming the first integrated baseball player in history, African Americans played in separate leagues. On view also in the American Stories exhibit is a Negro Leagues Baseball (1920-1945), signed by players of the Negro Leagues, which drew millions of fans during their height.

Newkirk High School Tigers. Photo by Oklahoma Humanities Council, Newkirk, OK.

Newkirk High School Tigers. Photo by Oklahoma Humanities Council, Newkirk, OK.

Through Museums on Main Street at the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and possibly coming to a small town near you—Hometown Teams. Hometown Teams tells the story of sports as an indelible part of our culture and community. For well over one hundred years sports have reflected the trials and triumphs of the American experience and helped shape our national character. Whether it’s professional sports, or those played on the collegiate or scholastic level, amateur sports or sports played by kids on the local playground, the plain fact is sports are everywhere in America. Our love of sports begins in our hometowns–on the sandlot, at the local ball field, in the street, even. Americans play sports everywhere.

And last but not least, the exhibition may not be on the road anymore, but you can still view Beyond Baseball: The Life of Roberto Clemente through an online exhibition from SITES, based on an original exhibition from the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, a Smithsonian Affiliate. Clemente was born in the summer of 1934 in a house of concrete and wood on an old country road in Barrio San Antón, Carolina, Puerto Rico. He died on December 31, 1972, in a plane crash a few miles from his birthplace while attempting to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. In his thirty-eight years, RobertoClemente became a baseball legend in the United States, but in his homeland and throughout Latin America he became a national and cultural icon.

Do you know of baseball exhibits at Smithsonian Affiliates in your hometown? Let us know! Email us or tweet us @SIAffiliates and share your baseball stories!

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