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March 31, 2014

Coming Up in Affiliateland, April 2014

Spring has sprung and Affiliate collaborations are in full bloom in April! 

FLORIDA
American Art Museum curator E. Carmen Ramos gives a talk on What is Latino About American Art? at the Frost Art Museum. The talk coincides with the opening of the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibition, Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art, in Miami, 4.2.

PUERTO RICO
National Postal Museum educator Kim Harrell leads a workshop on designing educational materials at the Museo y Centro de Estudios Humanísticos in Gurabo, 4.5.

WASHINGTON
The Museum of History and Industry participates in the National Museum of American History’s Let’s Do History, a program which supports teachers in using museum objects in their classrooms in Seattle, 4.7.

MARYLAND
The College Park Aviation Museum welcomes volunteers from the National Postal Museum for a behind-the-scenes tour in College Park, 4.8.

WASHINGTON, D.C.
Staff from California Science Center (Los Angeles) and the Museum of Flight (Seattle) will join National Air and Space Museum’s Michael Hulslander and NASA educator, Jennifer Kennedy at a session during the Mutual Concerns of Air and Space Museums conference to discuss collaborative possibilities related to space shuttle history, 4.14.

trexMONTANA
The Wankel Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil specimen travels to the National Museum of Natural History from the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, 4.15.

TEXAS
National Museum of American History curator Dwight Blocker Bowers gives a talk on “That’s Entertainment!” at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History in Fort Worth, 4.17.

NEBRASKA
National Museum of Natural History Director Kirk Johnson gives a lecture on From Fossils to Freeways and Shovel-tuskers to Cornhuskers: Nebraska’s contribution to the great story of life on Earth at the University of Nebraska State Museum in Lincoln, 4.23.

VIRGINIA
The Virginia Museum of Natural History opens SITES’ Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants exhibition in Martinsville, 4.26.

NEW YORK
Loren Schoenberg, Artistic Director of New York City Affiliate, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, will give a talk on Painting Jazz at the Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages in Stony Brook, 4.27.

 

April 30, 2013

coming up in affiliateland in may 2013

May is a busy time in Affiliateland! 

CALIFORNIA
The
Japanese American National Museum will open SITES’ American Heroes: Japanese American WWII Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medal, 5.4. The museum will also host the National Portrait Gallery’s traveling exhibition Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits in Los Angeles, 5.11.

bbhc

Detail of a historic firearm to be displayed in Cody, Wyoming.

WYOMING
64 artifacts from the National Museum of American History’s firearm collection go on display at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, 5.4.

FLORIDA
The Polk Museum of Art will host the Mayfaire Arts Festival. Beverly K. Cox, formerly Exhibits Coordinator for the National Portrait Gallery, will serve as the jurist for the museum’s annual two-day arts festival in Lakeland, 5.10. 

St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum will host a public program on the Art of Boatbuilding, featuring curator Douglas Herman from the National Museum of the American Indian. He will present a public  demonstration on boatbuilding by Pacific Islanders in St. Augustine, 5.18.

NORTH CAROLINA
The Schiele Museum of Natural History and Lynn Planetarium will open an exhibition entitled Mammal Safari, featuring 25 mounted specimens on loan from the National Museum of Natural History, in Gastonia, 5.18.

MARYLAND
College Park Aviation Museum will host their second Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos workshop in College Park, 5.19.

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum hosts a reception for all Affiliate staff during the American Alliance of Museums annual meeting in Baltimore, 5.21.

ramp

Native skateboard culture is headed to Connecticut

CONNECTICUT
The Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center hosts SITES’s Ramp it Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America in Mashantucket, 5.25.

TEXAS
Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is hosting SITES’ Elvis at 21, featuring 40 Smithsonian artifacts in Fort Worth, 5.23.

MAINE
Abbe Museum opens SITES’ IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas, in Bar Harbor  5.23.

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 22, 2013

coming up in affiliateland in march 2013

March is coming in like a lion with events all over Affiliateland!

Jefferson's Bible, from the collection of NMAH

Jefferson’s Bible, from the collection of NMAH

COLORADO
The Littleton Museum will host SITES’ Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America featuring 28 artifacts from the National Museum of the American Indian, in Littleton, 3.2.

History Colorado will host an exhibition on Jefferson’s Bible: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth featuring four artifacts on loan from the National Museum of American History, in Denver, 3.22.

FLORIDA
Douglas Baldwin, educator at the National Air and Space Museum, will give a talk on “Time and Navigation;” Douglas Herman, geographer at the National Museum of the American Indian, will give a talk on “Celestial Navigation by Pacific Islanders” as part of Night Fest at St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum in St. Augustine, 3.2.

Virginia Mecklenberg, curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, will give a gallery talk on the Harlem Renaissance at the Mennello Museum of American Art in Orlando, 3.23.

PUERTO RICO
Affiliations director Harold Closter will lead a workshop on “Developing a Museum Budget” at the Museo y Centro de Estudios Humanísticos, as part of their annual professional development training series for museum professionals, in Gurabo, 3.9.

 

July 30, 2012

invention invention everywhere!

Since Smithsonian Affiliations started collaborating with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History, we’ve learned a lot about Places of Invention.  (See this blog to learn more about our collaboration.) 

Affiliate staff and their community partners, on the roof of the National Museum of American History during the kickoff workshop for Places of Invention

Affiliates have joined the action too.  On June 15, Affiliate staff and their community partners joined a day-long workshop to kickoff their individual research projects around their own communities and what makes them so innovative.  (Read more about the kickoff workshop on the Lemelson Center’s blog, Bright Ideas.)

Now, we are all much more attuned to what makes a place of invention – be it exceptional natural resources, the right mixture of people and skills, or an inspiring location… or something else.  Invention was readily on view during a recent trip to western Massachusetts, and we suspect, can be documented in many other communities as well.

Join the quest for invention and share your stories with us!

 

August 22, 2011

bring history to life (literally) with Smithsonian theater programs

a montage of History Alive programs, courtesy of Julia Evins

A college student in 1960s attire carrying a Civil Rights protest sign starts singing in the great hall, leading visitors to a training session to prepare for a student sit-in.  The legendary John Brown thunders in an exhibition pocket theater about his anti-slavery activities and why violence is justified.  Mary Pickersgill lays out a swath of cloth on the museum floor, asking visitors to help design  the stars for her latest project, the 1813 American flag that would become the Star-Spangled Banner.

What is going on at the National Museum of American History (NMAH)?  The History Alive! Theater Program gets visitors talking about history through an interactive, personal presentation of the stories of America’s past that resonate in the nation’s present.  NMAH shows use emotion, tension, and conflict to lead visitors comfortably through a exploration of challenging issues and topics.   

Now NMAH’s award-winning historic theater programs are eyeing the road.  Designed to travel, the programs and their actors can re-create the Smithsonian experience at Affiliate sites.  The performances can be customized to take place in a variety of locations, with different kinds of audiences, or for special celebrations such as Black History Month.  The costs include a daily fee and travel from Washington;  contact your National Outreach Manager for more information. 

Affiliates have the unique opportunity to offer two of the most popular theater programs from the nation’s history museum to their visitors.

Join the Student Sit-Ins
Join the Student Sit-Ins is an interactive presentation of the story of the 1960 sit-in for desegregation that took place at the F.W. Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Visitors take part in a training session based on an actual 1960s manual and prepare for their first sit-in.  The program won the Smithsonian’s Education Excellence Award in 2009 for the Institution’s best educational program.  According to one participant, “The Greensboro Lunch Counter performance was the most powerful exhibit that I’ve seen in DC.  The woman who did it was wonderful and passionate and brought me to tears.”  C. Vanarthos 8/13/11.  For more, read about the program in the Smithsonian’s Around the Mall blog.

 

John Brown makes his case to a jury of museum visitors at the National Museum of American History

The Time Trial of John Brown
History and memory are not always one and the same.  When History is on trial, only Time can be the judge.  Created in 2010, the Time Trials series allows visitors to debate and discuss the historical legacy of controversial figures.  In The Time Trial of John Brown, visitors meet the passionate and committed abolitionist who violently opposed the expansion of slavery and led a raid against the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia in hopes of inciting a slave rebellion.  Visitors discuss and debate Brown’s legacy:  should we remember him as a heroic martyr, a vigilante murderer, something in between, or something else entirely? 

So, if you’re looking for a creative new way to engage your audiences, consider History Alive! Theater Programs and step right in to history!

October 5, 2010

Kentucky welcomes iconic Lexington home again

Special thanks to Alma Douglas, Smithsonian Affiliations National Outreach Manager, for this post.

It took several years of negotiations to determine the feasibility of loaning a 135 year-old skeleton of a horse to the International Museum of the Horse in Lexington, KY, but it finally happened in August. 

Thomas J. Scott, Portrait of Lexington, 1888, oil on canvas mounted on fiberboard, sight 24 1/8 x 34 3/8 in. (61.3 x 87.4 cm.). Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David K. Anderson, Martha Jackson Memorial Collection. This portrait is on view at the Headley-Whitney Museum, another Smithsonian Affiliate in Lexington, KY.

Lexington, a beautiful bay, was one of America’s and some would say one of the world’s greatest racing champions. He was born in 1850 as Darley and renamed in 1853.  He won six races out of seven in addition to what was considered to be the greatest match race of the 19th century.  Lexington was also raced against the clock to produce a speed record that held for over 20 years — four miles in seven minutes, 19 ¾ seconds.  Forced to retire because he was going blind, Lexington was a leading sire who produced a record number of champions over the course of 16 years.  After his death, Lexington’s bones were donated to the Smithsonian and placed on exhibit. 

In 1998, Carlene Stephens, a curator at the National Museum of American History, related the significance of horse racing, where races are won by tenths of seconds, to the subject of time while working on the Timex sponsored “On Time” exhibition.  Lexington was featured in the exhibition.  When “On Time” was de-installed, the skeleton went back into storage.   

Interest was rekindled in bringing Lexington back to Kentucky by William Cooke, Executive Director of the International Museum of the Horse. Kudos to the team, headed by Linda Gordon, Collections Manager, Department of Mammals, National Museum of Natural History; Ed Ryan, Assistant Registrar and Carol Slatick, Outgoing Loans Coordinator, National Museum of American History, who worked seamlessly together to coordinate the loan. 

Lexington's skeleton, fully assembled, at the International Museum of the Horse. Photo by James Shambhu.

Lexington stands as an iconic symbol for Bluegrass Country.  His image is found throughout Lexington, KY in celebration of his greatness.  Packed and crated gently for the long ride, the skeleton is now on display at the International Museum of the Horse, along with a full view of his portrait.  As thousands of horse enthusiasts from across the country and around the world visit Kentucky for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, Lexington will be “in the house.”

August 26, 2010

Muppets in Affiliateland

The original Kermit the Frog arrived at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History (NMAH) yesterday. Kermit made his television debut in 1955 as part of a local Washington D.C. television show created by Jim Henson called “Sam and Friends.” Henson’s widow, Jane Henson, donated the original Kermit along with the other puppets from the show. The original Kermit isn’t as green as younger Muppet fans may remember and was fashioned by Henson using his mother’s discarded winter coat. The collection will go on exhibit sometime in November. 

Visitors to the Orange County Regional History Center meet Kermit face-to-face in the SITES exhibition "Jim Henson's Fantastic World."

Affiliates across the nation have collaborated with the Smithsonian to showcase Jim Henson’s characters, whether through a SITES exhibition or through individual artifact loans.  Here are some highlights of Muppet sightings in Affiliate-land:  

Orange County Regional History Center (Orlando, Florida) hosted the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) exhibition Jim Henson’s Fantastic World in 2009. The exhibition wraps-up its national tour at Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences (Peoria, Illinois) in 2011. 

Oscar the Grouch at the Flushing Council for Culture and the Arts.

The Kermit the Frog that is already in NMAH’s collection was first loaned in 1979, in celebration of Sesame Street’s 10th anniversary. In 1994, Jim Henson Productions designated Kermit as a gift, making him a permanent fixture in NMAH’s performance collections. In 2005, NMAH loaned him to The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium (Dubuque, Iowa)  to be included in their exhibition Toadally Frogs! 

Oscar the Grouch and five additional puppets, also on loan from NMAH, made an appearance at Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts (Flushing, New York) in 2006 in their exhibition With or Without Strings

Through the Affiliations network, communities across the country have had the opportunity to experience Jim Henson’s lovable characters in their neighborhoods.  You can read more about Kermit’s new home at NMAH here:

Kermit gets some new friends at the Smithsonian
Kermit the Frog comes home to Washington

NMAH loaned Kermit the Frog to the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in 2005. Photo courtesy NMAH.

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