January 6, 2015

Kudos! Winter 2014

Congrats to these Affiliates on their recent accomplishments.

FUNDING
HistoryMiami (Miami, FL) has been awarded $150,000 by the Knight Foundation as one of the 2014 South Florida Knight Arts Challenge Winners. The award will be used to tell Miami stories through images by creating a photography center at the museum focused on curating exhibitions and engaging the community in documenting life in South Florida.

The Justice Planetarium at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center (Hutchinson, KS) will undergo a $400,000 renovation in February, thanks to contributions from the Walter E. & Velma G. Justice Fund for Reno County and from Dave and Dee Dillon.

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA) has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Allegheny Regional Asset District board. The funds will be allocated for general operating expenses.

The Reynolds family and Reynolds Farm Equipment have donated $1 million to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park (Fishers, IN). The Reynolds family placed no restrictions on its use but the museum has mentioned they will use the funds towards a future project.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor (Honolulu, HI) received a $1.5 million grant from the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust. The gift combined with the recent $550,000 State of Hawaii Grants in Aid allocation and a $100,000 grant from the Freeman Foundation will be used for interior restoration of the iconic Ford Island Control Tower Operations Building.

The United States Army Heritage and Education Center (Carlisle, PA) will be the recipient of a $2 million state grant, recently awarded to the Army Heritage Center Foundation.  The funds will be used to add 37,000 sf to the visitor center.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens (Staten Island, NY) will receive $7.43 million from New York City’s capital budget, for the continued restoration of its Music Hall.

Several Affiliates have been selected as one of 919 nonprofit organizations nationwide to benefit from the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works Grant:

  • Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ) – $10,000 to support Free Summer Sundays in July, a multidisciplinary program featuring Latino and Native American musicians, dancers, and storytellers.
  • Denver Art Museum (Denver, CO)- $25,000 to support the exhibition and catalogue “Super Indian: Fritz Scholder 1967-1980.”
  • Robert W. Woodruff Arts Center, Inc. (on behalf of High Museum of Art) (Atlanta, GA)- $60,000 to support the exhibition “Alex Katz: This is Now.”
  • City of Dearborn, Michigan– $10,000 to support the architectural design and related community engagement and outreach for the development of an artist-in-residence unit in the City Hall Artspace Lofts. Facilitated by Artspace Projects Inc., the project will include all design stages for the renovation and adaptive reuse of a unit in the concourse of the existing Dearborn City Hall, as part of a larger development of cultural facilities and space for artists and arts organizations, including the Arab American National Museum.
  • City of East Lansing, Michigan– $30,000 to support the Great Lakes Folk Festival produced by the Michigan State University Museum.
  • Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens (Staten Island, NY)- $10,000 to support residencies for emerging artists and related activities. Residents will live and work alongside established faculty artists with diverse backgrounds and practices. The project will focus on performing artists.
  • International Storytelling Association (on behalf of the International Storytelling Center) (Jonesborough, TN) – $15,000 to support Storytelling Live!, a series of residencies for master storytellers. The program will showcase storytellers representing a broad range of oral traditions from all over the world. In addition to storytelling, the master artists will offer workshops and present special programs intended to serve seniors and youth.
  • Buffalo Bill Memorial Association (on behalf of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West) (Cody, WY)- $40,000 to support “Painted Journeys: The Art of John Mix Stanley (1814-1872).”

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced $17.9 million in grants for 233 humanities projects, including the following Affiliates:

  • Florida International University (Miami, FL)-$6,000 for improving the storage environment of The Wolfsonian–FIU Collection. Evaluating the existing environmental control systems inside the historic buildings would help the museum’s staff better care for this unique collection.
  • Stearns History Museum (Saint Cloud, MN) – $1,000 for NEH on the Road: For All the World to See.
  • City of Las Cruces– (Las Cruces, NM)-$1,000 for NEH on the Road: House and Home

ACHIEVEMENTS AND RECOGNITION
Museum of American Finance (New York, New York)
David Rubenstein to Receive 2015 Whitehead Award for Public Service and Financial Leadership From Museum of American Finance

LEADERSHIP AND STAFF CHANGES
Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Cody, Wyoming)
Cody Firearms Museum gets new associate curator

The Mexican Museum (San Francisco, California)
The Mexican Museum Announces New Officers for 2015

Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix, Arizona)
Musical Instrument Museum names executive director

HistoryMiami (Miami, Florida)
HistoryMiami appoints Holly Davis as vice president of advancement

Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden (Staten Island, New York)
Gabri Christa named new artistic director of Staten Island’s Snug Harbor Cultural Center

March 4, 2014

Young Historians, Living Histories- Today’s Stop: Honolulu, HI!

Special thanks to Paula Lee, Smithsonian Affiliations intern, for this guest post. This is the third of a five-part blog series she is writing as part of the Young Historians, Living Histories (YHLH) collaboration with the Asian Pacific American Center and our Affiliate network.

pa.2As we travel west to hear from our Affiliates at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor (Honolulu, HI) we take flight almost literally, with those who once navigated overseas when aerial travel was a rare and exciting introduction to history. Shauna Tonkin, Director of Education at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, connects us with Curtis Joe, immediate nephew of Chinese-American aviator and stunt pilot, Tom Gunn and Pan Am Japanese-American flight attendants, Mae Takahashi and Aileen Sodetani.

Tonkin partnered with Chris Facuri, Digital Media Teacher at Aliamanu Middle School, enabling the oral histories collected and edited throughout the school year to be incorporated into students’ curriculum. Participating students in the class took a field trip to visit the museum to meet Joe, Sodetani and Takahashi, where the entire group received a historical tour before sitting down for interviews. The two flight attendants live locally in Honolulu while Joe flew out from San Francisco to be a part of this project. All were very appreciative and realized the value of sharing the experiences that they’ve endured with younger generations. In response, the interactions with the pioneers made the experiences and stories come alive for the students studying them, activating their interests and courage to solicit knowledgeable questions.

Ford Island, where the museum is located is in the middle of Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, HI. On December 7, 1941, Japanese aircraft led a surprise attack initiating World War II. This led to a hard time for both Americans and Asian Americans, because the following year over 150,000 Japanese were ordered into internment camps although 62% of them were American citizens.

“The program served to be education, dynamic and responsive due to the nature of its interactive learning environment” observed by cooperating teacher Chris Facuri. Sparking the curiosity and interests of the youth was an important experience for Tonkin as she empathized with the difficulties of 1st generation children and their journey towards finding homage and respect for their culture while adapting to American influence. Tonkin emphasizes that this collaboration has “instilled a greater appreciation for diversity and culture of the Asian American Pacific experience. The oral histories collected barely scratched the surface.” She said, revealing her excitement towards starting new projects.

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Students capture footage of Curtis’ interaction with youth of YHLH during a field trip tour to Pacific Aviation Museum

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Students take a tour of the museum to learn about Pacific Aviation history

 

Curtis Joe, nephew of Tom Gunn, Chinese Aviator of the Pacific Ocean sitting in for an interview

Curtis Joe, nephew of Tom Gunn, Chinese Aviator of the Pacific Ocean sharing the stories of his childhood

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Students take a tour of the museum to learn about Pacific Aviation history

February 18, 2014

Young Historians, Living History- Today’s Stop: Greensboro, NC!

Special thanks to Paula Lee, Smithsonian Affiliations intern, for this guest post. This is the second of a five-part blog series she is writing as part of the Young Historians, Living Histories (YHLH) collaboration with the Asian Pacific American Center and our Affiliate network.

Students of the Montagnard community proudly representing the Smithsonian Museum and Greensboro Historical Center

Students of the Montagnard community proudly representing the Smithsonian Museum and Greensboro Historical Center

 

Greensboro, North Carolina is home to the largest Montagnard community living not only in the United States, but outside of Vietnam which makes Greensboro, a pretty big deal. Today I’ll share what the Young Historians, Living Histories project has enabled the Smithsonian and its collaborators to discover in the recent weeks! Dean Macleod, Curator of Education at the Greensboro Historical Museum (Greensboro, North Carolina), guided me through some fascinating facts about the Montagnard community that he learned through interacting with the community’s youth.

French for “mountain people,” the Montagnard (pronounced mon-tuhn-yahrd), are the indigenous people of the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Due to political, religious, and land disputes initiated by the Communist majority of North and South Vietnam, the natives were evacuated from the highlands at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 through American efforts. The refugees began their resettlement to Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte, NC starting as early as 1986 in multiple but slow waves of immigration. There are as much as 9,000 Montagnard refugees in North Carolina with a majority in Greensboro, some of which have identified as Americans.

No 'I' in Team - Students take on different roles in order to complete the oral histories.

The diverse Montagnard youth unite to complete each role required for the interviewing processes.

With this in mind, Macleod approached the community with caution and respect and discovered that “the youth of the Montagnard community were thrilled that the Museum was engaging with them, and interested in digitizing their stories.” Although the 15 Montagnard students are of one community, they are unique to each other. Each student represented separate tribes as well as being refugees from different waves of immigration; some were born in Cambodia, others raised in Vietnam, and a few even born in America. Macleod remarks that the students’ involvement in the program was a way for them to feel like they were giving back for the sacrifices made by their ancestors.

The Montagnard stories in Greensboro even inspired other participating Affiliates to learn more. “I didn’t know anything about the Montagnard until hearing about this project. Thanks to the Greensboro Historical Museum, I’ve done a bit of research as a result,” said Shauna Tonkin, Director of Education at the Pacific Aviation Museum (Honolulu, Hawaii).

Because of this research, Greensboro Historical Center included the stories and artifacts in their Voices of a City: Greensboro North Carolina  exhibition. This exhibit displays 300 years of local history that enlighten its viewers on the extraordinary stories that the city has to say about the community that shaped it.

Voices of a City Exhibition Photo Credit: Greensboro Historical Center

Voices of a City Exhibition. Photo courtesy Greensboro Historical Center

Don’t forget to check back, next week’s entry will highlight students in action as we step into the spotlight and begin filming and interviewing!

Mic Check! Students prepare to begin filming the interviews.

Mic check ! Let’s get these stories heard.

Students help edit each other's interviews using Mac OS Editing Software

Students are using Mac OS Editing Software to edit their videos.

 

February 11, 2014

Young Historians, Living Histories- Today’s Stop: Oklahoma City, OK!

Special thanks to Paula Lee, Smithsonian Affiliations intern, for this guest post. This is the first of a five-part blog series she is writing as part of the Young Historians, Living Histories (YHLH) collaboration with the Asian Pacific American Center and our Affiliate network. 

Asian Pacific American youth representing the Young Historians, Living HIstory after completing a workshop

Asian Pacific American youth representing the Young Historians, Living History after completing a workshop

Early this August, I had an extraordinary opportunity to join Smithsonian Affiliations as an intern directly assisting with the Young Historians, Living Histories grant. After a few weeks of researching the project, I spoke with Leah Craig, Curator of Education at the Oklahoma History Center, an Affiliate in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma History Center is one of nine Affiliate museums selected to receive the YHLH grant funded by the Smithsonian’s Youth Access Grant program. Additional Affiliates include Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (Seattle, WA), Institute of Texan Cultures (San Antonio, TX), Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, OH), Pacific Aviation Museum (Honolulu, HI), Sonoma County Museum (Santa Rosa, CA), Greensboro Historical Museum (Greensboro, NC), Riverside Metropolitan Museum (Riverside, CA), and Historic Arkansas Museum (Little Rock, AR).

This program is an educational initiative designed to engage underserved youth in Asian Pacific American communities by incorporating the use of digital media to produce oral histories. Being an Asian American myself, I was particularly thrilled at the chance to be involved in a project that hit so close to home. The Affiliates have collaborated with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (APAC) and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) to provide essential curriculum guidelines that will be used to train educators to implement youth workshops. Participating Affiliates have recruited Asian Pacific American students to attend workshops at the museums. Middle and high school students will learn a variety of 21st-century skills, methods of community outreach, and digital storytelling to explore, contextualize, and deepen their understanding of Asian Pacific American history and culture.

Director Leah Craig leading one of many workshops on Asian American history

Curator Leah Craig leading one of many workshops on Asian American history

While the Affiliates were busy recruiting students, Craig had already begun to lead a team of 20 gifted and talented students from Norman High School through active learning workshops. The workshops covered essential editing, filming, interviewing and a lesson in Asian Pacific American history with the help of teachers Margaret Wadleigh, LaRadius Allen, and Moving Image Archivist Corey Ayers. Students that participated in the workshop came from diverse cultural backgrounds and were placed in groups that encouraged them to share their stories and ideas as they began their transformation into historians seeking stories within the Asian Pacific American community.  At only 1.9 percent, Oklahoma’s Asian American population isn’t large but according to the U.S. Census Bureau it includes a variety of Chinese, Korean, Pilipino, Burmese, and Hmong communities with significant Vietnamese and growing Indian communities. The program has enticed the young historians to become curious and research the immigration stories that attracted Asian Americans’ very first settlement into Oklahoma such as the Land Run in 1889.

Shoulder to Shoulder-- Oklahoman students eager to learn the film making processes of oral histries in a workshop led by Moving Image Archivist, Corey Ayers

Shoulder to Shoulder– Oklahoman students eager to learn the film making processes of oral histries in a workshop led by Moving Image Archivist, Corey Ayers

Craig boasts that “by conducting the oral histories students are helping us collect the history of our community from people with whom we may not have any other way to collect their stories.” Students were challenged to reveal the hidden struggles and accomplishments that Asian Pacific Americans in their own families/personal network had endured while en route, discovering a part of them that was never truly appreciated. Wadleigh, one of the two mentoring teachers, observed that the oral history element of this project engaged the students in a way that activated their “emotional” skills, skills that helped them discover powerful stories that couldn’t be told through any textbook.   Look forward to future posts under the YHLH Series as we begin to unravel the unique stories hidden across the nation “oh the places we’ll go” when we’re looking!

 

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