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August 26, 2014

2015 Affiliations Visiting Professionals Program- Apply now!

Since 2002, nearly 50 full-time staff members from Affiliate organizations have participated in the Smithsonian Affiliations Visiting Professionals Program (VPP). It’s one of the biggest benefits of being a Smithsonian Affiliate and one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. Not only do our Affiliate colleagues get the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Smithsonian for two weeks, but the whole Smithsonian Affiliations team gets to meet Affiliate colleagues that we may not normally interact with. It gives all of us an amazing opportunity to network with each other and learn about our individual organizations.

Michelle Beumer from the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science worked with the Q?rius team at the National Museum of Natural History in 2014.

Michelle Beumer from the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science worked with the Q?rius team at the National Museum of Natural History in 2014.

The 2014 cycle of the VPP welcomed 6 Affiliate staff members who started in early April and wrapped up at the end of August. One of the most frequently asked questions is “do I have to be a curator or a senior-level staff member to participate?” and we always smile and reassure folks that any full-time staff member from an Affiliate organization may apply to participate. This year, we accepted six Affiliate colleagues to the program—a group programs coordinator, an assistant executive director, a director of programs and interpretation, a public programs manager, a digital project archivist, and a curatorial specialist. Everyone was looking to learn something different from the Smithsonian to take back to Affiliate organizations.

Here are a couple examples from 2014 Visiting Professionals that were featured on blogs from the Smithsonian offices each worked with:

Melanie Deer: Learning about Barcode Collections

JA Pryse: The Starting Line

JA Pryse from the Oklahoma Historical Society hard at work in the Smithsonian Institution Archives.

JA Pryse from the Oklahoma Historical Society hard at work in the Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Do you have a project you’re working on that could use a little help from the Smithsonian? Is there a skill or subject matter you’d like to learn a little more about? We are now accepting applications for the 2015 Smithsonian Affiliations Visiting Professionals Program. The deadline is November 28, 2015.

Apply online and view the application process here.

If you have questions about the program, the application process or past visiting professional projects, contact Elizabeth Bugbee. If you would like to bounce potential project ideas for a future application, contact your National Outreach Manager.

August 25, 2012

2013 Affiliations Visiting Professionals Program

Solimar Salas worked with experts at the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute in 2011 to learn more about operating a conservation center at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico.

Have you taken advantage of ALL the benefits of being a Smithsonian Affiliate? Tap in to the vast resources of the Smithsonian and advance your professional development by applying for the 2013 Affiliations Visiting Professionals Program.

From technical assistance and digitization to collections management and exhibition design, let us plan the best visiting professionals program to meet your needs.Any full-time staff member at an Affiliate organization with a current project in mind may apply to come to the Smithsonian for two weeks and learn from experts about a certain technical skill, topic or collection.  Projects can be in a variety of museum areas and should allow a Visiting Professional to develop a new skill or solve a challenge related to his/her professional objectives.

Click here for application guidelines and how to apply.

 

Wayne Coleman, 2009 visiting professional from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, researches collections at the National Museum of American History Archives Center.

September 14, 2011

Art, Community, and Culture on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Special thanks to Sharon Shaffer, Executive Director, Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, for this guest post.

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, Welcome Center

The Ohr O’Keefe Museum of Art (Gulfport, MS) tells three significant stories through its museum and collections. It is the museum design of Frank Gehry, the unparallelled collection of pottery by George Edgar Ohr, and the artifacts of freed slave and craftsman Pleasant Reed that tell important stories of culture and heritage in the Mississippi Coastal Region.

The Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC) partnered with the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art (OOMA) to bring these stories to area students through educational field guides, supported by an IMLS grant.  SEEC museum professionals–Sharon Shaffer, Betsy Bowers, and Anna Forgerson– authored the field guides, while OOMA professionals will vet, edit, and create the visual design for the materials.

The student field guides are specially designed for developmental levels (early elementary, upper elementary, middle school, and high school) with six individual experiences defined for each level.  Each set offers an introduction to the museum, an exploration of the work and life of George Ohr, Pleasant Reed, and Frank Gehry, and a culminating experience that looks at the intersection of these individuals.  The intens is to fully engage students to look, reflect, connect, relate, and imagine, in the galleries and then return to the classroom to extend learning with standards-based ideas provided in teacher’s guides.

"Blackberry Woman" by Richmond Barthe on loan to OOMA from the Smithsonian American Art Museum

A group of K-12 educators from local Mississippi schools serve on an educational planning committee and have offered an inside voice for the experiences crafted by SEEC educators.  They will also play a role in the two days of professional development that SEEC will lead at OOMA in January 2012.

Teachers are eager to begin using the new standards-based materials and the museum is excited to be able to serve area students through newly developed experiences that highlight the stories of their museum.  For all, particularly SEEC, this has been a labor of love… collaborating with exceptional museum professionals and dedicated classroom teachers to tell stories of Mississippi culture and heritage through the beauty of the museum.

April 23, 2010

you could be our next visiting professional!

 

Katey Ahmann at the National Postal Museum.

Katey Ahmann at the National Postal Museum.

Twice a year, Affiliate staff members have the unique opportunity to work alongside SI experts for research and hands-on training through our Visiting Professional Program.  Affiliations was delighted to welcome  six Affiliate staff members for the fall 2009 and spring 2010 programs.  Here’s  a taste of what past visiting professionals experienced to inspire you to apply!    

 

In October 2009, Katey Ahmann from the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences spent a month working in the Smithsonian’s Office of Policy and Analysis where she conducted visitor evaluation studies at the National Postal Museum. She learned  strategies for interpreting the data through observation and discussions with other visiting residents.  

Lee Goodan at the National Museum of Natural History

Lee Goodan at the National Museum of Natural History

 

 

Also in the fall, Lee Goodan, from the Charlotte Museum of History, spent three-weeks working among four Smithsonian divisions—the Spark!Lab at the National Museum of American History (NMAH), Discovery Center at the National Museum of Natural History, the National Air & Space Museum, and Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center. Lee learned how young visitors were using exploratory spaces at the Smithsonian and how the educators were using the galleries in a larger educational context.   This will help Lee as the Charlotte Museum develops plans to create a new Hands-on History Room, an interactive area for early Pre-K students.

 

Eric Stanley at the National Museum of American History.

Eric Stanley (left) at the National Museum of American History.

Joining us in February 2009 from the Sonoma County Museum, Eric Stanley worked with the staff at NMAH to learn about the development, research, and design phases of exhibitions, as he looks forward to planning expanded history galleries at the museum. Eric said, “It was a tremendous opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look and broad overview of a world-class history museum. I also cannot say enough about the individuals I met, the insights they shared, and the lasting connections I made. In addition to what I learned about exhibitions, I also came away with a richer sense of the possibilities that exist through the Affiliates program.”

 

Chena Popper in the Gems & Minerals department at NMNH.

Chena Popper in the Gems & Minerals department at NMNH.

 

 

 

Chena Popper, from the San Diego Natural History Museum just wrapped-up her visiting professional program in mid-April. Chena had the opportunity to work directly with the ten SI artifacts that are being loaned to her Museum for their All that Glitters: the Splendor & Science of Gems & Minerals exhibition opening May 15, 2010.    Working directly with experts at NMNH, Chena worked in the gem collection to help prepare the gems and jewelry which will be displayed at her Museum.  In addition to working directly with the artifacts, Chena also spent two-weeks in the registrar’s office at NMNH learning all the methods of care and registration for incoming and outgoing loans. 

 

And starting soon, Juan Carlos Lopez, a curator from the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, will be researching collections across the Smithsonian that pertain to Puerto Rican and Latino fine art.  Supported by a grant from the Smithsonian Latino Initiatives Pool, Juan Carlos plans to develop an exhibition that explores the progression of Latin art from 1960- 1990, among other potential topics. Check back in the coming weeks as we blog about his experience!

 

Don’t forget the fall 2010 deadline for applications is June 4!  For more information and program guidelines, contact Elizabeth Bugbee, (202) 633.5304.

 

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