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July 22, 2011

Smithsonian Affiliates in the news!

This week has been busy in Affiliateland. From World Historic Site nominations to Civil War anniversary events, to welcoming new Affiliates, it’s not only the temperature that’s on fire this week!

"Crochet Coral and Anemone Garden" with sea slug by Marianne Midelburg. Photos © The IFF by Alyssa Gorelick.

Putnam Museum of History and Natural Science (Davenport, IA)Smithsonian Community Coral Reef to live on in Davenport, IowaREAD MORE 

Rubin Museum of Art (New York, NY)
It is a rare and wonderful day when The Observer can share not one but two news items from the sometimes-sleepy world of Tibetan artREAD MORE 

With the support of a three-year, $270,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, Dr. David Jackson—the world’s foremost scholar of Tibetan Buddhist painting and a consulting curator for the Rubin Museum—will publish a new series of exhibition catalogues on Tibetan thangka paintings drawn primarily from the museum’s collectionREAD MORE 

Poverty Point State Historic Site (Baton Rouge, LA)
Louisiana is working with the federal government to put the Poverty Point State Historic Site in northeast Louisiana on the World Heritage Site listREAD MORE 

Prehistoric earthworks of Poverty Point

The prehistoric earthworks of Poverty Point in Louisiana and a collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings across the United States will be nominated by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for the U.N. World Heritage ListREAD MORE 

Poverty Point Nominated for World Heritage ListREAD MORE 

HistoryMiami (Miami, FL)
One of Miami-Dade County’s oldest cultural institutions, has been accepted as a Smithsonian AffiliateREAD MORE 

HistoryMiami Becomes an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, Claudine Brown, Smithsonian Institution’s Assistant Secretary for Education and Access, to present HistoryMiami with Certificate of AffiliationREAD MORE 

Mark the occasion as HistoryMiami becomes a Smithsonian AffiliateREAD MORE 

Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (Spokane, WA)
Forrest B. Rodgers has been appointed the new executive director of the Northwest Museum of Arts and CultureREAD MORE 

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
History center helps antique owners put a price on the pastREAD MORE 

Civil War 150th Anniversary:

National Civil War Museum (Harrisburg, PA)
Without stars or bars, blue and gray flags dot the entrance to the National Civil War Museum – each representing a soldier killed in a battle the Confederates called Manassas and the North called Bull RunREAD MORE

To mark the 150th anniversary of the battle of Bull Run — the first major battle of the Civil War — The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg set out blue and gray flags to honor all those soldiers killed in actionREAD MORE 

Greensboro Historical Museum (Greensboro, NC)
Combining state-of-the-art 3-D technology with American history, the Greensboro Historical Museum will offer a special program of some 170 images of President Lincoln and the Civil War eraREAD MORE 

Conner Prairie (Fishers, IN)
The magic of technology combines with the authenticity of characters in an outdoor historical setting to provide a truly unique experienceREAD MORE 

Smithsonian Affiliations Reciprocal Membership Program

Here’s a great deal you may already have access to: Paying for membership to one museum can actually mean free entry into several museums across the countryREAD MORE

July 19, 2011

kudos Affiliates! summer 2011

As summer heats up, so do Affiliate accomplishments.  Way to go Affiliates!

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science (Dallas, Texas) has received a $4.4 million gift from the Texas Instruments Foundation bringing the total within $29 million of its $185 million fundraising goal.

The African American Museum in Philadelphia was awarded $45,000 from the John S. and James L.Knight Foundation, as part of a community-wide contest to inspire and enrich the city entitled Knight Arts Challenge Philadelphia. The program entitled “RAAMP It Up Wednesdays” will showcase local artists by presenting commissioned dance and gospel performances through free weekly concerts at the museum’s Seventh Street Plaza.

The Putnam Museum (Davenport, Iowa) was awarded $35,000 by the Davenport Riverboat Development Authority for an upgrade to the River, Prairie and People exhibit at the museum.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, Michigan) was one of 31 awards for the Conservation Project Support Grants. Michigan State University Museum was awarded $87,816 to rehouse 16,179 mammal specimens into museum-quality cabinets. In addition, the grant will fund students to assist with project activities.

The Chabot Space and Science Center(Oakland, California) received a grant worth $1.8 million from the Betty Moore Foundation, to develop the Bill Nye Climate Lab exhibition and website, designed to support the science education of youngsters.

The Connecticut Community Foundation awarded Hunt Hill Farm (New Milford, Connecticut) with a $10,000 grant for a New Talent Arts Initiative, to offer professional opportunities to young artists.

The National Museum of Dentistry (Baltimore, Maryland) has been awarded a Give Kids A Smile Champion Grant from the ADA Foundation, and an additional award by the DentaQuest Foundation to help provide every first grader in Baltimore City public schools with educational resources to enhance children’s oral health, and to ensure good oral health practices, particularly those from low-income families.

The Rubin Museum (New York, NY)  has been awarded a $270,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation for the study of Tibetan Buddhist painting.  The three-year grant will advance the work of David Jackson, a renowned scholar on Tibetan Buddhist painting and a consulting curator at the Rubin.

Four Affiliates were winners of the 66th annual Leadership in History Awards, the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history by the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH):

USS Constitution Museum (Boston, Massachusetts) for The Family Learning Project.
Greensboro Historical Museum, Inc.  (Greensboro, North Carolina) for the exhibit Voices of a City: Greensboro, North Carolina.
North Carolina Museum of History  (Raleigh, North Carolina) for the exhibit Behind the Veneer: Thomas Day, Master Cabinetmaker.
Museum of History and Industry (Seattle, Washington) for the multimedia project MOHAI Minutes.

 

October 26, 2010

*amazing* loans at Affiliates this fall

More than 25 amazing and unique artifacts are on the move from the Smithsonian to Affiliates in six states,  from September to November this year.  This concentration of extraordinary activity gives testament to months (and sometimes years!) of hard work and planning by Smithsonian and Affiliate staffs alike. 

“Americans unable to visit the Smithsonian in Washington now have an opportunity to see some amazing Smithsonian artifacts from our collections in their own communities,” said Harold Closter, Affiliations Director.  “Something special happens when an artifact returns to its location of origin or joins an exhibit where it can be seen in a new context. Thanks to our Affiliates, the Smithsonian has a strong, visible presence in every part of our country.”

From the NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY:

Lexington's skeletal head, next to its image while alive.

The fall season kicked off in Kentucky, site of the 2010 World Equestrian Games.  The International Museum of the Horse borrowed the complete skeleton of Lexington, the most famous 19th-century American racehorse, returning him to his birthplace 160 years later.   Read more about this amazing loan in the upcoming Fall 2010 edition of The Affiliate newsletter. 

Isn’t Monopoly the way most of us learned about finance and economics?  A solid gold, jewel-encrusted Monopoly game from the Museum’s gem collection was unveiled with great fanfare in October at the Museum of American Finance on Wall Street in New York City.  While students competed in a Monopoly tournament, the artifact’s creator, jeweler Sidney Mobell, spoke about this one-of-a-kind artwork.   

From the SMITHSONIAN AMERICAN ART MUSEUM:

Barthe's almost 3' Blackberry Woman

Artist Richmond Barthe’s bronze sculpture Blackberry Woman will soon be on view at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum in Biloxi, Mississippi for the inaugural exhibition in its new African American gallery.  Barthe grew up in Mississippi, and was inspired by the women he encountered there in his childhood.  How elegantly appropriate for this sculpture to return to the genesis of its inspiration!

In November, the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico will display three paintings from SAAM’s Vidal Collection by legendary 18- 19th-century Puerto Rican Old Master, José Campeche.  These inclusions in a definitive retrospective of Campeche’s work represent the first loans ever between these two important art museums, a signficiant accomplishment.

Likewise, SAAM’s painting by Charmion von Wiegand “Nothing that is wrong in principle can be right in practice” will be part of the Rubin Museum’s Grain of Emptiness: Buddhism-inspired Contemporary Art exhibition, the Museum’s first loan to this NYC Affiliate.

 From the ARCHIVES CENTER at the National Museum of American History:  

Detail from the illustrated sheet music, Oh! You Babe Ruth

The Archives Center is making a significant contribution to the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music’s Sousa and His League of Players: America’s Music and the Golden Age of Baseball exhibition, marking the 100th anniversary of the Sousa Band’s World Tour.  With 11 baseball cards (including Ty Cobb’s) and several examples of illustrated sheet music (including Oh! You Babe Ruth and Stars of the National Game music), this exhibition will be the core of the University’s 2010 American Music Month Celebration.

From the NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN:

In an unexpected request, the Museum has loaned a 19th-century Sioux flute and hide scraper from the Dakota Territory to the National Museum of American Jewish History.  What’s the connection?  When NMAJH opens its brand new building on Independence Mall this November, part of the history it will tell is the western expansion of Jewish Americans, and the kinds of peoples and objects they encountered along the way.   

And from the MUSEUM CONSERVATION INSTITUTE:

Within the Emperor's Garden - on view at Flushing Town Hall

MCI’s extraordinary object, the Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion, made its way between two Affiliates this fall, from Texas to Flushing, New York.  Flushing Town Hall is located in one of New York City’s largest Asian communities, a perfect context for this 1:5 scale model replica from the Imperial Garden in the Forbidden City in Bejing.  Read more about the deinstallation and NYC installation of this object.

THANK YOU to all of our Smithsonian colleagues for their work on these loans, and for our Affiliate friends who so consistently collaborate with us to bring the Smithsonian to their neighborhoods.

October 26, 2009

Rubin Museum finds rare treasures in Smithsonian library

Filed under: Affiliate Guest Authors,Behind the Scenes,enewsletter feature,General,Resources — Tags: , — Jennifer Brundage @ 3:50 pm

Thanks to the Rubin Museum of Art’s curatorial assistant Tracey Friedman for this guest post.  Here, Tracey explains what happened when she came to Washington to research medieval cosmology in the Smithsonian’s Dibner Library for their upcoming exhibit, Visions of the Cosmos.    

Rubin Museum curatorial assistant Tracey Friedman researches medieval cosmology at Smithsonian Library.

Rubin Museum curatorial assistant Tracey Friedman researches medieval cosmology at the Smithsonian's Dibner Library.

We started with the questions:  How did we come to be? What is beyond the earth? How did the universe begin? How has man conceived of his place in the universe throughout history? The human condition is marked by an awareness of a mortal self and a curiosity about the surrounding world, giving rise to certain questions that have been answered by myths, philosophies, and mathematics.  The Rubin Museum of Art’s (RMA) upcoming exhibition, Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe, will explore the different systems, both religious and scientific, that have developed in Eastern and Western cultures to explain man’s relationship to the universe.

 As the curatorial assistant for this exhibition, I was charged with providing the research for the Western portion of the show. I had help from a greatly accomplished astrophysicist in putting together a preliminary list of potential objects, but it wasn’t nearly enough to narrate the Western tale of the cosmos.

We turned to the Smithsonian.  As a new Affiliate, we relied on the help of our liaison, Jennifer, to set up the appropriate avenues to research a new subject area. She believed the best outlet to meet our needs was the Dibner Library. I was a bit skeptical because I had never heard of this library and felt the allure of other more well-known Smithsonian museums and research centers. Jennifer sent me a list of relevant books held by the Dibner, available from their online catalog (another great resource for Affiliates). I had a list of remarkable pieces to start with, many of which were housed at the Dibner itself, inside the National Museum of American History. I decided that I needed to see these pieces for myself and find the images that would illustrate our story.

Within two weeks I had an appointment and traveled the four-and-a-half hours to Washington D.C. When I arrived, the staff at the Dibner Library had all of the books I requested, and more, set out for me. To my pleasant surprise, the librarians took my topic and ran with it. I was presented with numerous books dealing with an assortment of corresponding themes that they had extracted from my original list. I was impressed by the effort that had been put into this scholarly search, and thankfully, one of the librarians explained their research strategies and rationale with me upon my arrival. I was then led into the cozy, dimly-lit reading room and sat down with my pile of books for the rest of the day. Each time I reached the maximum limit of books allowed in the room, the pile would rotate out for an equally large stack. I was thumbing through each of the books, making notes and marking pages of interest. Instead of drawing my typical makeshift renderings of the images, the librarian made a copy of the pages I selected. I was elated.

I am so pleased with the final selection of books that we are borrowing from the Dibner for our show. The section of the show I researched will trace how Western medieval anthropocentric cosmology, which envisioned humans at the center of a static universe, was replaced in the Renaissance by a heliocentric universe, giving rise to our present, evolving astrophysical worldview. Among the 6 rare books we borrowed from the Smithsonian are texts ranging from the 10th – 17th centuries, representing great scientists and philosophers such as Galileo, Oronce Finé, and Joannes de Sacro Bosco.

My experience made it clear that my institution’s new affiliation with the Smithsonian will be a great tool for us.   I hope that my experience inspires other Affiliates to create similar partnerships and take advantage of smaller Smithsonian entities like the Dibner Library.

To read more stories about discoveries and collections at the Smithsonian’s network of 20 libraries, check out their blog and website.

 

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