October 29, 2014

affiliates in the news- November 2014

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.

Poverty Point State Historic Site (West Carroll, Louisiana)
Poverty Point to celebrate World Heritage Site designation Saturday
According to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Poverty Point is the 22nd World Heritage Site in the United States. Dardenne’s office states that Poverty Point was the U.S. Department of the Interior’s lone nomination for world heritage status-adding to the site’s accolades as a National Historic Landmark, National Monument and Smithsonian Affiliate. 

George Catlin, Buffalo Chase, Bulls Making Battle with Men and Horses. 1832-1833, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

George Catlin, Buffalo Chase, Bulls Making Battle with Men and Horses. 1832-1833, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Mennello Museum of Art (Orlando, Florida)
Mennello Museum opens final exhibits in 15th-anniversary season
The Mennello Museum of American Art is wrapping up its 15th-anniversary year with two exhibitions that opened Oct. 3…The two new exhibitions are “George Catlin’s American Buffalo,” on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and “The Taos Society of Artists,” an original exhibition curated by museum executive director Frank Holt. The exhibitions run through Jan. 4, 2015.

The Majesty of the Buffalo, Captured on Canvas [16 Images]
In Great Falls, the exhibit was received enthusiastically, and the museum saw an uptick in attendance. “We’re delighted to have this quality of an exhibition from the Smithsonian,” Burt said, adding that the scenes provided Native Americans with “a great opportunity” for insight into their ancestors’ lifeways and the scenery of the plains.

space-center-houston-smithsonianSpace Center Houston (Houston, Texas)
Space Center Houston is 1st Smithsonian Affiliate in Houston
Space Center Houston is now a member of the Smithsonian’s crew. Space Center Houston, which serves as the official visitor center for NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas, is officially the first museum in Houston to be named a Smithsonian Affiliate.

Another giant leap for Space Center Houston
In a giant leap toward preserving the history of space exploration, Space Center Houston became the city’s first Smithsonian Affiliate on Oct. 8

Witte Museum (San Antonio, Texas)
Witte Museum announces Smithsonian partnership
We purposely waited to become a Smithsonian Affiliate because we’re in a great transformation right now at the museum and we thought it would be the perfect way to say we’re a top-tier museum,” said Marise McDermott, Witte Museum president and CEO.

Witte now a Smithsonian affiliate
The Witte Museum is now a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate. As a member of the program, the Witte will be able to borrow objects from the Smithsonian’s permanent collection and tap into its resources. “It’s such a great time for the Witte to have an affiliation,” said Marise McDermott, president and CEO of the Witte, who will announce the affiliation at a news conference this morning. “Before we were so focused on growing our campus, and now we’re ready to integrate with a national museum.”


Berkshire Museum (Pittsfield, Massachusetts)
Smithsonian Leaders Hail Berkshire Museum SparkLab Partnership
“We think that real innovation will happen in this space,” according to Claudine Brown, Assistant Secretary of Education & Access at the Smithsonian. “Every SparkLab is different, and this one is architecturally beautiful.”

Spark!Lab is hands-on science at Berkshire Museum
Berkshire Museum Executive Director Van Shields said, while tinkering on his own Snap Circuits project, that Spark!Lab will “stimulate the kind of creativity and innovative thinking that was the beginning of the journey” of bringing the museum into the 21st century.

biomuseoThe Biomuseo (Panama)
Biomuseo Showcases Panama’s Ecological Diversity
Panama, the Biomuseo proclaims, became a “bridge of life” (the title of its permanent exhibition) and a fountain of biodiversity. Just a bit bigger than Ireland, it has more species of birds, amphibians and animals (if insects are included) than the United States and Canada combined, according to George R. Angehr, a research associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. (The Biomuseo is an affiliate of the Smithsonian, which along with the University of Panama helped develop its scientific content.)

Wondrous or hideous? Frank Gehry-designed natural history museum opens to fanfare in Panama
A natural history museum designed by famed architect Frank Gehry opened in Panama City this week. The Biomuseo — a project first conceived nearly 15 years ago and hampered by all kinds of issues — welcomed in the public for the first time Thursday.

Idaho Museum of Natural History (Pocatello, Idaho)
Asian Pacific American History exhibit on display at IMNH
Asian and Pacific Americans make up more than five percent of the U.S. population—more than 17 million people—and those numbers are growing. Their ancestral roots represent more than 50 percent of the world, extending from East Asia to Southeast Asia, and from South Asia to the Pacific Islands and Polynesia. In commemoration of this important history, “I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story” opened at the Idaho Museum of Natural History (IMNH), on September 20 and will run through November 30. “I Want the Wide American Earth” was created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). The exhibition is supported by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Smithsonian exhibit heads to local museum
“It’s pretty exciting because we are a Smithsonian-affiliated museum…and we only get it for ten weeks so it’s here before it heads-off to California, so unless you are planning on traveling to California, you won’t get to see it,” Tews said.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

making the smithsonian-affiliate connection


Offering the Smithsonian Affiliate Membership is a great way to connect the Smithsonian and your local audience.

This year, Affiliates and the Smithsonian have worked together to develop the Smithsonian Affiliate Membership Toolbox. The Toolbox is a marketing package chock- full of Smithsonian resources and actionable ideas to make the connection between the Smithsonian and members.

What is the Toolbox?
In September, Smithsonian Affiliations launched the first annual Smithsonian Membership Drive and delivered the Toolbox to Affiliates.
The Toolbox includes:

  • Smithsonian media resources
  • Websites and program schedules from the Smithsonian to share with new and renewing members
  • Activities to engage visitors with Smithsonian loans, exhibitions and connect them through social media across the Affiliate network

SA_rack_card-Offering a Smithsonian Affiliate Membership as part of your organizational membership program is an exclusive benefit of a Smithsonian affiliation.

  • Exclusive Affiliate Benefit
    Are you one of the 100+ Affiliates attracting and renewing local members annually with the inclusion of the Smithsonian Affiliate membership in your museum’s membership package? Share the full list of Smithsonian Affiliate membership benefits with your audience.
  • Regional Ambassadors
    Affiliates are the Smithsonian’s regional ambassadors across the country – the Smithsonian looks to your organization to steward, engage, and renew joint Smithsonian – Affiliate members annually. Coordinate your Smithsonian programs and events with a Smithsonian Affiliate membership to bring added value to your membership package and build ongoing support.
  • Share your Smithsonian connection with your local members
    Your members may not make it to Washington, D.C., but can experience the Smithsonian at your organization. Joint benefits and programming make the link between the Smithsonian and your members.
  • Unique Membership Benefits
    Extend national benefits to your members who enjoy local benefits at your affiliated museum.

Want more information? Contact Christina DiMeglio Lopez, External Affairs Manager.

October 14, 2014

road report: the smithsonian in sunny california

On the road in sunny California!

On the road in sunny California!

Three and a half days, 559 miles and visits to eight Smithsonian Affiliates in southern California, only just begins to describe my recent trip to the west coast.  I had traveled to Los Angeles to attend the opening event for Cahuilla Continuum: Túku, Ívax, Túleka, the Riverside Metropolitan Museum’s exhibition telling the story of a Southern California Native people, the Cahuilla.  This gave me the welcome opportunity of visiting the Smithsonian Affiliates in and surrounding Los Angeles.  The following is a recap of my whirlwind tour.

Cerritos Library

Cerritos Library

I should start by saying that with 23 Smithsonian Affiliates, California has more Smithsonian Affiliates than any other state in the union.  Most states have three or four (and we have yet to Affiliate with a few states) but the diversity of California’s cultural landscape is certainly well represented in our west coast partners.

Cerritos Library, is a library (and Smithsonian Affiliate) like few others.  There is an aquarium, reading labs, exhibition spaces and an art collection. It was terrific to see the community using this resource so thoroughly.


The garden at LA Plaza through the grey metal gates.

On day 2, I visited LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, a wonderful space in a historic building- often so rare in the west.  The garden takes advantage of the hot California sun to teach students about nutrition and agriculture.

The Apollo Boilerplate at Columbia Memorial Space Center, on loan from the National Air and Space Museum.

The Apollo Boilerplate at Columbia Memorial Space Center, on loan from the National Air and Space Museum.

In the afternoon, I visited the Columbia Memorial Space Center, home to an Apollo “Boilerplate,” on loan from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.  Then I headed towards northeast toward Alta Loma to visit one of our newest Smithsonian Affiliates, the Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts.  The visit to this woodworker artist’s home gave me a better understanding of the huge impact his work has had in the art world.

Here I am in a Sam Maloof chair.

Here I am in a Sam Maloof chair.

The next day, my morning began with a visit to a school on an Indian reservation; the Riverside Metropolitan Museum had brought two scholars from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian as part of their annual Smithsonian Week in Riverside.  The students asked great questions and shared their own experiences with the visitors from DC.  We stopped in at the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum in Palm Springs, also a Smithsonian Affiliate, to see their latest exhibition, Through You, Our Ancient Leaders, We Became: Birth of the Agua Caliente Band.

Michael Hammond, Director of Agua Caliente Cultural Museum and Sarah Mundy, Director of Riverside Metropolitan Museum in front of the display case holding the artifacts on loan from the National Museum of the American Indian.

Michael Hammond, Director of Agua Caliente Cultural Museum and Sarah Mundy, Director of Riverside Metropolitan Museum in front of the display case holding the artifacts on loan from the National Museum of the American Indian.

On the last day of my visit I

Students explore study collections after Jill Norwood and Emil Her Many Horses from the National Museum of the American Indian spoke to students during Smithsonian Week in Riverside.

Students explore study collections after Jill Norwood and Emil Her Many Horses from the National Museum of the American Indian spoke to students during Smithsonian Week in Riverside.

stopped in on two Affiliates: Millard Sheets Art Center in Pomona and the Western Science Center in Hemet, both doing great work connecting their communities with educational resources.  I ended my day with the event that had brought me to California: the Riverside Metropolitan Museum was celebrating the opening of their Cahuilla Continuum exhibition, which included three artifacts from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.  They were deservedly proud of their work and we were proud of the wonderful partnership between Riverside (and all of the terrific Affiliates in California) and the Smithsonian.

October 9, 2014

Road Report: Houston, We Have Affiliate Liftoff!

Road Report- Harold, October 8, 2014

Houston, we have liftoff!

The first thing you see when you pull into the parking lot of Space Center Houston is a full-scale space shuttle replica perched upon a NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.  It’s a neck-stretching sight, and an awesome introduction to the many wonders of our new Smithsonian Affiliate.

Space shuttle replica atop a NASA shuttle carrier

Space shuttle replica atop a NASA shuttle carrier

Opened in 1992, Space Center Houston boggles your brain, tugs at your heart, and sparks your imagination at every turn – it’s the story of spaceflight under one (very large) roof, with many more roofs (and displays) next door at the Johnson Space Center.

Richard Allen, Chief Executive Officer, Space Center Houston, in front of Mercury Space Capsule on loan from the National Air and Space Museum.

Richard Allen, Chief Executive Officer, Space Center Houston, in front of Mercury Space Capsule on loan from the National Air and Space Museum.

Richard Allen, Space Center Houston chief executive officer, and his hard working staff have created a diverse array of engaging experiences – large-format film theaters, interactive spaces for children of all ages, demonstration stages led by knowledgeable and enthusiastic interpreters, and dramatically lit exhibitions that tell the inspiring history of the U.S. space program –  its triumphs, tragedies, and enduring influence on our dreams of the future.

Mars Rover prototype on loan from NASM.

Mars Rover prototype on loan from NASM.

Of course, it was a pleasure to see so many artifacts on loan from our National Air and Space Museum (NASM), employed to give an accurate and detailed rendering of the history of spaceflight – command modules like the “Faith 7” Mercury capsule, Gemini 5 and Apollo 17, spacesuits worn by astronauts Michael Collins, Pete Conrad and “Wally” Schirra, a walkthrough Skylab, and a Mars rover prototype – to name just a few.  If you take the tour of the Johnson Space Center, you’ll also see a lovingly restored Saturn V Rocket, also on loan from NASM, displayed horizontally in a building nearly 400 feet long.  The thought of sitting atop this engineering marvel, waiting to be propelled to the moon, sends shivers down your spine.

Richard Allen and Meg Naumann, Director of Development, in front of the Saturn V rocket, also on loan from NASM.

Richard Allen and Meg Naumann, Director of Development, in front of the Saturn V rocket, also on loan from NASM.

There’s never enough time to see everything going on at an Affiliate museum or to meet all of the incredible folks who make it happen –  staff, volunteers, and supporters – but after a day-and-a half in San Antonio, at The Witte Museum and the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, and six hours at Space Center Houston, I came away with the distinct impression that “The Lone Star State” has a lot more than one star in its firmament.  We are honored that so many Texas luminaries populate our galaxy of Smithsonian Affiliates.

Catch up on Harold’s Witte Museum blog here.

October 8, 2014

road report: Harold in San Antonio

I had the pleasure of announcing our new Affiliation with The Witte Museum in San Antonio on October 7, 2014.  By coincidence The Witte was also celebrating its 88th birthday, so it was a double pleasure.  Marise McDermott, President and CEO presided over the announcement ceremony which included San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor and City Council member Keith Toney.  Kind words were spread all around; as always I was humbled and honored to represent the Smithsonian.

San Antonio River runs by the Witte Museum, creating a 13 mile trail from Breckenridge Park to downtown.

San Antonio River runs by the Witte Museum, creating a 13 mile trail from Breckenridge Park to downtown.

I met many wonderful people at the Witte and discovered interesting connections between the Witte and the Smithsonian, especially in the field of paleontology and archaeology.  Dinosaurs once ruled south Texas, and Witte Museum Curator of Paleontology and Geology, Thomas Adams, Ph.D., is literally hot on their trail – uncovering dino tracks and other significant fossil remains.  Harry Shafer, Ph.D, Witte Museum Curator of Archeology, Professor Emeritus at Texas A&M University,  has been studying rock art along the lower Pecos River, among the most sophisticated finds in North America.

San Antonio's Chili Queens are alive and well (and widely appreciated) at the Witte Museum.

San Antonio’s Chili Queens are alive and well (and widely appreciated) at the Witte Museum.

The Smithsonian has many long-term interests in San Antonio.  The Smithsonian American Art Museum includes works by artists, Jesse Trevino and Mel Casas; Smithsonian Folkways documents the musical heritage of San Antonio, from legendary corrido singer Lydia Mendoza to Grammy Award winning Los Texmaniacs; and the Smithsonian Magazine recently paid tribute to San Antonio’s fabulous Chili Queens, 19th century food entrepreneurs who helped make the taco the world’s favorite meal.

The new South Texas Heritage Center at the Witte Museum -- a taste of more to come.

The new South Texas Heritage Center at the Witte Museum — a taste of more to come.

There’s a lot going on at the Witte on which to build our partnership and more to come when the museum completes Phase II of its grand expansion project in 2017.

Angelica Docog and Aaron Parks of the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, our other Affiliate in San Antonio, joined the festivities and then brought me back to see an amazing exhibit on Texas Quilts on display in their facility in Hemisphere Park.  We talked about several new exhibits they are planning to install including one on Sikh history and culture from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Angelica filled me in on the success of their Smithsonian Youth Access Grant, Young Historians/Living Histories and how it helped the Institute build bridges to San Antonio’s Korean community.

What would a Texas be without a long-horned steer?  This might be one of the longest long-horns.

What would a Texas be without a long-horned steer? This might be one of the longest long-horns.

One cannot visit San Antonio without feeling a sense of vibrancy – a growing city with a strong economy, a major convention and tourist destination, a proud history and a bright future.  How wonderful to see our Affiliate colleagues leading the charge.

Tomorrow, I get to announce another new Affiliate – Space Center Houston.  It’s a good week for lifting off!

September 30, 2014

kudos affiliates! october 2014 accomplishments

Congrats to all Affiliates on your recent accomplishments!

With a historic gift from Drs. Nicholas A. and Dorothy M. Cummings of $3.5 million — following an earlier $1.5 million gift — the Center for the History of Psychology has its future secured and will be renamed the Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology. The multimillion dollar gift will allow the Cummings Center to expand its museum and construct a dedicated research space and offices for visiting scholars and staff. It also will fund an endowment to support a full-time associate director position, enabling the director to focus on fundraising and advancing the Cummings Center’s reputation.

Lowell National Historical Park is one of 65 national parks selected to receive a 2014 Ticket to Ride grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. The grant supports the programming and bus fees for 600 Nashua School District fifth graders to the Tsongas Industrial History Center (TIHC) to participate in the “River as a Classroom” program and explore the Merrimack River’s ecosystem by boat and or land.

The Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) has approved funding for two grants to The Ellen Noël Art Museum. The museum will received a $5,000 grant through the Arts Create program, and a $1,000 grant through the Arts Respond Project. The Arts Respond grant will support the ongoing collaboration with ECISD known as Fine Arts Connection. For over 20 years, this program has provided thousands of young students an opportunity to visit the Museum, tour the galleries and participate in hands on activities. These tours are a major consideration during the planning of the fall exhibit schedule and combine core subject matters with the arts, helping educators to meet the TEKS K-12 standards. Arts Create is in support of general operating for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced the grant recipients for their Museums for America and National Leadership Grants for Museums programs including the following Affiliate awards:
Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona – Tucson, AZ
Award Amount: $150,000
The Arizona State Museum will complete conservation treatment of 320 ethnological baskets of high scholarly significance and interest to the museum, scholars and researchers, tribal community members, and the general public. Grant funds will support the purchase of archival quality materials and conservation supplies as well as the hiring of a part-time specialist conservator and recent conservation graduate who will work with the museum’s conservators to treat and stabilize the baskets.

Denver Art Museum – Denver, CO
Award Amount: $150,000
The Denver Art Museum will implement critical environmental improvements in an existing storage facility in the final phase of a project to renovate and upgrade the facility. The project will improve current storage conditions for textile art objects, maximize the use of space in storage allowing for consolidation of textile art, and improve curatorial, conservation, and collections management accessibility and safe handling conditions to meet the increased demands of rotations, programs, and exhibitions in the expanded Textile Art Department.

Denver Art Museum – Denver, CO
Award Amount: $148,000
Denver Art Museum will develop participatory programs co-designed by the museum’s education staff and local creative entrepreneurs to respond to the challenge of rethinking traditional forms of audience engagement. “Test Kitchens” will be spaces that provide activities tied to art to engage the creative community, and “Pop-Ups” will be spaces in galleries with participatory activities that respond, extend, or react to the gallery where they are located. The project encourages dialogue among visitors and artists, deepening the visitor experience and positioning DAM as a catalyst for creativity.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science – Denver, CO
Award Amount: $149,940
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science will re-house and enhance collections management of the museum’s North American Plains Nations Clothing and Accessories Collection to improve stewardship and access for this high-priority collection. The museum will purchase and install new storage cabinets and supplies, fabricate customized mounts for each of the 1,441 objects, and reorganize the collection following Plains Nations cultural designations. As part of the re-housing process, staff will inventory, document, digitally photograph, and re-label the objects. This comprehensive project will address the long-term physical preservation for this significant collection, increase access for monitoring and research, strengthen intellectual control, and create new public outreach and community building opportunities.

Mystic Seaport Museum – Mystic, CT
Award Amount: $150,000
Mystic Seaport Museum will develop an introductory video and projection globe—two critical multimedia pieces for its upcoming “Voyaging in the Wake of the Whalers” exhibit that will explore America’s historic and contemporary relationship with whales and whaling. The exhibit will help visitors and staff expand the conversation beyond condemning past whaling practices to understanding the forces that drove the industry, how perceptions about whales changed over time, and how human actions continue to impact whales. This project will help the museum raise public awareness about the role the whaling industry played in the development of the nation’s multiethnic make-up, domestic economy, global impact and encounters, and further promote thought about the nation’s whaling heritage, and how it continues to shape communities and culture.

National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium – Dubuque, IA
Award Amount: $149,322
The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium will create “Boat Works,” a new exhibit and educational program demonstrating the history and skills of engine assembly. The unique exhibit experience will feature the operational Iowa Marine Engine & Launch Works, a 1915 machine shop, in order to interpret the machinery, tools, and equipment that was necessary for this skilled work. To support the exhibit programming, the museum will recruit, train, and evaluate volunteer interpreters to demonstrate various activities within the machine shop. Through this exhibit, visitors will learn all aspects of boat building, including the manufacture of marine engines, the building of wooden boats, the shaping of iron in the blacksmith shop, and the construction and launch of large iron and steel hull vessels.

Kentucky Historical Society – Frankfort, KY
Award Amount: $149,060
The Kentucky Historical Society will conduct a comprehensive inventory of its artifact collections. The effort will include making digital photographs of each object, conducting baseline condition assessments, and updating collections management records. The project will enhance the stewardship of the museum collections by accounting for the location of all items, rehousing and reorganizing the material, and establishing which objects may need more thorough conservation attention. Newly created digital images will allow the staff to increase the accessibility of the collection by adding to the historical society’s object catalog which currently features over 12,000 items in a searchable database.

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture – Baltimore, MD
Award Amount: $69,674
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture will hire a curatorial graduate student intern, create a postdoctoral fellowship in African American history, and establish a professional development fund that will allow staff at all levels to take advantage of training programs relevant to their work as museum professionals. In collaboration with the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), the postdoctoral fellow will experience hands-on learning in curatorial practice and collections; research and write articles that focus on topics in African American history, museum collections research, and upcoming exhibitions; and host two public talks that highlight civic and cultural engagement as related to his or her museum research. The graduate student intern and postdoctoral fellow will develop valuable career skills, and the professional development fund will enhance the ability of the museum staff to present information about the lives of African Americans in Maryland.

B & O Railroad Museum – Baltimore, MD
Award Amount: $91,200
B&O Railroad Museum will design and develop a permanent exhibit focusing on railway safety, the history of rail safety, and the individuals who keep railways safe. Through the use of life-size dioramas, historic artifacts, photos, archival documents, and interactive learning stations, the exhibit will be an educational tool for visitors to learn about the evolution of railroad safety and the role of organized labor, proper ways to engage rail systems, and gain an understanding of the safety tools and signs as well as the jobs of different railroaders. The exhibit will also be incorporated as a mandatory visit component for school groups utilizing the museum’s History Passport Program, a free admission program for students.

USS Constitution Museum – Boston, MA
Award Amount: $150,000
The USS Constitution Museum will develop a research-based, hands-on exhibit providing visitors of all ages the opportunity to learn about the origins of the “USS Constitution.” Intergenerational audiences will engage in participatory activities and learn through the lens of the people who dreamed, designed, built, launched, and outfitted the ship in the 1790s. The integrated exhibit and program project will expand the museum’s capacity to serve families by creating a memorable, engaging, and informative exhibit and integrated programs. The project will spark a cross-disciplinary appreciation for the ship’s innovative design and construction, including the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) concepts inherent in America’s history, and foster emotional and personal connections.

Michigan State University Museum – East Lansing, MI
Award Amount: $65,110
Michigan State University Museum will improve the storage environment for 28,527 vertebrate specimens that are presently housed in substandard or unsafe conditions. The specimens include both fluid-preserved and dry collection items, many of which are currently difficult to access. The museum will purchase cabinetry and archival supplies; transfer fluid-preserved specimens to approved flammable liquid cabinets; install archival boxes and drawer liners for dry collections; rehouse the dry specimens into new museum-quality cabinets; produce shelf, drawer, and cabinet labels for the rehoused specimens; update the storage locations of rehoused specimens in the collections database; install a temporary public display featuring the collections stewardship activities; disseminate information about the project; and evaluate the overall effort. This will rectify the current substandard conditions, mitigate risks of deterioration to specimens, and improve access to and management of the collection.

American Jazz Museum – Kansas City, MO
Award Amount: $133,050
The American Jazz Museum will hire a registrar to enhance the accessibility of the museum’s collections and create four semester-long paid internship positions focusing on collections and education. The registrar will be tasked with responsibilities related to collections care and management of special projects in the collections department, including ensuring safe and proper handling, transportation, exhibition, storage, and documentation of permanent collections and loans. To ensure the success of each intern, the museum will develop a sound, three-way partnership between the museum, the students, and the colleges or universities they attend. The interns will be recruited from University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Kansas, and Kansas State University and will work on projects that increase the accessibility of the museum’s collections and offer valuable job experiences to the students.

Museum of the Rockies, Montana State University – Bozeman, MT
Award Amount: $71,972
The Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University will create a new field trip program for schoolchildren in kindergarten through twelfth grade to keep museum education and informal learning experiences at the forefront of standards-based education for Montana’s schools. The project will increase the museum’s capacity to reach more students each year, create guides for teachers and students, and increase the number of Montana State University student-led field trip programs. Results of this research will be shared with other informal STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education programs statewide to increase the quality and relevance of all informal education experiences available to Montana schoolchildren.

Springfield Museum of Art – Springfield, OH
Award Amount: $23,889
The Springfield Museum of Art will develop a model for creating sustainable, audience-focused public programs through a project called “It’s Your Art Museum—A Model for Community Involvement.” The museum will hire a part-time museum educator and engage the services of a consultant who will conduct community focus groups and work with museum staff and volunteers to develop a model that can be used by staff, volunteers, and interns. Upon completion, this project will improve the quality of the museum visitor experience by presenting learning experiences for different ages and styles of learners that have been developed with community input.

Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico – San Juan, PR
Award Amount: $23,010
The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico will develop and implement “Art and Technology,” which will provide learning opportunities to at-risk youth in the San Juan metropolitan area by integrating the museum’s exhibits and collections as a platform for learning activities and dynamic thinking. Through lessons on digital media, photography, and art aligning with academic standards, students will acquire technology and problem-solving skills, language proficiency and communication skills, the ability to better interact with peers, and enhanced information skills. At-risk youth will be able to use the museum as an innovative learning facility with free art and technological resources to develop their skills to learn, create, and share with their peers their work in a safe environment.

Children’s Museum of the Upstate – Greenville, SC
Award Amount: $43,491

Children’s Museum of the Upstate will partner with the Greenville County Human Relations Commission and a local bank to provide family financial literacy sessions for low-income families titled “Finances for the Family.” These sessions will include a series of four workshops, a lessons learned discussion, and an exhibit challenge that will connect the museum’s growing focus on financial literacy to a communitywide effort to address economic inequality and improve financial stability for low-income families. By bringing its resources and early childhood educational expertise to bear on the challenge of financial literacy for low-income families, the museum will improve participating families’ prospects for the future and help build a stronger and more vibrant community as a whole.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science – Dallas, TX
Award Amount: $150,000
Perot Museum of Nature and Science will expand its museum-based professional development offerings for Dallas-area teachers by launching, testing, and evaluating a scalable Perot Museum STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Teacher Institute and Mentor Program. Participating K-12 teachers will attend a weeklong, intensive “Summer Academies at the Museum” designed to measurably improve the quality of formal science instruction in public, charter, private, and parochial schools by creating and sustaining a collaborative formal and informal STEM learning community. The museum aims to increase teachers’ knowledge of science content as well as their competence, confidence, creativity, and consistency in science instruction through this program, and ultimately increase interest and engagement among their students in STEM subjects.

The Museum of Flight – Seattle, WA
Award Amount: $19,163
The Museum of Flight will re-house and catalog its aviation manual collection, which includes 14,000 manuals relating to military aircraft, commercial aircraft, general aviation aircraft, pilot instruction, aircraft operation, engines, landing gear, and other aircraft accessories. The museum will rehouse the manuals in archival containers for long-term preservation and fully catalog each manual. The additional details added to the catalog records will enable researchers studying aviation, military and technical history, and technical design to more easily search and view records of the collection. This project will also provide an established framework for the addition of more manuals as the museum acquires them.

Wisconsin Veterans Museum – Madison, WI
Award Amount: $31,757
Wisconsin Veterans Museum will digitize and catalog 1,700 images including ambrotypes, tintypes, cartes-de-visites, gemtypes, cabinet cards and photo albums produced during the war, as well as images of Civil War veterans taken after the war. The project will include the development of metadata standards, evaluation of previously digitized material, and the development of an online searchable database. The Civil War image collection represents the highest priority for digitization because of the condition of material in the collection, the high level of research interest, and its historical significance. The project will provide the public with increased accessibility and a portal to a fully cataloged, searchable digital database of the Museum’s processed Civil War image collection.

National Medal for Museum Service Recipients

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences – Raleigh, NC
Award Amount: $5,000
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is the state’s most visited museum and the largest institution of its type in the southeastern region of the U.S. Visitors can observe real scientists at work through floor-to ceiling glass walls, and take part in an extensive range of exciting programs. Each year, more than 35,000 visitors attend the museum’s BugFest, the nation’s largest family-friendly event exploring the world of insects and other arthropods.

Achievements and Recognition
The Mountain-Plains Museums Association (MPMA) announced the winners of its 2014 Awards including History Colorado taking home top honors for Black Sunday Object Theater in the Exhibit Technology category.

another way to bring the Smithsonian to your door

Dr. Kurin visited the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia in November 2013. Photo courtesy NMAJH.

Dr. Kurin visited the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia in November 2013. Photo courtesy NMAJH.

You may have caught him in an Affiliate neighborhood in the past year—he’s been to more than 8 Affiliates—or read his new book The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects. But did you know you can now learn from Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture anywhere you can download him?!

Based on Richard Kurin’s popular book, the Experiencing America course—the first in a new partnership between the Smithsonian and The Great Courses—reveals the stories behind iconic American artifacts, including President Abraham Lincoln’s hat, Dorothy’s ruby slippers, George Washington’s sword, Harriet Tubman’s hymnal and even the Space Shuttle Discovery. Eye-opening and thought-provoking lectures share surprising takes on both familiar objects and little-known artifacts of profound importance to American history.

“When you’re in intimate proximity to one of these objects…you have a link to that sweeping history. History is not distant. It’s not a stranger.” –Richard Kurin

We are always on the lookout for ways to bring engaging, educational content from the Smithsonian to Affiliate neighborhoods and are delighted that Dr. Kurin has visited so many Affiliate communities. This new collaboration with The Great Courses offers yet another way to experience the Smithsonian.

“It’s been a real treat visiting Smithsonian Affiliates and giving public talks about The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects as well as having quality time to visit with staff . The hospitality of our colleagues and the welcoming audiences have been uplifting. And everywhere I’ve been, from the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh to the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane, from the Polk Museum of Art in Florida to the South Dakota State Historical Society in Pierre, among others, I’ve connected Affiliate collections to Smithsonian icons, regional stories to national ones, generating a wonderful response.”

Dr. Kurin gives an animated talk at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh in March 2014.

Dr. Kurin gave an animated talk at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh in March 2014.

Affiliates interested in bringing Dr. Kurin to their communities should contact their Affiliations National Outreach Manager for more information.

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