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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!

FUNDING
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.

Additional resources:

September 29, 2014

affiliates in the news- October 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.

A life-size version of Mr. Rogers, originally from the Pittsburgh area, appears in the Heinz Center’s exhibition on innovation. (Senator John Heinz History Center)

A life-size version of Mr. Rogers, originally from the Pittsburgh area, appears in the Heinz Center’s exhibition on innovation. (Senator John Heinz History Center)

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
Celebrating Pittsburgh, the City Behind Pro Football, Big Macs and the Polio Vaccine
Pittsburghers, locals say, are proud in a quiet sort of way. For that reason, outsiders may not realize that the western Pennsylvania city is responsible for everything from banana splits to the emoticon. For years—16,000, to be exact—Pittsburgh has served as a hub for innovation across industries as varied as sports, weaponry, board games and condiments. 

Riverside Metropolitan Museum (Riverside, CA)
Metropolitan Museum celebrates Smithsonian Week
For Smithsonian Week, Sept. 23 to Sept. 27, the museum will feature two special Smithsonian guests, who will give presentations related to the “Cahuilla Continuum” exhibit.

Ellen Noël Art Museum (Odessa, TX)
Ellen Noël Art museum to host Community Art Day
“SouthWest Bank is excited to once again support the Smithsonian Affiliation with the Ellen Noel Art Museum of the Permian Basin,” Dewey Bryant, CEO of SouthWest Bank said in an emailed statement. “We appreciate the Ellen Noel Art Museum as well as their constant efforts to educate the Permian Basin in the Arts with the exhibits that they provide for the benefit of the Permian Basin including the Smithsonian exhibits.  We are proud to support this community organization in our great city.”

Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum (Clewiston, FL)
Exhibit Features Skate Culture on Big Cypress Reservation and Across U.S.
Native American skateboarders are the subject of a traveling Smithsonian exhibit at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in Hendry County. 

Philip Leslie Hale. American, 1865-1931. Wisteria, circa 1895. Oil on canvas. (Collection of Dr. William H. and Nancy Marshall). On view at the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

Philip Leslie Hale. American, 1865-1931. Wisteria, circa 1895. Oil on canvas. (Collection of Dr. William H. and Nancy Marshall). On view at the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

Peoria Riverfront Museum (Peoria, IL)
Impressionism Into Modernism: Crafting America’s Unique Style of Art
To McKinsey, the Armory Show’s appeal is local as well as historic, as the Peoria Riverfront Museum sits a mere three hours outside of Chicago. “Chicago was full of these artists who were at the forefront of Modernism, but perhaps just not as broadly known,” she says. “This is an opportunity to celebrate Chicago’s contributions to Modernism in America.”

Stafford Museum (Weatherford, OK)
Stafford Museum Invites Members For Special Events, Discounts
September also marks the month-long National Smithsonian Membership Drive. The Stafford Museum is celebrating their status as a Smithsonian Affiliate and the opportunity to share the Smithsonian Membership with all Oklahomans by discounting all membership levels by $10.

The Biomuseo (Panama City, Panama)
Frank Gehry’s Biomuseo in Panama, Finally Open for Business
Visitors must begin at the Gallery of Biodiversity which acts as an introduction to Panama’s genetic, ecological and biological bounty. …Also covered in this gallery are the current bio-prospecting initiatives that are being carried out in the country by organizations such as the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). 

National Inventors Hall of Fame (North Canton, OH)
National Museum of American History Innovates
In collaboration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, this space will display technological breakthroughs from various eras, trademarks and explain intellectual property protection. It also will showcase inventions of National Inventors Hall of Fame members. 

William Greiner’s photographs, including Merry’s, are on view in “Oh! Augusta!” at the Morris Museum of Art in Georgia. (William Greiner/Morris Museum of Art)

William Greiner’s photographs, including Merry’s, are on view in “Oh! Augusta!” at the Morris Museum of Art in Georgia. (William Greiner/Morris Museum of Art)

Morris Museum of Art (Augusta, GA)
Capturing First Impressions of a City in Transition
The Morris Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate museum, holds 32 Greiner photographs in its permanent collections and selected 20 of those to include in “Oh! Augusta!” Eschewing digital, Greiner used a 35mm film camera and a half-a-century-old lens. Schulte says that Greiner took so many photos during his 2012 visit that he had to ask museum staff to run out and buy him more film.

Virginia Museum of Natural History (Martinsville, VA)
3D Printing Extinct Animals: The Passenger Pigeon in the Age of Digital Zooarchaeology
The post-cranial bones of the Passenger Pigeon came from the collection of the Virginia Museum of Natural History. It was with the guidance of Dr. Elizabeth Moore that these elements were made available for this landmark project. Brian Schmidt, Director of the Division of Birds at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History was able to provide two skulls for the project.

South Dakota State Historic Society (Pierre, SD)
South Dakota Society To Show Smithsonian Webcast
The South Dakota State Historical Society will show a webcast of a Smithsonian Channel program on the history of California’s Silicon Valley. The historical society says its museum in Pierre will show the free webcast on Sept. 14. It was produced in 2010 for Smithsonian and explores the growth of Silicon Valley in the late 1950s, before people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates ruled the technology sector.

St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum (St. Augustine, FL)
Lighthouse will celebrate Native American History with award-winning chef
“The Mitsitam Café is one of the more popular places to eat lunch on the mall in D.C.,” said Mollie Malloy, Senior Director of Museum Services at the lighthouse. “I have met Chef Hetzler and had the very rare opportunity to experience, first hand, his passion and talents for bringing history to life through the culinary arts. His research of Native American food and customs can be tasted in everything that he prepares.”

Two days of adventure at the St Augustine Lighthouse
Historic City News readers are invited to be guests of the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum on Saturday, September 6th, to take a bite out of history with award-winning chef Richard Hetzler.

During the affiliation announcement at the Sullivan Museum, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Norwich University President Richard W. Schneider viewed a Lincoln mask produced with a 3D printer using Smithsonian 3D model. Photo credit: Norwich University/Mark Collier

During the affiliation announcement at the Sullivan Museum, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Norwich University President Richard W. Schneider viewed a Lincoln mask produced with a 3D printer using Smithsonian 3D model. Photo credit: Norwich University/Mark Collier

Sullivan Museum and History Center (Northfield, VT)
Sullivan Museum is now a Smithsonian Affiliate
Senator Leahy, the Senate’s President Pro Tempore and since 2001 one of three Senate members of the Smithsonian’s 17- member governing Board of Regents, said: “As a Vermonter and a Smithsonian Regent I’m doubly proud of this designation. Acceptance into the Smithsonian Affiliates program is a great credit to the Sullivan Museum and History Center and to Norwich University. It signifies the Sullivan museum’s vitality and high standards. Hitching our star to the Smithsonian, and the Smithsonian to the Sullivan Museum’s energy, is a winner from every perspective. This broad partnership will deepen the Sullivan Museum’s and Vermonters’ access to a broad array of professional and educational resources, as well as to the Smithsonian’s unparalleled collections. It will bring Norwich’s rich history to wider audiences beyond our borders.”

Norwich University’s Sullivan Museum Becomes Smithsonian Affiliate
“It offers us the opportunity to work with the 19 museums in the Smithsonian,” says Henrich of the mammoth Washington, D.C., institution. “When we’re planning our exhibits, we can borrow objects from those museums, and we can bring in subject specialists for lectures and programming … they have a fabulous speakers’ series.” 

Norwich museum becomes first Smithsonian Affiliate in Vermont
In association with the Smithsonian since 2014, the Sullivan Museum and History Center is part of a select group of museums, and cultural, educational, and arts organizations that share the Smithsonian’s resources with the nation.

U.S. Space and Rocket Center (Huntsville, AL)
U.S. Space and Rocket Center adds heavyweight helicopter exhibit
“As a Smithsonian affiliate, this is part of our job to tell the story of the Smithsonian in our neighborhood,” the Space and Rocket Center’s CEO Deborah Barnhart said.  “The Chinook is certainly part of the backbone of the story in our neighborhood here with Team Redstone.”

Center for the History of Psychology (Akron, OH)
University of Akron receives $3.5 million gift for Center for the History of Psychology
Nicholas Cummings, a trailblazing psychologist, and his wife, Dorothy, have committed $3.5 million to the University of Akron, which will secure the future of its Center for the History of Psychology. In recognition of the gift, which follows an early commitment of $1.5 million, the center will bear the Cummings name. 

After examining a century-old quilt brought in by Birmingham resident Nora Bell (not pictured), Renee Anderson (left), from the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and textile historian Susan Neill offered tips for preserving and storing the family heirloom.

After examining a century-old quilt brought in by Birmingham resident Nora Bell (not pictured), Renee Anderson (left), from the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and textile historian Susan Neill offered tips for preserving and storing the family heirloom. Debbie Elliott/NPR

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, Alabama)
New Smithsonian Workshops Show You How To Preserve Black Cultural Artifacts
But now a new program by the Smithsonian is teaching people how to preserve their own cultural artifacts, which have value to society and, quite frankly, monetary value.

Preserving Black History, Americans Care For National Treasures At Home (NPR All Things Considered)
It looks like the TV program Antiques Roadshow has come to town. But these are experts from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, here as part of a series of workshops around the country to help identify and protect items of cultural significance.

Smithsonian coming to Birmingham to evaluate African-American treasures
“We are extremely proud of bringing ‘Save Our African American Treasures’ to Birmingham and of our partnership with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute,” said Lonnie Bunch, director of the Smithsonian museum, in a statement.

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.

July 28, 2014

Affiliates in the news! Summer edition

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.

Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum (McMinnville, Oregon) and U.S. Space and Rocket Center (Huntsville, Alabama)
TripAdvisor Counts Down The Top 10 U.S. Space-Themed Attractions

Courtesy Photo Shown are Guillermo Vela, left, from Mission; Erica Gonzalez, from Harlingen; Jennifer Becomes, from Phoenix; Adan Chavez, from Riverside, California; Lilliana Ascensio, from San Francisco and Gabe Vasquez, from Alberquerque.

Courtesy Photo
Shown are Guillermo Vela, left, from Mission; Erica Gonzalez, from Harlingen; Jennifer Becomes, from Phoenix; Adan Chavez, from Riverside, California; Lilliana Ascensio, from San Francisco and Gabe Vasquez, from Alberquerque.

International Museum of Art and Science (McAllen, Texas)
Leader lessons: Erica Gonzalez
Erica Gonzalez learned a lot during her trip to Washington D.C. Now she’s applying what she learned at the International Museum of Art and Science in McAllen…She is one of 22 high school graduates accepted to the Smithsonian Latino Center’s Young Ambassadors Program.

Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, Massachusetts)
Archaeologists seek exact site of pilgrims’ Plymouth colony
About 360,000 visitors a year come to Plimoth Plantation, the Smithsonian-affiliated museum featuring historical reenactments of life in the colony settled by Mayflower pilgrims in 1620. But nobody knows exactly where the Plymouth colony was located. Now, Smithsonian magazine’s online site reports, researchers from the University of Massachusetts at Boston have begun an excavation to pinpoint the site.

New Mexico Museum of Space History (Alamogordo, New Mexico)
SCI-FI CELEBRATION
He said that the museum is updating the Imax Theater. Orwoll said the theater will be getting new walls and lights. “The old decrepit Imax letters on the building are coming off,” he said. “They’re finally coming off and we are going to repaint the top of that building with Smithsonian blue colors.” Orwoll added that the museum is planning to get new exhibits. He said the museum will be getting a Smithsonian exhibit called “Earth from Space” and a new solar system exhibit.

Ellen Noël Art Museum (Odessa, Texas)
MUSEUM MATTERS: The Star Spangled Banner: Fourth of July
When I first received the notification from the Smithsonian to be the Project Director for the production of the original Star Spangled Banner permanent exhibit — the most treasured national icon at the National Museum of American History in 2007, I felt deeply humbled. A year later, President George W. Bush and the First Lady Laura Bush re-dedicated the exhibit to the nation. Ironically, his childhood home is yards away from my office at the Ellen Noël Art Museum.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, North Carolina)
Bombay Natural History Society project to track mammals, promote nature education
The project called e-Mammal will be implemented under AAM’s Museums Connect programme. The other collaborators are North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and Smithsonian Institute, USA and Museo de Paleontologia, Mexico.

Poverty Point State Historic Site (Baton Rouge, LA)
Poverty Point approved to join World Heritage Site listing
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.

Scott Wheeler | The Ledger Jeff Brodie, deputy director of the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian Institution, announced plans for Innoskate at the Lakeland Skate Park.

Scott Wheeler | The Ledger
Jeff Brodie, deputy director of the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian Institution, announced plans for Innoskate at the Lakeland Skate Park.

Polk Musuem of Art (Lakeland, FL)
Take a ride into skateboard culture at Innoskate in Lakeland
Innoskate is a celebration of the innovation and creativity of skateboarding. It started in 2013 Smithsonian Institution’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation in Washington D.C.

All Decked Out! celebrates the art of the skateboard at Polk Museum of Art
The trend makes a local stop on Friday and Saturday when the Polk Museum of Art, part of the Smithsonian’s network of affiliate museums, presents Innoskate Lakeland. The event, conceived by PMoA curator Adam Justice, is one of only two offshoots of the original event; the other takes place at Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry in August.

Polk Museum, Smithsonian And City of Lakeland Collaborate for Innoskate
“The decision to go to Lakeland was easy,” said Jeff Brodie, deputy director of the Lemelson Center and historian. “We knew we wanted to extend Innoskate and we already had relationships in place in Lakeland.”

Telluride Historical Museum (Telluride, CO)
America in 101 objects
Tuesday’s event is organized through the Telluride Historical Museum, which last summer became a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate. That means the small museum at the top of Fir Street can borrow items from the Smithsonian’s collection and has the opportunity to host scholars like Kurin.

America in 101 objects: Smithsonian scholar Richard Kurin presents book, lecture Monday
From the Smithsonian Institution’s vast collection of 137 million items, Richard Kurin has culled just 101 things that tell the story of America from the days of George Washington to the Internet Age and everything in between.

New Mexico Museum of Space History (Alamogordo, NM)
New Mexico Museum Of Space History Is Local Spot For Nationwide Singing Of The National Anthem
As a Smithsonian Affiliate, the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo, New Mexico, is proud to be a national partner and serve as an official location for “Raise it Up! Anthem for America,…”

Sonoma County Museum (Santa Rosa, CA)
Sonoma County Museum joins national Flag Day sing-along
Closer to home, the Sonoma County Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate, will host a mass singing of the anthem at midday that same day.

Frazier History Museum (Louisville, KY)
Happy Birthday to our national anthem
In honor of both, the Frazier History Museum willhold special events Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. and culminating in a nationwide sing-along of the national anthem, sponsored by the Smithsonian National Museum of America History.

Smithsonian Affiliations Director welcomes the Hagley Museum and Library to the Smithsonian Affiliate network. Photo courtesy Hagley Museum and Library.

Smithsonian Affiliations Director welcomes the Hagley Museum and Library to the Smithsonian Affiliate network. Photo courtesy Hagley Museum and Library.

Hagley Museum and Library (Wilmington, Delaware)
Hagley Museum and Library designated as official Smithsonian Affiliate
“We’re certainly known regionally in Delaware and the Philadelphia area as a wonderful place to come and learn about the history of innovation,” Cole said. “But we really would love to cultivate a national audience for what we think is a national-caliber collection.”

Hagley named Delaware’s 1st Smithsonian Affiliate
“Hagley is a place where people can experience the history of innovation and be inspired to innovate in their own lives,” Hagley Executive Director David Cole said in a press release. “The Smithsonian offers an unmatched set of resources that we can use to fulfill our vision.

Anchorage Museum (Anchorage, Alaska)
Anchorage Museum becomes first Smithsonian Affiliate in Alaska
“We look forward to new opportunities to work with the Smithsonian’s unparalleled staff, collection and scholarship,” said Julie Decker, Anchorage Museum director. “We are looking for additional ways to collaborate with the Smithsonian and its affiliates nationwide on education opportunities, shared exhibitions, artifact loans and more.”

Alaska’s Largest Museum Named Smithsonian Affiliate
This new relationship opens a lot of doors for the Anchorage Museum according to museum director Julie Decker. “It means we can have those conversations about other museums within the Smithsonian network, with other museums that have affiliate status as well, so it means we may be able to bring new things to Alaska and export other things from Alaska to these places “

Anchorage Museum becomes first Smithsonian Affiliate in Alaska
The Anchorage Museum has a long history of partnership with the Smithsonian. In 1994, the museum worked with the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center to open an Anchorage office. In 2010, the museum debuted a world-class exhibition of 600 Alaska Native artifacts on long-term loan from the Smithsonian Institution

Frost Museum of Art (Miami, Florida)
‘Our America’ exhibit at the Frost Museum strikes familiar chords in South Florida
As Frost director Carol Damian explains about the international student body, “Our job is not only to educate our students about what the art of their countries and this country may represent, but also to instill a sense of pride in their history by showcasing works of artists that have achieved tremendous respect and renown all over the world, and to say ‘This is our story. This is your story.’ ”

Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Cody, Wyoming)
Buffalo Bill Center of the West Awarded TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence for Second Consecutive Year
“The 2014 Certificate of Excellence is again a ringing endorsement of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and the experience we provide our visitors,” says Bruce Eldredge, the Center’s Executive Director and CEO. “It’s also a testament to the wonderful work our staff and volunteers do in service to our public.”

Buffalo Bill Center of the West Invites Interaction With Its Online Collection for Both Virtual and On-site Visitors
In the most ambitious project to date, the Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, has completely revamped its online collections database. Now, nearly every artifact that has been photographed–more than 20,000 objects from the Center’s extraordinary artifact collection–appear online.

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, Alabama)
Lawrence Pijeaux reflects on nearly two-decade career at Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Much of Pijeaux’s work at BCRI has come down to core values, especially with his staff. “I heard the messages growing up: the importance of an education, hard work, treating people the way you want to be treated, helping our own in times of need. Our staff embraces that.”

Birthplace of Country Music Museum (Bristol, TN)
Nashville stars to help commemorate opening of Bristol Sessions museum
“This new museum will not only tell the story of the Birthplace of Country Music, it will help pull back the curtain on the region where the music still resounds, and it will help introduce new generations, and we are all excited about that,” BCMA Board President Jim Tench said. “Our new museum has the potential (to inspire and bring people together through music) year round.”

National Museum of Industrial History (Bethlehem, PA)
Will $3M anonymous donation save National Museum of Industrial History?
The donation fills the funding gap that museum officials have been working to close for 17 years in order to open the tourist attraction in south Bethlehem.

Multiple Affiliates
‘A Look Into The Sixties’ Opens in Grand Central Terminal with Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker will officially open, A LOOK INTO THE SIXTIES, a museum-style installation in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal,curated for the public in cooperation with 11 Smithsonian Affiliates.

CNN and Smithsonian Affiliations partnered to take “A LOOK INTO THE SIXTIES” at Grand Central Terminal in NYC
In cooperation with eleven Smithsonian Affiliate museums from around the country, CNN installed a museum-style exhibit in Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal in New York City celebrating the spirit of the 1960s.

CNN brings ‘The Sixties’ to New York
The collaborative process between CNN and Smithsonian Affiliations has allowed us to bring together iconic treasures from across the Smithsonian Affiliate network. This has been a groundbreaking collaboration bringing these museums together on a national stage provided by CNN.

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