February 23, 2014

Latino Young Ambassadors + Affiliates = next generation of leaders

The Smithsonian Latino Center’s Young Ambassadors Program (YAP) is a national program for graduating high school seniors aimed at fostering the next generation of Latino leaders in the arts, sciences, and humanities via the Smithsonian Institution and its partners. YAP is a college preparatory and leadership program encouraging participants to explore various academic and career opportunities through the lens of the Latino experience.

young-ambassadors-program-sealStudents are selected to travel to Washington, D.C. for a week-long seminar at the Smithsonian, followed by a four-week  internship in museums and other cultural institutions in 17 cities across the United States and Puerto Rico, including 10 Affiliates.

Do you know a Latino teen who aspires to be a leader in the arts, sciences or humanities? 

Who? Graduating high school seniors with a commitment to the arts, sciences, or humanities as it pertains to Latino communities

What? Week-long, all-expenses paid training and leadership seminar and a four-week internship with a $2,000 program stipend

Where?  Washington D.C. and internships in 17 cities across the U.S. and Puerto Rico

When? June 22-August 1, 2014

Why? Opportunity to explore various career paths, embrace your own cultural heritage, and gain practical and leadership skills and intellectual growth

Application deadline: April 7, 2014

YAPFor more information, to view the promotional video, and to apply visit:

With questions: Email



And thanks to the 2014 YAP Affiliate partners!
Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix, AZ)
California Science Center (Los Angeles, CA)
Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, CA)
Chabot Space and Science Center (Oakland, CA)
Miami Science Museum (Miami, FL)
Adler Planetarium (Chicago, IL)
Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (San Juan, PR)
Fort Worth Museum of Science and History (Fort Worth, TX)
International Museum of Art and Science (McAllen, TX)
The Museum of Flight (Seattle, WA)


October 29, 2013

coming up in affiliateland in november 2013

Museo y Centro de Estudios Humanísticos hosts Budget Planning for Museums, a workshop led by Affiliations director, Harold Closter in Gurabo, 11.2.

SITES exhibition Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America opens at the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio, 11.2.

As part of their ongoing Smithsonian Sunday series, the South Dakota State Historical Society will host a webcast from the National Air and Space Museum, 50 Years of Solar System Exploration: New Worlds, New Discoveries, in Pierre, 11.10.

The National Museum of American Jewish History presents a lecture and book signing with Undersecretary Richard Kurin, author of The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects in Philadelphia, 11.12.

National Museum of Natural History curator, Hans Sues, will present a lecture at the University of Nebraska State Museum of Natural History in Lincoln, 11.14.

Affiliate directors will be among the attendees of the Latino Partnership Forum, organized by the Smithsonian Latino Center and Smithsonian Affiliations, at the Smithsonian, 11.4-11.6.

15 Affiliates shared educational materials which will be available to educators as part of a rescheduled Smithsonian Teachers Night, Washington DC, 11.15.

National Museum of American History curators Nancy Davis and Peter Liebhold will participate in a panel discussion, Show me the Money: Museum Conversations of Debt and Commerce, with the director of the Museum of American Finance, David Cowen, in Washington DC, 11.23.


July 10, 2013

A unique experience: a peek into a two-week visiting professional residency at the smithsonian

Special thanks for this guest post to Jessica Crossman, Experiential Learning Department Program Coordinator at the San Diego Museum of Man, a Smithsonian Affiliate in San Diego, California. Jessica spent two weeks in April 2013 at the Smithsonian.

This year I had the honor of being selected to participate in the Smithsonian Affiliations Visiting Professionals Program.  My goal while in Washington, D.C., was to learn about how best to create hands-on/interactive exhibits that effectively integrated educational material and to study the use of technology in these types of exhibits.  The museum where I work, the San Diego Museum of Man, is redoing the hands-on part of our Ancient Egypt exhibit.  Because of this, those of us working on the exhibit wanted to explore different ways we could approach the idea of interactivity in an exhibit.  I spent time at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), the National Zoo, and the Smithsonian Latino Center.  At each of these places I learned how these Smithsonian institutions approached hands-on/interactive exhibits in their own unique way.

Forensic Anthropology Lab

In the Forensic Anthropology Lab at the National Museum of Natural History.

My first week in DC was hosted by NMNH.  The members of the exhibits department were kind enough to meet with me, let me attend some of their meetings, and brain storm ideas with me about our exhibit at the Museum of Man.  Coming from the Education Department at my own institution, I gained a whole new perspective on what it takes to make an exhibit while learning great logistical ideas and questions to bring back to the Museum of Man, such as how to think about being able to make our exhibit easily adaptable for future changes and how to think about our goals regarding exhibit interactivity.  Members of the education department met with me to talk about our education programs and gave me tours of their education spaces in the museum including the Discovery Room, the Q?rius Lab, and the Forensic Anthropology Lab.  It was wonderful to see the exhibits from their educational point of view and to hear what their education goals were in the creation of these spaces.  One of the most important ideas that I got out this week was the idea of putting the visitor in the role of the “scientist” both in the wording of text panels and in the execution of interactive elements, such as providing tools (microscopes, magnifying glasses, etc.) for the children to use to make scientific observations in the Discovery Room.  This approach helped the team at the Museum of Man reform how we wanted to approach our own exhibit.

My second week I spent most of time at NMAI, with some time spent at the Zoo and the Latino Center.  At NMAI both the exhibits team and the education team gave me tours of their highly hands-on exhibit for kids called imagiNATIONS, which is designed to show children the innovations and inventions that different Native American Nations have created in order to meet their own specific needs.  While learning about this space I was told that people stay and learn when they feel safe and smart.  This is something that was taken into account when the NMAI team created this space.  While this idea was a simple one it was one of the most important of my trip because once I shared it with the Museum of Man exhibits team it helped us rethink how we wanted to physically design our space so that our visitors would have more of a sense of comfort and would stay longer to learn.


At ImagiNATIONS education space in the National Museum of the American Indian.

My time at the Zoo was focused in learning about their exhibit development process and in getting a tour of their new elephant exhibit.  It was wonderful to see an approach to technology as a means of visitor participation in their exhibit in the form of a photo booth.  It was fun, effective, and even left visitors with a message of conservation on the photo strips that took home with them.  This low tech use of technology was in contrast with the use of technology that I saw at the Latino Center.  While at the Latino Center I was given demonstrations of immersive gaming experiences that put students at the site of an archaeology dig, of Augmented Reality at use in exhibits, and of the Latino Center’s digital collections.  It was truly amazing to see what possibilities high tech, digital interactives might hold for our visitors.

Along with all of these wonderful learning experiences I met some truly talent and kind people that I hope to keep in touch with.  And of course this trip provided the Museum of Man some new ideas for our hands-on exhibit space.  There was even talk about possible future collaborations between the education department at NMNH and the Museum of Man as well as the Latino Center and the Museum of Man.  I’m very grateful to have been given the opportunity to grow both professionally and personally through this wonderful opportunity.

February 21, 2013

opportunities for Latino scholarship


Our colleagues in the Smithsonian Latino Center are gearing up for a very busy 2013.

On November 7-9, 2013, the Smithsonian Latino Center will be hosting the Latino Art Now! conference, in collaboration with the Inter‐University Program for Latino Research (IUPLR) headquartered at the University of Notre Dame, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  Since 2005, the Latino Art Now! conference has become a leading national forum for artists, art historians, art professionals, educators, scholars, critics and art dealers.  Its aim is to explore U.S. Latino art and its relationship to contemporary American visual culture and art, while advancing awareness, education, scholarship and knowledge in this emerging field.

Held for the first time this year in Washington, D.C., the conference will coincide with the exhibition Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art, to open at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on October 25, 2013.  The organizing committee is currently accepting submissions for abstracts of papers to be given at the conference. 

Click here for full information about the conference, and how to submit a paper.

And, do you know (or maybe you ARE) an aspiring scholar who would like to spend the summer at the Smithsonian advancing research on Latino and Latin American art, history and culture?  Check out the Latino Museum Studies Program, giving graduate students the opportunity to do research, explore leadership opportunities, and complete a  practicum project with colleagues at the Smithsonian. 

Click here for full information about the Latino Museum Studies Program, and how to apply.



May 22, 2012

coming up in affiliateland in june 2012

The San Diego Museum of Man will be hosting a reception for the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies during the International Society for Technology in Education in San Diego, 6.25.

The Michigan State University Museum will be represented in the Community and Culture Program of the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C., 6.27-7.8.

Following a week of training in June in Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian Latino Young Ambassadors will be interning for a month at the following Affiliate host sites:  California Science Center, Museum of Latin American Art, Chabot Space and Science Center, Miami Science Museum, Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, Ft. Worth Museum of Science and History, International Museum of Art and Science, and The Museum of Flight, 6.24-8.3.

March 31, 2011

Inspiring a Revival in San Antonio

“Above all, cultural organizations affirm the power and potency of art and culture to re-envision possibilities for a decent life and a common dream.”
-Dr. Tomás Ybarra Frausto 

The Museo Alameda in San Antonio, Texas. Photo courtesy of the museum.

Nowhere is this statement more relevant than at The Museo Alameda, a Smithsonian Affiliate in San Antonio, where curatorial advisor Dr. Ybarra-Frausto and colleagues have assembled a collection of historic and artistic magnitude.

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution, “Revolution and Renaissance: Mexico and San Antonio 1910-2010,” explores the evolution of art and culture in Mexico from 1910 through 1968, with particular attention to parallel and related cultural changes in San Antonio in the same years, and triumphantly marks a return to the Museo Alameda’s mission of serving the local community as well as the thousands of tourists who seek a better understanding of this important Southwestern city. 

The exhibition highlights artistic and cultural exchanges between San Antonio and Mexico, and includes over 200 rarely seen paintings, sculptures and folk art objects.  On display is an original signed print of the Plan de San Luis, a manifesto that launched the revolution published in San Antonio, also included are renowned paintings by Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, Maria Izquierdo, Roberto Montenegro and Carlos Merida among others.  “A comprehensive exhibition of Mexican art and culture that illuminates the complexity of the American experience” concludes Dr. Tomas Ybarra-Frausto. 

Dr. Ybarra-Frausto, a distinguished professor of arts and humanities, linguist, foundation executive and educator has devoted much of his professional life to encouraging diverse communities in the United States to better understand and appreciate each other’s art and culture, values and traditions.  He is also well known and highly appreciated at the Smithsonian where he serves as a board member of the Smithsonian Latino Center and advisor to the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). In 1997, he donated his collections of Mexican and Chicano prints to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and his literary archives of the Chicano Movement to the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art.  In honor of years of service to the Smithsonian, Dr. Ybarra-Frausto was awarded the Joseph Henry Medal by the Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents for “exemplary contributions to the Smithsonian Institution.” 

Alfredo Zalce (1908-2003), "The Attorneys (Los Abogados)," 1952, Oil on Masonite, Collection RRC. Photo courtesy Museo Alameda.

“We are proud of the exhibit,” said Rolando Pablos, Chairman of the Museo Alameda, “and most importantly, that the Museo Alameda is on its way to enjoying its rightful, long term place as a gathering center for all to enjoy.” 

We encourage all who visit San Antonio to stop in a see why we are justifiably proud of our Smithsonian Affiliates.

Is the Smithsonian in YOUR neighborhood? Click here to find an Affiliate near you!

December 8, 2010

SITES in your neighborhood this winter

Smithsonian Affiliates across the country are bringing Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) exhibitions to their communities this winter. Here’s what’s opening at an Affiliate in the coming months: 

Jim Henson's characters provided an outlet for the various sides of his sense of humor and personality, and Henson always considered Kermit his alter ego. This Kemit, shown with Henson about 1989, is a more polished version of the original Kermit that Henson made in 1955 from his mother's old spring coat. Photo by John E. Barrett.

February 12- May 1, 2011
Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences (Peoria, Illinois)
Jim Henson’s Fantastic World

Organized with The Jim Henson Legacy, Jim Henson’s Fantastic World offers audiences a rare peek into the imagination of this brilliant innovator and creator of Kermit, Big Bird, and other beloved characters. The exhibition documents Henson’s process of “visual thinking” through works of art, photographs, documents, puppets and other 3-D objects, and film and video clips.

Legendary New York Mets’ coach Yogi Berra shares his line-up with Clemente before a 1972 spring training game in St. Petersburg, Florida. AP/Wide World Photo.

February 19- April 17, 2011
Challenger Learning Center of Arizona (Peoria, Arizona)
Beyond Baseball: The Life of Roberto Clemente

The baseball diamond has produced legendary athletes who have broken records and shattered barriers. But for many, Roberto Clemente is the most inspiring of all. With a cannon arm and lightning speed, he was an outstanding ballplayer. But the Puerto Rico native was also a dedicated humanitarian. SITES, the Smithsonian Latino Center, the Clemente family, and the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico are pleased to present Beyond Baseball: The Life of Roberto Clemente as a tribute to this monumental figure’s outstanding achievements on the field and off.

And you can still catch these exhibitions at an Affiliate in your neighborhood:

Lasting Light: 125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography, at Dixon Historic Center (Dixon, Illinois) through January 2, 2011. 

Native Words, Native Warriors
at Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center  (Mashantucket, Connecticut), through January 2, 2011.

Freedom’s Sisters,
at Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture (Baltimore, Maryland), through January 17, 2011. 

Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964,
at Sonoma County Museum (Santa Rosa, California), through January 30, 2011.


Find a Smithsonian Affiliate in your neighborhood here.
Find more Smithsonian traveling exhibitions and programs



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