Special thanks to Paula Lee, Smithsonian Affiliations intern, for this guest post. This is the first of a five-part blog series she is writing as part of the Young Historians, Living Histories (YHLH) collaboration with the Asian Pacific American Center and our Affiliate network.
Asian Pacific American youth representing the Young Historians, Living History after completing a workshop
Early this August, I had an extraordinary opportunity to join Smithsonian Affiliations as an intern directly assisting with the Young Historians, Living Histories grant. After a few weeks of researching the project, I spoke with Leah Craig, Curator of Education at the Oklahoma History Center, an Affiliate in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma History Center is one of nine Affiliate museums selected to receive the YHLH grant funded by the Smithsonian’s Youth Access Grant program. Additional Affiliates include Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (Seattle, WA), Institute of Texan Cultures (San Antonio, TX), Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, OH), Pacific Aviation Museum (Honolulu, HI), Sonoma County Museum (Santa Rosa, CA), Greensboro Historical Museum (Greensboro, NC), Riverside Metropolitan Museum (Riverside, CA), and Historic Arkansas Museum (Little Rock, AR).
This program is an educational initiative designed to engage underserved youth in Asian Pacific American communities by incorporating the use of digital media to produce oral histories. Being an Asian American myself, I was particularly thrilled at the chance to be involved in a project that hit so close to home. The Affiliates have collaborated with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (APAC) and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) to provide essential curriculum guidelines that will be used to train educators to implement youth workshops. Participating Affiliates have recruited Asian Pacific American students to attend workshops at the museums. Middle and high school students will learn a variety of 21st-century skills, methods of community outreach, and digital storytelling to explore, contextualize, and deepen their understanding of Asian Pacific American history and culture.
Curator Leah Craig leading one of many workshops on Asian American history
While the Affiliates were busy recruiting students, Craig had already begun to lead a team of 20 gifted and talented students from Norman High School through active learning workshops. The workshops covered essential editing, filming, interviewing and a lesson in Asian Pacific American history with the help of teachers Margaret Wadleigh, LaRadius Allen, and Moving Image Archivist Corey Ayers. Students that participated in the workshop came from diverse cultural backgrounds and were placed in groups that encouraged them to share their stories and ideas as they began their transformation into historians seeking stories within the Asian Pacific American community. At only 1.9 percent, Oklahoma’s Asian American population isn’t large but according to the U.S. Census Bureau it includes a variety of Chinese, Korean, Pilipino, Burmese, and Hmong communities with significant Vietnamese and growing Indian communities. The program has enticed the young historians to become curious and research the immigration stories that attracted Asian Americans’ very first settlement into Oklahoma such as the Land Run in 1889.
Shoulder to Shoulder– Oklahoman students eager to learn the film making processes of oral histries in a workshop led by Moving Image Archivist, Corey Ayers
Craig boasts that “by conducting the oral histories students are helping us collect the history of our community from people with whom we may not have any other way to collect their stories.” Students were challenged to reveal the hidden struggles and accomplishments that Asian Pacific Americans in their own families/personal network had endured while en route, discovering a part of them that was never truly appreciated. Wadleigh, one of the two mentoring teachers, observed that the oral history element of this project engaged the students in a way that activated their “emotional” skills, skills that helped them discover powerful stories that couldn’t be told through any textbook. Look forward to future posts under the YHLH Series as we begin to unravel the unique stories hidden across the nation “oh the places we’ll go” when we’re looking!
FLORIDA The Mennello Museum of American Art opens the African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era and Beyond exhibition, with 100 artworks on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, in Orlando, 2.1.
PENNSYLVANIA The Heinz History Center opens 1968: The Year that Rocked America exhibition which contains three artifacts on loan from the National Air and Space Museum, in Pittsburgh, 2.2.
Congratulations to Affiliates for a great year, and may 2013 be just as prosperous!
Three Affiliates received MetLife grants to support programming around SITES exhibitions:
Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center(Mashantucket, CT) received $4,990 to fund construction of an outdoor skateboard park which will be used during the public opening and summer kick-off events for the exhibition Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America. The grant will also support an honorarium for skate-boarder, Walt Pourier, who will lead a skate deck workshop, art projects, and skating skills demonstration, as well as act as the artist-in-residence at the summer kick-off event.
Sonoma County Museum(Santa Rosa, CA) received $4,700 to fund the honoraria and marketing for an event featuring a local story-telling group whose performance will involve narratives connected to the theme of military mail, particularly focusing on the ways it has connected service men and women to the public during war time. The grant will also support materials and marketing for a free family day. Additionally, funding will assist with the cost of materials and marketing for an augmented tour program which will be a series of docent-led tours for school children. All programming relate to themes of the exhibition Mail Call.
American Textile History Museum (Lowell, MA) received $5,000 to fund speaker fees and promotion for lecturers such as astronaut, Daniel Barry, space suit designer, Dava Newman, and Apollo 13 Mission Control engineer, David Reed. The grant will also support craft and activity materials for a free family day, as well as the construction of and materials for hands-on interactives at activity stations. All programming relate to themes of the exhibition Suited for Space.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his wife, Gene donated $5 million to the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science (Dallas, TX). Their donation funded the Perot Museum’s atrium, the naturally lit entrance area that spans almost 14 stories high. The area will be named the Gene and Jerry Jones Dallas Cowboys Atrium.
The Ohio Historical Society(Columbus, OH) received $30,000 from the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area to help repair damage to the Bimeler Museum in Zoar, which was badly damaged by a flood in 2005.
Challenger Space Center (Peoria, AZ) has been selected to receive a STEM grant for $94,013 from the APS Foundation. The grant will support the Center’s new Statewide STEM Mobile Outreach program, which will bring hands-on learning activities to schools in rural areas around the state beginning in 2013.
The Smithsonian and the National Endowment for the Humanities examine the legacy of the Dust Bowl era through current issues of drought, agricultural sustainability and global food security during a live, interactive discussion with experts. The program will be webcast from the museum to Youth Town Halls at locations across the nation Oct. 17 at 1 p.m. EDT.
In the 1930s, severe drought and extensive farming caused widespread agricultural damage, crop failure and human misery across the Great Plains. Called the “Dust Bowl” because of the immense dust storms created as the dry soil blew away in large, dark clouds, it is considered one of the worst ecological disasters in American history. Millions of acres of farmland were damaged and hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes. Many migrated to California and other western states where the economic conditions during the Great Depression were often no better than those they had left.
The Oct. 17 discussion in Washington, D.C., taking place in the Warner Bros. Theater at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, will be joined by audiences at nine Smithsonian Affiliate museums and the National Steinbeck Center, which will also host regional Youth Town Halls. Participants at the regional Town Hall sites will prerecord questions on video to be played during the live National Youth Summit webcast. The Youth Town Halls will take place at:
The National Youth Summit brings middle and high school students together with scholars, teachers, policy experts, witnesses to history and activists in a national conversation about important events in America’s past that have relevance to the nation’s present and future. The program is an ongoing collaboration between the National Museum of American History, the National Endowment for the Humanities, PBS and museums across the United States in the Smithsonian Affiliations network.
The summit will include segments from award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns’ forthcoming film The Dust Bowland a panel discussion, moderated by Huffington Post science editor Cara Santa Maria, and featuring: Ken Burns, Dust Bowl survivor Cal Crabill, U.S. Department of Agriculture ecologist Debra Peters, fifth-generation farmer Roy Bardole from Rippey, Iowa, and farmer and founder of Anson Mills, Glenn Roberts. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will welcome the audience through a video statement. Panelists will take questions from students participating in the summit, and offer their own perspectives on what history can teach people about their relationship with the environment.
Programming for the National Youth Summit on the Dust Bowl is produced by the National Museum of American History and the National Endowment for the Humanities in partnership with Smithsonian Affiliations and PBS/WETA.
Smithsonian Affiliations collaborates with museums and educational organizations to share the Smithsonian with people in their own communities and create lasting experiences that broaden perspectives on science, history, world cultures and the arts. More information about Smithsonian Affiliations is available here.
The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. NEH grants typically go to cultural institutions, such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television and radio stations, and to individual scholars. For more information on the NEH, visit http://www.neh.gov/.
The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. To learn more about the museum, check americanhistory.si.edu. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.
The Springfield Museum of Art will host an opening event for the Jack Earl: A Modern Master-A Retrospective exhibition featuring loans from the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Springfield, 10.3.
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art will host an opening for Art for Art’s Sake exhibition featuring loans from the National Postal Museum. Linda Edquist, conservator, will attend the opening in New Orleans, 10.6.
The Senator John Heinz History Center will host an opening for Gridiron Glory: Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibition featuring loans from the National Museum of American History in Pittsburgh, 10.6.
The Historic Bethlehem Partnership will host Richard Kurin, Smithsonian Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, for a lecture program and book signing in Bethlehem, 10.14.
The Lakeview Museum of Arts & Sciences will open their new facility, the Peoria Riverfront Museum. Harold Closter and Aaron Glavas from Smithsonian Affiliations will be in attendance in Peoria, 10.11.
On Sundays throughout the month of November, visitors to the museum can participate in SUNDAYS @ 2 FILMS series. Featured films are: Béisbol: The Latin Game, Third World California, From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale, and Yo soy Boricua, pa’que tu lo sepas! (“I’m Puerto Rican, Just So You Know!”).
Raise Your Brown Black Fist: The Political Shouts of an Angry Afro-Latino (Book Talk) (Saturday, December 10, 2 p.m.) Through political commentary, author, screenwriter, activist and journalist Kevin Alberto Sabio addresses the unspoken African heritage of Latino culture, the exclusion of Afro-Latinos from mainstream American and Latino society and the hidden history of unity between the two.
Painted Gourd: Red and Black Voices (Saturday, November 5, 3 p.m.) Penny Gamble Williams, a descendant from the Chappaquiddick Band of the Wampanoag Nation of Massachusetts, examines the intercultural relationships between Native American and African Americans.
Genealogy Workshop: Researching Black Indian Ancestry East of the Mississippi (Saturday, November 19, 10:30 a.m.)Join author and blogger Angela Walton-Raji for a presentation on research methods of documenting African American and Native American family history.
Native American Dance Presentation (Cultural Program) (Saturday, November 26, 2 p.m.) Native American dancers with the Baltimore American Indian Center perform social dances that explain their history.
SUNDAYS @ 2 FILMS: Black Indians: An American Story (Sunday, December 4, 2 p.m.)
Filipino and other Asian immigrants were recruited as early as the mid-1800s to accommodate the agricultural demands of the West Coast and Hawai’i. Courtesy Center for Labor Education and Research, University of Hawai’i at West O’ahu
Film Screening: Remembering Our Manongs: Sonoma County’s Filipino History (Fri Dec 9, 2011 6:00pm – 8:00pm) A moving film documenting the Filipino presence in Sonoma County, produced with the help of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS).
Filipino-themed Family Day(Sat Dec 10, 2011 11:00am – 2:00pm) Activities will include dance and martial arts demonstrations, traditional Filipino children’s games, face painting, hands-on musical instruments, and more.
Salute to Matkatamiba. Photo by Kate Thompson
December 3, 2011 – February 26, 2012 Littleton Museum
(Littleton, Colorado) Lasting Light: 125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography
Covering nearly 125 years of photographic history, the exhibition includes images of early photographers dangling from cables to get the perfect shot, their cumbersome camera equipment balanced precariously on their shoulders. More modern images are bold and dramatic, revealing the canyon’s capricious weather, its flora and fauna, waterfalls and wading pools, and awesome cliffs and rock formations.
Untitled Still Life, Flowers, ca. 1936-1938. Oil on burlap. Courtesy Morgan State University and SITES.
December 24, 2011 – March 18, 2012 Mennello Museum of American Art (Orlando, Florida) William H. Johnson: An American Modern A virtuoso skilled in various media and techniques, William Henry Johnson (1901-1970) produced thousands of works over a career that spanned decades, continents, and genres. Now, on view in its entirety for the first time, a seminal collection covering key stages in Johnson’s career. This exhibition of 20 expressionist and vernacular landscapes, still life paintings, and portraits explores the intricate layers of Johnson’s diverse cultural perspective as an artist and self-described “primitive and cultured painter.”
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
January 21 – March 18, 2012 Orange County Regional History Center (Orlando, Florida) 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. Special programming in conjunction with the exhibition:
Steve Blass on Baseball: A Pirate’s Life (January 21, 2012 – 6:00pm – 9:00pm) Steve Blass, former teammate and close friend of Roberto Clemente, helps the History Center celebrate the opening of the exhibition with a showing of the rare 1975 film, Roberto Clemente: A Touch of Royalty, that chronicles the contributions of Clemente.
Find a Smithsonian Affiliate in your neighborhood here. Find more Smithsonian traveling exhibitions and programs here.