October 9, 2014
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
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, 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
July 6, 2012
August 2, 2010
It’s August! Here are a few things you can see at a Smithsonian Affiliate in your neighborhood this month:
Let Your Motto Be Resistance, a Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) exhibition, opens at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham) on August 28.
Anacostia's (then Uniontown) Birney Public School children lined up with a teacher behind the Kennebec Ice horse-drawn wagon as the ice man shows them large chunk of ice suspended by tongs. Photograph by Frances Benjamin Johnston, Courtesy of the Library of Congress, circa 1899
District of Columbia
The Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum’s exhibition East of the River is on view at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. until January 2011.
You can see another SITES exhibition, The Working White House: Two Centuries of Traditions and Memories, at The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History (Kennesaw) until August 29.
The new expansion at The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium (Dubuque) features artifacts from the National Museum of Natural History in its new immersive galleries.
Opening this month at the Headley-Whitney Museum (Lexington) is The Horse in Decorative Arts, including artifacts from the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Museum of American History, on view through December 2010.
A visitor to the "Native Words, Native Warriors" exhibit at Montana Historical Society. Photo courtesy Montana Office of Governor Brian Schweitzer
Montana Historical Society (Helena)- Native Words, Native Warriors. This exhibition organized in collaboration with the National Museum of the American Indian will travel to Native American reservations across Montana through December.
Lasting Light: 125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography is on view until September 2010 at the Durham Museum (Omaha), organized for travel by SITES.
The Archives of the History of American Psychology (Akron) will celebrate the opening of their new building on August 28.
Toroweap overlook in morning light. Part of the exhibition "Lasting Light: 125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography" at the Durham Museum. Photo by Jack Dykinga
The Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh) welcomes Smithsonian conservator Don Williams for their Hidden Treasures event on August 29.
Twenty black and white photographs from the National Air and Space Museum are featured in the exhibition Dreams of Flight: A Journey through Air and Space at The Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future (Dallas) through October 2010.
Last chance to see Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Warriors: Photographs by Gertrude Käsebier at Buffalo Bill Historical Center (Cody). On view until August 8, the exhibition includes photographs from the Photographic History Collection in the National Museum of American History.
Click here to find a Smithsonian Affiliate in your neighborhood!
July 27, 2010
July 23, 2010
Congratulations to these Affiliates making headlines this week!
During a previous trip to Pinilla del Valle, Spain, Dr. Robert Feranec, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the New York State Museum, picks through small animal bones from sediment recovered from fossil caves. Photo courtesy of NYS Museum.
New York State Museum(Albany, NY)
A New York State Museum paleontologist has become the only scientist in the U.S. selected to participate in an all-expense paid research program in Spain that will enable him to investigate the effects of climate change on mammals over the last 2 million years…READ MORE
The New York State Museum’s curator of vertebrate paleontology has been chosen to participate in a three-month research program at the University of Madrid, Spain. He’s the only American scientist chosen this year: most participants come from the European Union…READ MORE
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, NC)
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences introduced Margaret D. “Meg” Lowman as director of their new wing, the Nature Research Center…READ MORE
The Center for Jewish History (New York, NY)
The Center for Jewish History, the largest repository of the modern Jewish experience outside of Israel, has received a $225,000 grant from the Vivian G. Prins Foundation to support Post-Doctoral fellowships for Emigrating Scholars, who seek permanent teaching and research positions in North America…READ MORE
National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia, PA)
Last month, New York media artist Ben Rubin got the go-ahead to produce an LED light sculpture to be placed atop the new National Museum of American Jewish History on Independence Mall, set to open in November…READ MORE
WASP (photo courtesy of Texas Woman's University)
The Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future (Dallas, TX)
The Women’s Museum’s Dreams of Flight Exhibit Opening Coincides with Legendary Pilot’s Birthday, Amelia Earhart…READ MORE
July 2, 2010
Congratulations to these Affiliates making headlines this week!
Buffalo Bill Historical Center (Cody, WY)
As many as 38 Wyoming cultural and heritage projects and sponsoring organizations will benefit from $542,017 in grant awards from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund…MORE
Birthplace of Country Music Alliance (Bristol, TN)
… the Tennessee Arts Commission announced its grant recipients for fiscal 2010-11…MORE
Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ)
…there are a number of locations around the country that look to preserve these for future generations. One of these is the Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art in Phoenix, Arizona…MORE
Louisiana State Exhibit Museum (Shreveport, LA)
State Rep. Wayne Waddell will take the helm as director of Louisiana State Exhibit Museum on Aug. 2… MORE
Museum Director Retires
National Museum of Dentistry (Baltimore, MD)
…The annual celebration honors supporters and friends who help the Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate, in its mission to celebrate the history the dentistry and to raise awareness of the importance of good oral health in a healthy life…MORE
Exterior of the new $40 million expansion of the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque.
The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium(Dubuque, IA)
…”Dubuque’s already on the map,” said Jerry Enzler, executive director of the facility, “but this really puts us on the global map”…MORE
River museum gets bigger, better
American Jazz Museum (Kansas City, MO)
Greg Carroll is CEO of the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City. In collaboration with the Consulate of Mexico in Kansas City and the Mattie Rhodes Center, the museum is holding an exhibition of large-scale photographs and artifacts that reveals cultural connections between Africa and Latin America…MORE
The Center for Jewish History (New York, NY)
The Center for Jewish History, dedicated to the preservation and presentation of Jewish history, culture and experience across countries and generations, has received an $860,092 grant from the Leon Levy Foundation…MORE
Ellen Noël Art Museum (Odessa , TX)
The Ellen Noël Art Museum has been accepted as an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution…MORE
Agua Caliente Cultural Museum (Palm Springs, CA)
Since the 1970s, the Agua Caliente Band and the city have been partners in the economic development of Palm Springs…also is the site of the future Agua Caliente Cultural Museum…MORE