October 25, 2015

coming up in Affiliateland in November 2015

The fall season is in full swing with great events at Affiliates!

Watch a free webcast of the day-long symposium on the Puerto Rican Diaspora at http://museo.ut.pr/centro-de-estudios/puerto-rico-aqui-y-alla/

Watch a free webcast of the day-long symposium on the Puerto Rican Diaspora at http://museo.ut.pr/centro-de-estudios/puerto-rico-aqui-y-alla/

The Museo y Centro de Estudios Humanísticos at the Universidad del Turabo hosts Aquí y Allá: a multidisciplinary symposium exploring the Puerto Rican diaspora in collaboration with Smithsonian Affiliations and Smithsonian Latino Center, in Gurabo. Four Affiliates will host live viewings of the symposium’s free webcast, including Framingham State University in Framingham, MA; the African American Museum in Philadelphia, PA; the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh; and Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando, FL, 11.5.

National Outreach Manager Jennifer Brundage attends the New England Museum Association conference, and leads a session with colleagues from the Berkshire Museum and the Lemelson-MIT Program in Portland, 11.4-6.

The Museums of Sonoma County open SITES’ Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation exhibition in Santa Rosa, 11.8.

Mystic Seaport kicks off its Stars of the Smithsonian lecture series with a talk by Andy Johnston, Geographer at the National Air and Space Museum, on navigation across the oceans, earth and space, in Mystic, 11.12.

The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology offers the Learning Through Objects: Museums and Young Children workshop in collaboration with the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center in Newark, 11.14.

Affiliations Director Harold Closter will attend the official Affiliate announcement at the Coastal Discovery Museum on Hilton Head Island, 11.18.


The John Clum watch fob which tells the story of the gold rush in Alaska, on loan from the National Postal Museum, will be on view at MoAF in November.

The John Clum watch fob which tells the story of the gold rush in Alaska, on loan from the National Postal Museum, will be on view at MoAF in November.

The Museum of American Finance opens the Worth its Weight: Gold from the Ground Up exhibition featuring 27 artifacts on loan from three Smithsonian museums, in New York City, 11.19.


September 28, 2015

Kudos Affiliates! for October 2015

Affiliates continue to demonstrate significant impact, all over the country. Congratulations to all!


The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced grants for 217 museum projects awarded through the highly competitive Museums for America and National Leadership Grants for Museums programs including the following Affiliates:

The San Diego Natural History Museum will improve the management and accessibility of data for more than 1.2 million specimens in its paleontology research collection by upgrading its current database to “Specify 6,” a database designed specifically for natural history collections.

The Denver Art Museum will develop a Latino artist-in-residence program to better reflect the full diversity of the community. The museum will create a series of one-month Latino artist residencies, bringing Latino artists of local, national, and international stature to the museum.

The Denver Art Museum will conduct a first-ever detailed conservation survey of 604 three-dimensional objects in its Architecture, Design, and Graphics collection. The project will advance institutional long-range goals for strengthening collections management by improving curatorial knowledge of the collection condition in anticipation of heightened exhibition, rotation, and program activity.

History Colorado seeks to improve the stewardship of a collection of 6,187 historic objects and more than 50,000 archaeological artifacts through relocation of the items to a new storage facility. Relocation to an 15 environmentally stable and readily accessible facility will allow History Colorado to more effectively preserve and manage its collections.

The Mystic Seaport Museum will improve the physical state of the 1908 steamboat, Sabino, a National Historic Landmark vessel and the last remaining wooden, coal-fired, operating steamboat in the United States.

The Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art will undertake two video projects to help visitors better understand the museum and earth science, and to provide an incentive for more school-driven visits. The museum plans to update its welcoming video, and a second video will focus on earth science with STEM-related material.

Conner Prairie Museum will implement a series of on-going maker programs using the tools, materials, and philosophy of the modern maker movement by drawing inspiration from the historic crafts and trades visitors experience at the museum.  

  • Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, ME) – Award Amount: $150,000;

The Abbe Museum will design, fabricate, and install a permanent exhibit showcasing the history and culture of Maine’s native Wabanaki people. The exhibit will include content, artifacts, images, and interactive elements informed by the museum’s interpretive framework, its Native Advisory Council, and Native advisors.

The USS Constitution Museum will create an online collections, research, and interpretive portal for educators and information seekers of all ages offering free and unlimited access to the museum’s nationally significant collection of manuscripts, rare books, artifacts, and artwork capturing the role of the Constitution during the War of 1812.

The Michigan State University Museum will preserve an important collection of rare and fragile barn models located for decades in substandard space, by rehousing them in the museum’s cultural collections resource center, a climate-controlled repository.

The Senator John Heinz History Center will develop, fabricate, and tour a traveling exhibit that will use life figures, modular panels, hands-on objects, cases with artifacts, oral histories, and video components to help audiences at small local museums explore how World War II transformed the lives of Pennsylvania residents.  

The Museum of History and Industry will launch a two-year project designed to engage participants, pre-K through adult learners, through a coordinated set of museum, classroom, and community experiences in exploring the region’s legacy of innovation, collaboration, experimentation, and perseverance skills.

The Wing Luke Asian Museum will expand and strengthen its guided neighborhood walking tours to provide opportunities for members of the Asian Pacific American community to share their stories, to stimulate the local economy by fostering partnerships with neighborhood businesses and organizations, and to promote the historic and cultural appeal of the Chinatown International District.

Madison Children’s Museum will model a creative approach to behavioral change encouraging increased physical activity by redesigning stairwells in its historic building and by producing related programming to counteract decreased activity and a rise in obesity among Wisconsin children. During the two-year initiative, the museum will produce three examples of stairwell transformation.

Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, CA) and Framingham State University (Framingham, MA) have been selected to receive a competitive Latino Americans: 500 Years of History grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. As two of 203 grant recipients selected from across the country, both will receive a cash grant of $3,000 to hold public programming — such as public film screenings, discussion groups, oral history initiatives, local history exhibitions, multi-media projects or performances — about Latino history and culture.

The Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, ME) has received a grant from Grants to Green Maine to provide an energy efficiency audit for the museum’s historic downtown location. The grant complements the museum’s Greening the Abbe Initiative and the near completion of the National Endowment for the Humanities funded projects that have helped reduce the Abbe’s carbon footprint and operating costs.

PNC’s Grow Up Great program has awarded a $30,000 grant to The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology (Newark, OH) to provide early childhood science education this coming school year. The programs will feature classroom instruction, field trips and family nights at the Works. New this year will be a teacher professional development day at the Works facilitated by an instructor from the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center.

The Witte Museum (San Antonio, TX) announced the beginning stages of construction for the H-E-B Lantern, the entrance to the New Witte and home to a Pterosaur, “Quetzy” through a generous donation of $2 million on behalf of H-E-B to the New Witte.


Susan J. Weller, former executive director and curator at the J.F. Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota, has been named director of the University of Nebraska State Museum (Lincoln, NE). She succeeds Priscilla Grew, who has directed the museum since 2003.

Fundraising professional Karrie Zuccarello of Indianapolis has been named chief development officer at Conner Prairie (Fishers, IN). She joins the museum from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, where she was director of development since 2011.

The Denver Art Museum (Denver, Colorado) has named fashion and art historian and curator Florence Müller as its next Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art, Curator of Fashion.



July 30, 2012

invention invention everywhere!

Since Smithsonian Affiliations started collaborating with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History, we’ve learned a lot about Places of Invention.  (See this blog to learn more about our collaboration.) 

Affiliate staff and their community partners, on the roof of the National Museum of American History during the kickoff workshop for Places of Invention

Affiliates have joined the action too.  On June 15, Affiliate staff and their community partners joined a day-long workshop to kickoff their individual research projects around their own communities and what makes them so innovative.  (Read more about the kickoff workshop on the Lemelson Center’s blog, Bright Ideas.)

Now, we are all much more attuned to what makes a place of invention – be it exceptional natural resources, the right mixture of people and skills, or an inspiring location… or something else.  Invention was readily on view during a recent trip to western Massachusetts, and we suspect, can be documented in many other communities as well.

Join the quest for invention and share your stories with us!


February 27, 2012

do you live in a place of invention?


The iconic Hewlett-Packard garage in 2009. Courtesy of BrokenSphere/ Wikimedia Commons.

Company labs.  Governmental research centers.  Universities.  These places are where many of us think inventions happen.  But how about garages, coffee shops, parks, or other community gathering spots?!  Invention can happen in all kinds of places.  This idea forms the foundation of the Lemelson Center’s exhibition in development, Places of Invention.  It’s about communities “where people, resources, and spaces have come together to spark inventiveness.”  Does that describe your environment?  If so, consider contributing your story to the Places of Invention exhibition website.

The Lemelson Center team has assembled case studies of historic and contemporary invention hubs – Hartford, CT in the late 1800s; Hollywood, CA in the 1930s-40; Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN in the 1950s-60s; Silicon Valley, CA and the Bronx, NY in the 1970s-80s; and Fort Collins, CO today.  Over the course of the next year, the exhibition team will work closely with six Affiliates to create community documentation projects of their places of invention to be featured in the exhibition.  Affiliate partners in this project include: the Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA); American Museum of Science and Energy (Oakridge, TN); Museum of History and Industry (Seattle, WA); Lakeview Museum (Peoria, IL); American Textile History Museum (Lowell, MA); and The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology (Newark, OH).

But we know there are many more stories to be told.  Take the Lemelson Center’s survey or email them at lemcen@si.edu to describe your place of invention and join the conversation!

January 26, 2012

coming up in Affiliateland in February 2012

Lots of love spreading around the Affiliate network in February.

The Museum of Arts and Sciences will be featuring a loan of meteorites from NMNH in Daytona Beach, 2.1.                       

History Miami will host NASM curator Von Hardesty for a talk and book signing about “Black Wings” in Miami, 2.25. 

The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture opens NMNH’s Dig It! The Secrets of Soil in Spokane, 2.4. 

The National Museum of American History will feature the Institute of Texan Cultures in its Let’s Do History Tour, which offers professional development opportunities for elementary and secondary teachers in San Antonio, 2.7-9.

NMAAHC Director Lonnie Bunch will be speaking at a conference on American Slavery, sponsored by the African American Museum in Philadelphia and the National Park Service in Philadelphia, 2.25.

The City of Las Cruces Museum System opens SITES’  Journey Stories in Las Cruces, 2.25. 

Agua Caliente Cultural Museum will host a Festival of Native Film & Culture with a guest programmer from NMAI in Palm Springs, 2.28 – 3.4. 

The National Museum of American History will feature the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in its Let’s Do History Tour, which offers professional development opportunities for elementary and secondary teachers in Cody, 2.29 – 3.1.

Congratulations to those celebrating 10 years of Smithsonian Affiliation in February!

The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology  

The American Civil War Center At Historic Tredegar  

Lyman Museum and Mission House



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