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April 1, 2014

Batter Up! It’s Opening Day in Affiliateland

“Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don’t care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game!”

Opening Day is a state of mind. Countless baseball fans recognize this unofficial holiday as a good reason to call in sick at work or be truant from school and go out to the ballpark for the first of the regular season games. Now, we’re not suggesting playing hooky or skipping school by any means, but if you can’t make it to the ballpark, catch some baseball history at the Smithsonian or in your own neighborhood at one of these Smithsonian Affiliates.

Photo courtesy South Dakota State Historical Society.

Photo courtesy South Dakota State Historical Society.

At the South Dakota State Historical Society (Pierre, SD)
Thanks to a donation from Aberdeen native Paul Gertsen, a collection of Northern League (1900-1971) baseball materials showcasing the history of baseball in South Dakota will open soon. “The Northern League was the highest level of professional baseball in South Dakota, and an important minor league system in the upper Midwest. So many great players were on those teams, such as Hank Aaron, Jim Palmer, Lou Brock and Willie Stargell. The league’s history is rich, and its South Dakota roots run deep. I am proud that the society is now home to the most complete and definitive collection of Northern League materials in existence. It is truly an honor to accept this collection, and it is very exciting for anyone interested in the history of South Dakota baseball,” commented Dan Brosz, curator of collections at the Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society. Contact Jay Smith, Museum Director for more info 605.773.3798.

Sheet music for “Take Me Out to the Ball-Game” by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer, 1908 Courtesy of Andy Strasberg

At NMAJH, sheet music for “Take Me Out to the Ball-Game” by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer, 1908
Courtesy of Andy Strasberg

At the National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia, PA)
Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American is on view through October 2014. The exhibition displays the central role baseball has played in the lives of American minority communities as they sought to understand and express the ideals, culture, and behaviors of their homeland—or challenge them. Programs for this show include talks with ESPN and major league baseball historians, and a summer film series featuring baseball.

The 1960s World Series display at the Senator John Heinz History Center. Photo courtesy of the Center.

The 1960s World Series display at the Senator John Heinz History Center. Photo courtesy of the Center.

At the Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Heinz History Center will showcase artifacts from one of the greatest moments in sports history through May 1– Mazeroski Artifacts from the 1960 World Series. Fans will enjoy Mazeroski’s Pirates uniform and bronzed 35-inch Louisville Slugger bat accompanied by additional items from 1960, including the pitching rubber and first base from Game 7, shortstop Dick Groat’s jersey from his 1960 Most Valuable Player season, and a life-like museum figure of Mazeroski hitting the legendary home run.

Photo courtesy Rare Book & Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Photo courtesy Rare Book & Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Champaign, IL)
The Rare Book & Manuscript Library has made a number of important book and manuscript additions over the past few years. Babylon to Baseball: Recent Additions to the Rare Book & Manuscript Library will showcase over thirty new pieces. Collections and items to be highlighted range from a 4000 year old Babylonian clay tablet to scarce baseball reference works once owned by the American League President’s Office.

At the Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, California)
Dodgers: Brotherhood of the Game, on view March 29- September 14, explores the team’s storied past through four players and a Hall of Fame manager, each of whom made history in his own right: Jackie Robinson, Fernando Valenzuela, Chan Ho Park, Hideo Nomo, and Tommy Lasorda. From their original roots in Brooklyn to today’s home in Los Angeles, the Dodgers are trailblazers in the world of sports, on and off the field. The franchise is dedicated to supporting a culture of winning baseball, providing a first-class, family-friendly experience at Dodger Stadium and maintaining strong partnerships in the community.

Our amazing intern, Rachel, checking out baseball history at the National Museum of American History.

Our amazing intern, Rachel, checking out baseball history at the National Museum of American History.

At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History
Baseball history can be seen throughout the American History Museum. Here you can see a WWII Secret Compartment Baseball (1942). In WWII, the U.S. Military Intelligence Service created “care packages” with the intent of assisting Allied prisoners’ escapes from enemy containment. Baseballs were often used to smuggle in different items to the prisoners through secret compartments. Before Jackie Robinson rocked the baseball world by becoming the first integrated baseball player in history, African Americans played in separate leagues. On view also in the American Stories exhibit is a Negro Leagues Baseball (1920-1945), signed by players of the Negro Leagues, which drew millions of fans during their height.

Newkirk High School Tigers. Photo by Oklahoma Humanities Council, Newkirk, OK.

Newkirk High School Tigers. Photo by Oklahoma Humanities Council, Newkirk, OK.

Through Museums on Main Street at the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and possibly coming to a small town near you—Hometown Teams. Hometown Teams tells the story of sports as an indelible part of our culture and community. For well over one hundred years sports have reflected the trials and triumphs of the American experience and helped shape our national character. Whether it’s professional sports, or those played on the collegiate or scholastic level, amateur sports or sports played by kids on the local playground, the plain fact is sports are everywhere in America. Our love of sports begins in our hometowns–on the sandlot, at the local ball field, in the street, even. Americans play sports everywhere.

And last but not least, the exhibition may not be on the road anymore, but you can still view Beyond Baseball: The Life of Roberto Clemente through an online exhibition from SITES, based on an original exhibition from the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, a Smithsonian Affiliate. Clemente was born in the summer of 1934 in a house of concrete and wood on an old country road in Barrio San Antón, Carolina, Puerto Rico. He died on December 31, 1972, in a plane crash a few miles from his birthplace while attempting to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. In his thirty-eight years, RobertoClemente became a baseball legend in the United States, but in his homeland and throughout Latin America he became a national and cultural icon.

Do you know of baseball exhibits at Smithsonian Affiliates in your hometown? Let us know! Email us or tweet us @SIAffiliates and share your baseball stories!

November 30, 2011

New Tricks from an Old Mummy

Special thanks for this guest post to Sarah Wisseman, Director, Program on Ancient Technologies and Archaeological Materials, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Photo courtesy Bill Wiegand, UI News Bureau.

The University of Illinois Roman-period Egyptian mummy at the Spurlock Museum has undergone two radiologic investigations using Computerized Tomography (CT), twenty years apart. In 1990, an interdisciplinary team was convened to investigate the mummy before it went on display. Since autopsy was not permitted, we concentrated on non-destructive imaging supplemented by materials analyses of tiny bits of hardened resin, cloth, and insects from the damaged foot and ankle area of the mummy. The initial results showed that the mummy was a child (because of dental development and open growth plates) with a broken head and a collapsed chest. CT images showed some kind of packing material (cloth or mud?) around the limbs and a wooden, so-called “stiffening” board under the body inside the linen wrappings. The insects turned out to be carrion beetles, implying that the child’s body was in a partially decayed state before it was wrapped up. 

The brain, heart, and lungs were still in place inside the mummy, but as our consulting radiologist Dr. Joseph Barkmeier at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, IL, commented, “they’re all dried up and moved around.” Lack of evisceration and a concentration on the exterior decoration instead of tissue preservation are features of many Roman period mummies. So is the wooden board wrapped up underneath the body. The sex of the child could not be determined because the pelvic region was obscured by layers of tissues and wrappings. But identifying the sex of a young child based upon skeletal remains alone is not very reliable in the best of circumstances. 

Photo courtesy Dr. David Hunt, using OsiriX software.

In 2011, we decided to re-scan the mummy utilizing vastly improved imaging technology and computer software. David Hunt, Physical Anthropologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, was a consultant on the new project. 

Internal organs, packing, and bone fractures are much more clearly visible from the new CT imaging. Dr. Hunt was able to age the mummy child more precisely to about 8.5 years at the time of death by identifying the growth and development of the dentition. However, the measurements of the long bones of the legs were shorter than expected by the dental age, suggesting that the child suffered from some levels of malnutrition or illness. Unfortunately, sex is still unknown because the pelvis is collapsed and cannot be measured for physiological identification and soft tissue organs are not discernable since the densities of bone, tissue, and wrappings are very close in density values, making clear observations problematic. 

In the thoracic cavity, desiccated organs lie up against the spine, and the spine shows signs of compression fractures (post-mortem). The occipital fracture is more severe than we originally thought, and a piece of the skull is inside the cranial cavity. Some brain tissue is clearly visible, but it is probable that the embalmers removed portions of the brain through the back of the head, certainly not through the nose. 

The 2011 images show that the embalmers used wads of cloth rather than mud or plant material to pad out the thin little body and make it appear more life-like. A recent pigment analysis by the Getty Conservation Institute confirms that the red colorant on the stucco surface is lead oxide, or minium, from Rio Tinto, Spain, and that it matches that of nine other “red shroud,” Roman-period mummies published the new book Herakleides: A Portrait Mummy from Roman Egypt by Lorelei Corcoran and Marie Svoboda. This finding reinforces our conclusion that the Spurlock mummy child came from a well-to-do family in Roman Egypt that could afford expensive ingredients such as the red pigment and gold leaf seen on the mummy wrappings. 

At Dr. Hunt’s request, forensic artist Joe Mullins of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) used the new CT scans to digitally reconstruct the child’s head and face. The result, with several possible hairstyles, shows that the mummy child was of West Asian or Mediterranean heritage, just as one might expect from the cosmopolitan population living in the Fayum region of Egypt at that time. 

Photo courtesy Joe Mullins, NCMEC.

For more on the University of Illinois mummy, visit: http://www.isas.illinois.edu/atam/research/mummy/index.html 

The Spurlock Museum at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been in association with the Smithsonian Institution since 2005. To find a Smithsonian Affiliate in your neighborhood, click here.

October 24, 2011

coming up in affiliateland in november 2011

ILLINOIS:
The National Museum of Natural History’s David Hunt will be the keynote speaker at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana Spurlock Museum’s 100th anniversary celebration in Champaign, 11/1.

NEW MEXICO:
The City of Las Cruces Museum System will host SITES’ NASA | ART: 50 Years of Exploration in Las Cruces, 11/4.

CALIFORNIA:
Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden speaks about his book, Falling to Earth, at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, 11/4.

The Sonoma County Museum will host SITES’ Singgalot: The Ties that Bind in Santa Rosa, 11/12.

MARYLAND:
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture will host two SITES exhibitions –  IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas and Beyond Baseball:The Life of Roberto Clemente, opening in Baltimore, 11/5.

NORTH CAROLINA:
The National Museum of American Indian’s Dennis Zotigh will present a workshop and lecture at the Charlotte Museum of History in Charlotte, 11/5.

The Greensboro Historical Museum will host a lecture from the Smithsonian Associates in Greensboro, 11/7.

ALABAMA:
The Anniston Museum of Natural History celebrates its 10th Anniversary as a Smithsonian Affiliate in Anniston, 11/10.

GEORGIA:
Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden speaks about his book, Falling to Earth, at the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, 11/11.

NEW YORK:
Richard Kurin, Smithsonian Under Secretary for History, Art, Culture, will present a lecture about the Hope Diamond at the Museum of American Finance in New York, 11/15.

 

November 1, 2010

Sousa and Baseball: Bringing American Icons Together

Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Champaign, Illinois, recently opened “Sousa and His League of Players: America’s Music and the Golden Age of Baseball,” on view through July 2011. Special thanks to Sousa Archive Center Director, Scott Schwartz, for this guest post.  

Sheet music from the Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music held in the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History.

The University of Illinois’ 2010 American Music Month celebration will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Sousa Band’s World Tour 1910-1911 and Sousa’s love of baseball. His band’s musicians served as his baseball team whenever they played against other bands’ and communities’ teams during their unprecedented concert tour around the world.  This November’s celebration includes the opening of a special new exhibit, America’s Golden Age of Baseball through Music, using historic sheet music and rare baseball cards from the Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music, Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, and the Ronald S. Gabriel Baseball Memorabilia Collection on loan from the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center.  In addition, the University of Illinois bands will be giving a special performance in which they will be recreating the Sousa Band’s concerts given during their World Tour. Special performances include, “Rounding the Bases, Circling the Globe: Sousa’s World Tour and Baseball” and a lecture entitled, “The Essence of Uncle Sam: John Philip Sousa’s 1911 World Tour” on November 14, and “The Baseball Music Project” performed by the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Bob Thompson as conductor and Dave Winfield as host and narrator on November 12. 

Historic baseball cards from the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana and the Ronald S. Gabriel Baseball Memorabilia collections held in the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History.

Music and baseball have played an integral role in the life and culture of America for nearly two and a quarter centuries, but it was not until the late nineteenth and early twentieth century when the two forms of popular entertainment became fully entwined as the country’s greatest past times.  Songs like the “Base Ball Quickstep,” The Umpire Is a Most Unhappy Man,” “Take Your Girl to the Ball Game,” “The Baseball Man for Me,” “Let’s Get the Umpire’s Goat,” “Home Run Bill,” “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” and “Three Strikes Two-step,” dedicated specifically to John Philip Sousa’s baseball team, vividly portray America’s love affair with the national game.  For music and sports scholars and aficionados the years 1900-1920 are considered the golden age of the John Philip Sousa Band and baseball in America. The 1908 World Series is considered the greatest and most controversial baseball series of the twentieth century and the Sousa Band’s World Tour of 1910-1911 is undoubtedly one of the most unique music public relations efforts by a single individual to introduce the early twentieth-century world to American music, culture, and baseball. 

We invite you to join us as we celebrate through concerts, lectures, master classes and exhibitions, John Philip Sousa’s and baseball’s impact on your nation’s diverse music and cultural heritage.  For further information on our programming and exhibitions please visit www.sousaarchives.org  or call 217-244-9309.

January 15, 2010

affiliates in the news: week of jan 11

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Champaign, Illinois)
A massive star is born: Time-lapse movie shows that massive stars form like their smaller siblings

National Civil War Museum (Harrisburg, PA)
Museum curator to experience life of Civil War soldier

Institute of Texan Cultures (San Antonio, TX)
Institute of Texan Cultures Formalizes Partnership with Smithsonian Institution
Institute of Texan Cultures links up with Smithsonian
UTSA museum to become Smithsonian affiliate

Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science (Tallahassee, FL)
Tallahassee Hosts Four Centuries of African American Art and History
Brogan expands access with technology

Historic Bethlehem Partnership (Bethlehem, PA)
Merchants, event organizers report an upturn in holiday activity in Bethlehem over the previous year

Rubin Museum of Art (New York, NY)
The cosmos cycles on…
Visions of the Cosmos, Rubin Museum of Art, New York

North Carolina Museum of History (Raleigh, NC)
SECU grants $500k to North Carolina Museum of History

Miami Science Museum (Miami, FL)
MetLife Foundation Announces More Than $1,000,000 in Grants to Five Nationally-Recognized Science Museums to Engage Youth in Scientific Learning and Discovery

 

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