September 24, 2013
The air is turning crisp, but Affiliate accomplishments continue to shine!
Chabot Space & Science Center (Oakland, CA) was presented a “Waste Management Cares” award in the amount of $95,000 for their environmental education programming.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced the recipients for the Museums for America and National Leadership Grants for Museums programs featuring the following Affiliates:
History Colorado (Denver, CO)
Award Amount: $134,425; Matching Amount: $214,622
History Colorado will design, create, pilot, and evaluate five multilevel 21st century skills-based Colorado History Digital Badges for children in fourth, seventh, and eleventh grades. Each badge will challenge students to complete various quests or activities in conjunction with the learning standards for their appropriate grade.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science (Denver, CO)
Award Amount: $149,965; Matching Amount: $150,099
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science will purchase new storage cabinets to rehouse its Asian collection of 1,130 objects, and enter collections information into its database, making images available for publication through its website. The collection illustrates the main materials, designs, and technologies used by indigenous cultures of China, Taiwan, Japan, South Asia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Mystic Seaport Museum (Mystic, CT)
Award Amount: $80,343; Matching Amount: $85,864
Mystic Seaport will catalog, digitally photograph, and place a group of 4,950 objects and photographs into secure storage. The items were selected to support an online learning project for students and teachers, and programming associated with whaling and the restoration and planned voyage of the whaleship Charles W. Morgan, a National Historic Landmark.
B & O Railroad Museum (Baltimore, MD)
Award Amount: $135,232; Matching Amount: $185,880
The B&O Railroad Museum will restore the B&O #600 J.C. Davis locomotive that was severely damaged by a collapsed museum roof in a 2003 blizzard. It is one of only two locomotives surviving from Philadelphia’s1876 Centennial Exposition. Four staff and 10 trained volunteers will restore the engine to its 1875 appearance.
USS Constitution Museum (Boston, MA)
Award Amount: $280,623; Matching Amount: $286,936
The USS Constitution Museum (USSCM) will use its grant to identify characteristics of family programming that result in active intergenerational engagement, enjoyment, and learning in museums and libraries. The project seeks to create a robust yet flexible set of guidelines for creating genuine intergenerational learning experiences disseminated through workshops, online resources, conferences, and publications.
Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, MI)
Award Amount: $77,292; Matching Amount: $81,117
The Michigan State University Museum will purchase archivally stable storage materials, museum-quality cabinets, and a mobile storage system to create appropriate storage for an 827-box prehistoric and historic archaeological collection to ensure its safety and that of its users and to provide capacity for future collection expansion. The rehousing project will facilitate access by faculty, graduate students, and visiting scholars who regularly use the collections.
Center for the History of Psychology, University of Akron (Akron, OH)
Award Amount: $52,454; Matching Amount: $55,038
The Center for the History of Psychology will partner with 10 local high school teachers to design, implement, and evaluate educational resources to provide meaningful, informative, and memorable fieldtrips. The teachers will attend a one-day workshop to brainstorm with the project team. The museum will develop a Teachers Resource Package with guides to the museum, exhibits, and classroom activities; lesson plans based on state standards; and an online repository of archival materials for classroom activities. The museum will also create a “Measuring the Mind” interactive exhibit for teenagers and young adults, providing access to historical materials from the collections.
Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (Seattle, WA)
Award Amount: $150,000; Matching Amount: $167,269
The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience will produce a newly designed tour program to empower the Asian Pacific American community to share their stories, help stimulate the local economy, and promote the historic and cultural vibrancy of the district. The Chinatown International District, on the National Register of Historic Places, is Seattle’s lowest-income neighborhood, struggling with multiple issues that threaten its preservation.
Buffalo Bill Historical Center (Cody, WY)
Award Amount: $149,958; Matching Amount: $153,004
The Buffalo Bill Historical Center will complete a two-year Picturing Buffalo Bill project to digitize 6,000 photographs in its McCracken Research Library related to the life and career of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. Staff will scan, catalog, and upload images to expand the “Buffalo Bill Online Archive” on the museum’s website, along with subject headings and descriptive metadata.
The Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI) has earned accredition by the American Alliance of Museums.
Clarence G. “C.G.” Newsome, Ph.D. is the new president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati, OH)
The Board of Trustees of the Long Island Museum (Stony Brook, NY) announced that Neil Watson has been appointed Executive Director.
July 18, 2013
Spend your summer at a Smithsonian Affiliate! Check out these events in your neighborhood in July and August.
Kevin Gover, National Museum of the American Indian and Harold Closter, Smithsonian Affiliations, attended the public announcement of the Abbe Museum as a new Smithsonian Affiliate in Bar Harbor, 07.05.
Gabrielle Tayac (Piscataway), National Museum of the American Indian curator of the IndiVisible exhibit will give a public lecture on the similar histories of African-Native Americans and Acadian/Wabanaki relations at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, 7.10.
Lindsay Bartholomew, science curator at the Miami Science Museum, presented as part of the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access online webinar, Do It Yourself Astrophotography: Applications for the Classroom and Beyond, along with Mary Dussault, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, in Washington, D.C, 07.10.
The B&O Railroad Museum collaborated with the Smithsonian Science Education Center for a Science Education Academy for Teachers workshop, in Baltimore, 07.10.
Warren Perry, National Portrait Gallery curator, will guest jury the exhibition Humor Me! at Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center, in Solomons, 08.07.
National Outreach Manager Aaron Glavas will be speaking at the public announcement of the Telluride Historical Museum as a new Smithsonian Affiliate in Telluride, 7.29.
The Idaho Museum of Natural History will host the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) exhibit Native Words, Native Warriors in Pocatello, 07.20.
The American Jazz Museum will host SITES’ American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music, in Kansas City, 08.01.
The USS Constitution Museum will host a teacher workshop featuring a lecture by Sidney Hart, Senior Historian from the National Portrait Gallery, in Boston, 07.26 and 08.09.
Ten Affiliates are hosting student interns as part of the Smithsonian Latino Center’s Young Ambassadors Program, through 08.02—Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, Musical Instrument Museum, California Science Center, Museum of Latin American Art, Chabot Space and Science Center, Miami Science Museum, Museum of Flight, and the International Museum of Art and Science.
Four Affiliates are participating in a Smithsonian EdLab teacher workshop, Connecting Classrooms, throughout July and August —the South Dakota State Historical Society in Pierre; the International Museum of Art and Science in McAllen, Texas; the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico in San Juan; and Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum in Arizona.
LAST CHANCE! See these exhibitions in your community before they close!
The SITES’ exhibit Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America closes at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, in Mashantucket, 07.21.
Within the Emperor’s Garden: The Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion exhibit closes at the International Museum of Art and Science, in McAllen, 08.18.
SITES’ exhibit IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas closes at the Abbe Museum, in Bar Harbor, 08.04.
September 11, 2012
This summer I had an opportunity to experience American history from an interesting perspective – on the water. My travels took me to three Affiliates whose ships – actual, life-size, working ships – punctuate important moments in our history. The Mayflower II, the USS Constitution, and the Charles W. Morgan all illustrate the crucial contributions of “sailors” (of all types) to our nation’s success.
“Being thus arrived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, [we] fell upon [our] knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought [us] over the vast and furious ocean.” Especially today, a visitor to the Mayflower II can still deeply appreciate these words by the Plymouth colony’s first governor, William Bradford. The magnitude of this bravery is inspiring to imagine.
On one of the upper decks of the Mayflower II, in Plymouth harbor.
The Mayflower II is a faithful reproduction of the original, historic ship that brought the Pilgrims to the coast of Massachusetts in November 1620 (and was given to the United States by the British in 1957). Exploring the decks of the ship and its cramped quarters, it’s easy to imagine the fears and anxieties of its 102 passengers, including 3 pregnant women, who lived there for over ten weeks. Also on board were all the food, clothing, furniture, tools and other items they would need to start a life in a foreign land.
The travails of such a voyage and the biographies of its passengers are fascinating. But the interpreters’ discussion of the Mayflower Compact is equally inspirational. After the tumultuous voyage and a protracted start to finding an anchoring spot on Cape Cod, the community on board collectively decided to delay disembarking until they had a self-governing treaty in place. That act, and their subsequent diplomacy with the indigenous Wampanoag, reveal the very early beginnings of what American democracy would look like, both in its best and worst incarnations.
Plimoth Plantation, Smithsonian Affiliate, does a great job of telling both sides of this story in all of its sites – from the ship to the Wampanoag Homesite and the English Village. What I quickly realized is that the Pilgrim story is much more complex than the one we celebrate at Thanksgiving, and well worth delving in deeper to appreciate.
“Huzzah! her sides are made of iron!” Up north in Boston, I toured the USS Constitution. Most know her by her nickname, Old Ironsides, based on this exclamation by one of her sailors. The ship sits in the Charlestown Navy Yard next door to Smithsonian Affiliate, the USS Constitution Museum.
I learned that it was George Washington himself who commissioned the building of the USS Constitution in the Naval Armament Act of 1794. And today, the USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship in the world; it’s still an active duty vessel in the U.S. Navy.
Ready to go onboard the USS Constitution, in Boston’s Charlestown Navy Yard
Most importantly, she is undefeated. The USS Constitution fought in several wars, most famously in the War of 1812. That war, often called the Second War of Independence, definitively established the power and resolve of our new nation. The celebrated victories of the USS Constitution incarnated that resolve. She is most famous for her victory over the HMS Guerriere in July 1812, when the British ship’s 18-pound iron cannonballs, shot at close range, “bounced” off her sides. (Her hull is not, in fact, made of iron, but of oak.) The battle was over in 35 minutes.
Touring the ship is amazing, but it’s in the museum where the story gets really unpacked. Here, you come to understand what life was like on the ship – how much sailors were paid, what they ate and wore. You can even try out how they slept, on hammocks only inches apart from one another. Being there this summer as the museum commemorates the 200th anniversary of that fateful victory was especially moving, another reminder of the bravery and sacrifice of our military that solidified the foundation of our nation.
“The story of the American whaling industry… is a rousing chapter in American history…emblematic of a vastly larger story.” So Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough describes the iconic Charles W. Morgan ship, docked at Smithsonian Affiliate Mystic Seaport in southern Connecticut.
The Morgan is the crown jewel of the Seaport’s collection, America’s last surviving wooden whaleship, and a designated National Historic Landmark since 1966. Built in 1841, she made 37 voyages in her 80 years of service, surviving countless hazards of the sea such as ocean storms, Arctic ice, and even, a cannibal attack.
But why is a whaleship so important to American history? Before kerosene and petroleum were discovered later in the 19th century, whale oil (and other byproducts) were the primary commodity used for illumination and lubrication. Think about that – American lighthouses, lamps, candles, street lights, and industry machines were all powered by whale oil, and kept our economy moving forward. As Herman Melville said in the great whaling novel Moby Dick, it was considered “as rare as the milk of queens.”
Checking out the Morgan’s blubber room.
Her effect on our economy is not the only important story. The Morgan literally sailed all over the world, and attracted an incredibly diverse global crew who eventually became U.S. citizens. The ship is the last surviving reminder of a major international economic force, but also, a living piece of history that tells great stories of adventure, hardship and immigration.
All three of these amazing ships still sail. All three have been, or will be, on the water again – the Mayflower II at its 50th anniversary in 2007, the USS Constitution this summer to commemorate its 200th anniversary victory, and next summer, the Morgan will embark on her 38th voyage to the New England ports she visited decades ago.
So here’s to the ships, their passengers and crews, that so bravely shaped our history. Huzzah!
March 26, 2012
October 27, 2011
September 26, 2011
August 24, 2011
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