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September 24, 2013

kudos affiliates! october 2013

The air is turning crisp, but Affiliate accomplishments continue to shine!

FUNDING

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.  


RECOGNITION

The Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI) has earned accredition by the American Alliance of Museums.


LEADERSHIP
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

coming up in affiliateland, July-August 2013

Spend your summer at a Smithsonian Affiliate! Check out these events in your neighborhood in July and August.

MAINE
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. 

FLORIDA

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.

MARYLAND
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.

COLORADO
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.

IDAHO

The Idaho Museum of Natural History will host the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) exhibit Native Words, Native Warriors in Pocatello, 07.20.

MISSOURI
The American Jazz Museum will host SITES’ American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music, in Kansas City, 08.01.

MASSACHUSETTS
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.

NATIONWIDE
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 MuseumMuseum 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!

CONNECTICUT

The SITES’ exhibit Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America closes at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, in Mashantucket, 07.21.

TEXAS
Within the Emperor’s Garden: The Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion exhibit closes at the International Museum of Art and Science, in McAllen, 08.18.

MAINE
SITES’ exhibit IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas closes at the Abbe Museum, in Bar Harbor, 08.04.

September 11, 2012

What I did on my summer vacation – American history through her Ships

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

Coming up in Affiliateland in April 2012

Spring has sprung in Affiliateland!

WASHINGTON
The Museum of Flight will host Dr. Sharon Shaffer, Director of the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, to present a training seminar in Seattle, 4.1. 

FLORIDA
The Orange County Regional History Center opens SITES’ Beyond Baseball: The Life of Roberto Clemente, in Orlando, 4.7. 

MASSACHUSETTS
National Portrait Gallery Senior Historian Dr. Sidney Hart will present a lecture on the Art of the War of 1812 at the USS Constitution Museum in Boston, 4.11.

TEXAS
The Frontiers of Flight Museum celebrates the completion of the restoration project of the V-173 “Flying Pancake” aircraft, on loan from the National Museum of Air and Space, in Dallas, 4.16

NEW YORK
SI Gardens’ Cynthia Brown will present a lecture on Gardens in American History at The Long Island Museum of American Art in Stony Brook, 4.22.

CALIFORNIA
The San Diego Museum of Man opens SITES’ Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America in San Diego, 4.28.

October 27, 2011

Remembering America’s Real War of Independence

Most of us know little about the War of 1812.  What were its causes, when did it start, who were its heroes and how did it end?  If we remember anything at all, it may be the burning of Washington, D.C., the bombardment of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry – the event that inspired Francis Scott Key to pen our national anthem – and perhaps Andrew Jackson’s victory at the Battle of New Orleans (fought two weeks after the signing of the treaty that ended the war).  For most of us the rest is a long-forgotten chapter in dusty old textbooks.  An upcoming exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery will assemble a remarkable number of paintings and artifacts from the War of 1812 in an effort to remind us that it was this war that completed the unfinished business of the American Revolution and secured our true independence from the British, once and for all. 

The Star Spangled Banner at the National Museum of American History. Photo courtesy National Museum of American History.

As the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812 approaches, two artifacts stand out as enduring symbols of this era:  the original Star Spangled Banner, on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, and the USS Constitution, the victorious naval vessel, still commissioned and now docked at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston. 

The USS Constitution near the USS Constitution Museum in Boston. Photo by Smithsonian Affiliations.

On October 20, I had the honor of announcing our new Affiliation with the USS Constitution Museum, thus symbolically joining these two great artifacts into one family.  Both tell us much about the sacrifices of prior generations and the many hardships endured along the road to freedom. Both are also amazing examples of the combined efforts of generations of concerned citizens, public officials, historians and museum professionals to preserve these precious legacies  of our nation’s early and fragile years. 

We hope that the upcoming Bicentennial of the War of 1812 will draw further attention to the work that museums are doing to preserve our nation’s past and draw lessons for our future.  Are there any War of 1812 stories, artifacts, or historic landmarks in your communities?  Let us hear from you so that we can work together to present the fullest picture of this critical part of our history. 

Harold A. Closter
See more photos from Harold’s visit to the museum here.

Smithsonian Affiliations Director, Harold Closter, with USS Constitution commanding officers. Photo by Smithsonian Affiliations.

September 26, 2011

coming up in affiliateland in october 2011

Autumn is always a busy time in Affiliateland!  Hope you can catch one of these opportunities to experience the Smithsonian in your hometown.

KENTUCKY:
The Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion architectural model, on loan from the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute, is on view at the Headley-Whitney Museum in Lexington, through 3/2012.

WASHINGTON:
Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden will be speaking about his book Falling to Earth at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, 10/8.

CONNECTICUT:
The Mashantucket Pequot Museum will open the IndiVisible exhibition, on loan from the National Museum of the American Indian, in Mashantucket, 10/8.

NEW YORK:
Smithsonian National Board member Abby Joseph Cohen will speak at the Museum of American Finance in New York, 10/13.

LOUISIANA:
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art will be celebrating their 10th anniversary as an affiliate in New Orleans, 10/15.

ARIZONA:
The Arizona State  Museum will open the Through the Eyes of the Eagle, an exhibition developed by Affiliate the David J. Sencer CDC Museum) in Tucson, 10/15.

KANSAS:
Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden will be speaking about his book Falling to Earth at the Kansas Cosmophere in Hutchinson, 10/15.

MARYLAND:
Curator Michael Neufeld will lecture on the National Air and Space Museum Autobiography at the College Park Aviation Museum in College Park, 10/15.

MASSACHUSETTS:
The USS Constitution Museum will be announcing their affiliation at a Launching Party in Boston, 10/20.

GEORGIA:
Dr. David W. Penney, Associate Director for Museum Scholarship at the National Museum of the American Indian, will present a talk on historic Native American objects at the Southeastern Cowboy Festival at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, 10/21.

NORTH CAROLINA:
The Charlotte Museum of History will open SITES’ Native Words, Native Warriors exhibition in Charlotte, 10/22.

SOUTH CAROLINA:
Affiliations staff will be on a panel with colleagues from the Headley-Whitney Museum, the Museum of Arts and Sciences, Tellus Science Museum, and York County Culture and Heritage Museums at the Southeastern Museum  Conference in Greenville, 10/25-27.

 

 

August 24, 2011

kudos affiliates! september 2011

Affiliates have been busy in September!  Kudos to all.

The Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI) raised $285,887, with $150,000, from the Museums for America grant program. The funds will benefit the museum’s Understanding Arabs, Arab-Americans and Islam initiative, which aims to educate students throughout the Midwest. The museum also has been awarded a $150,000 grant by the American Association of Museums (AAM) for a project titled Watch Your Waste. The grant enables the Museum to partner with the Children’s Museum Jordan in Amman, Jordan, to create an e-museum where children from both countries will simultaneously conduct research about the garbage their families generate and dispose of.

Seven other Affiliates received Museums for America grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services:

Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, Michigan) will receive nearly $150,000 to complete chemical testing for natural science specimens and to make database and technological enhancements for its natural science and cultural collections.

 USS Constitution Museum Foundation(Charlestown, Massachusetts) will received $149,023 for a hands-on, Old Ironsides 1812 Discovery Center gallery and programs, grounded in research and designed for all ages, to learn about the USS Constitution and the War of 1812.

National Civil War Museum (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) will receive $138,600 to fund The Civil War 150 Years Later—Bringing History Back for the Future, a primarily Web-based project that is intended to enhance educational resources available to teachers, students, and the public on the Civil War.

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) will receive $112,760 to design, create, and coordinate travel for a 500-square-foot exhibition about the role of western Pennsylvania in the Civil War. 

Chabot Space and Science Center (Oakland, California) will receive $149,963 to implement the design phase of its upcoming outdoor exhibit, Launchpad. Through Launchpad, students and visitors will learn about space and the sciences as they play and engage in hands-on activities throughout the exhibit.

Conner Prairie (Fishers, Indiana) will receive $141,885 to develop and implement Test Lab: Indiana Inventions, a 500-square-foot exhibit focusing on the themes of energy, innovation and invention; life sciences; and environment and nature; that will place visitors in the role of a scientific investigator. 

Hubbard Museum of the American West (Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico) will receive $79,355 to upgrade and add technology to its new distance learning center to provide new opportunities to learn about the history and culture of the southwest for adults, families, and pre-K through grade 12 students.

 Two other Affiliates received funding for the 2011 Museums & Community Collaborations Abroad (MCCA) program by the American Association of Museums and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs:

Atomic Testing Museum (Las Vegas, Nevada) will partner with the Karaganda Ecological Museum (Karaganda, Kazakhstan) to develop Nuclear Weapons Testing Legacy: The Tale of Two Cultures. Students in both cities will collect oral histories and radiation data from the areas surrounding the Nevada and Semipalatinsk test sites. Ultimately, participants will produce a joint report and conduct symposiums with experts in each country to explore the local and international implications of their findings.

California Science Center (Los Angeles, California) will work with Maloka (Bogota, Colombia) to create Rainforest Leadership Academy: Cross-Cultural Teacher Training and Mentoring.  To empower teachers with the resources, skills, knowledge, and the confidence to deliver inquiry-based science lessons to their classes, the California Science Center and Maloka will enlist mentor teachers from local public schools to collaboratively develop materials for teacher professional-development trainings and student activities.

The African American Museum in Philadelphia(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) was awarded $149,287  as part of the Museum Grant for African American History and Culture by The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).  AAMP will create resources for smaller museums through a project that trains future African American museum professionals.

Three affiliates received grants from The National Endowment for the Humanities to support ongoing projects.

Montana Historical Society (Helena, Montana) received $290,000 to digitize over 100,000 pages of Montana’s microfilmed newspapers, dating from 1864 to 1922, as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).

Center for Jewish History (New York, New York) will receive $103,657 to support the digitization of approximately 1,000 volumes to add to the Wissenschaft des Judentums library, which was dispersed and partially destroyed during World War II.

Oklahoma Historical Society (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) was awarded $325,000 to support the digitization of 100,000 pages of Oklahoma newspapers dating from 1836 to 1922, as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).

 JP Morgan Chase & Co. is donating $1 million to the Perot Museum of Nature & Science (Dallas, Texas) to support the Bio Lab and related educational programming in the Being Human Hall, which will be part of the new museum under construction.

Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center (Dowell, Maryland), received a $12,000 grant from The Dominion Foundation’s to give more than 60 teens an opportunity to participate in center’s summer arts program.

The Museum of History & Industry (Seattle, Washington) has received a gift of $10 million from Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive officer of Seattle-based Amazon.com. The grant will be used to establish the Center for Innovation at the new MOHAI opening in late fall of 2012.

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