February 4, 2016

visiting Affiliate artifacts… in Washington

In Affiliations, we like to say that our partnerships are two-way streets. We learn as much from our Affiliates as we share. Our Affiliate partners lend ideas, energy and expertise not only to the Smithsonian, but to each other. They also lend artifacts, and often, the very best, rare ones they have in their collections.

Recently, I took an afternoon out of the office to visit the handful of loans currently on view from our Affiliate partners to the Smithsonian. What better pleasure to run in to our Affiliate friends across the country than by discovering pieces from their collections here in Washington?!

A case featuring inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

A case featuring inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame

My first stop on this walkabout was the National Museum of American History and its newly-opened innovation wing. The Inventing in America exhibition features a case that honors inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, our Affiliate in Canton, OH. Visitors can marvel at a selection of inventions made by some of the 500 men and women who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and learn about inventions such as the first intravascular stent from 1984, 3M sticky notes, the first digital camera from 1975, and the 1976 Apple computer.

exhibitcase4_atNMAH.Jan2016

Descriptions of the inventions of Hall of Fame inductees

Notably, the case explains the invention of Kevlar, the high strength fabric (used for example, in bullet-proof vests) invented by Stephanie Kwolek in 1965 while she worked at DuPont. Luckily, our Delaware Affiliate, the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, has an extensive collection of material about Kevlar (including Kwolek’s papers) and lent two artifacts from their collection to bring her story to life.

I wandered over to the National Portrait Gallery to see its Dark Fields of the Republic: Alexander Gardner Photographs, 1859-1872 exhibition. At one time, Gardner worked for the famous photographer Matthew Brady before casting out as an influential documentarian in his own right. The profound Civil War-era images on view in these galleries are haunting still. Among them are important works from three Smithsonian Affiliates.

at_NPG2.Jan2016

Field of Antietam photo book on loan from the National Civil War Museum

The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA lent a photographic book titled the Field of Antietam from 1962. Before photomechanical reproduction, books like this one were made by printing each of the original photographs by hand, adhering them to mounts, and binding them as a book. Knowing this process makes the book feel all that more special.

Our Affiliate in Indianapolis, the Indiana Historical Society lent chilling images of the executions of the Lincoln assassination conspirators. Notably, Alexander Gardner was the only photographer allowed to document the hangings, and his position on the wall of the prison grants a panoramic view that is searing and unforgettable.

Sketchbook of the War, on loan from the Western Reserve Historical Society

Gardner’s Photographic Sketchbook of the War, on loan from the Western Reserve Historical Society

Finally, the Western Reserve Historical Society, our Affiliate in Cleveland, OH also lent several works to the exhibition, including what feels like an incongruous view of a picnic in the woods. Alas, one discovers its main subject is Walt Whitman, who lived in Washington, D.C. for part of the war, writing letters for injured soldiers. It’s an unsettling yet bucolic image among the battlefields represented on the walls around it. Another impressive loan is Gardner’s Photographic Sketchbook of the War in two volumes. This large-scale folio published in 1866 features 100 images from Gardner’s vast collection that successfully distill the chronological narrative of the war in a meaningful and emotional way.

Finally, I ended my excursion at the Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian. This retrospective – her first major one – traces the artistic journey of WalkingStick, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Emerging from the art world of New York in the 1960-70s, the show traces her 40+ year career from early figurative work through her famous diptychs to recent paintings of monumental landscapes with symbolic references to their Native links.

Three Affiliates are represented in this exhibition as well. One of our newest, The Rockwell Museum in Corning, NY lent a diptych, Letting Go/From Chaos to Calm from 1990. These rich paintings of mixed dry media on sculptmetal juxtapose the figurative and abstract, the visual and visceral in stimulating and thought-provoking ways.

Visitors can leaf through a touchable version of WalkingStick's artist book, on loan from the Heard Museum.

Visitors can leaf through a touchable version of WalkingStick’s artist book, on loan from the Heard Museum

The Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ (where the show will travel after Washington) lent two works. One canvas, Cardinal Points from 1983-85, uses acrylic paint and saporified wax to achieve a textured and active surface that rewards prolonged study. Her artist book on loan from the Heard contrasts depictions of herself with the kinds of stereotypical comments about her identity that continue to plague Native people. (Flip through the book here.)

Finally, the Denver Art Museum lent a commanding diptych of a different style, Farewell to the Smokies from 2007. This oil painting on wood blends two views of a majestic mountain landscape, with silhouettes of figures walking across their base. It’s a powerful reminder of Native history, and at the same time, of the indelible legacy of Native peoples on the American landscape.

Thank you Affiliates, for all the ways that you enrich the Smithsonian!

Farewell to the Farewell to the Smokies, 2007. Oil on wood panel, 36 x 72 x 1 in. Denver Art Museum: William Sr. and Dorothy Harmsen Collection, 2008.14. Photo courtesy of the Denver Art Museum

Farewell to the Smokies, 2007. Oil on wood panel, 36 x 72 x 1 in. Denver Art Museum: William Sr. and Dorothy Harmsen Collection, 2008.14. Photo courtesy of the Denver Art Museum

 

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July 27, 2014

kudos Affiliates! August 2014

Great news from Affiliateland!  Bravo to all!

FUNDING

The National Civil War Museum (Harrisburg, PA) received a $5,000 donation from the Hall Foundation to support educational programming. The Hall Foundation is the title sponsor of the new exhibit “In the Hands of the Enemy: The Captivity, Exchange & Parole of Prisoners of War,” that highlights the brutal conditions of prisoner of war camps, Confederate and Union. The exhibit will have rare artifacts from the National Civil War Museum’s collection on display, and information panels will address and explain the conditions of the camps and daily prisoner life.

The Hawai`i State Legislature approved $500,000 in State Grant-in-Aid funding toward the new Island Heritage Gallery exhibit at the Lyman Museum (Hilo, HI).  The new exhibit will explore a historical timeline of the many people, cultures, events, and ideas that left their mark on Hawai`i Island and contributed to the rich, diverse mosaic of modern Hawai`i.

The Hall Family Foundation has donated $4 million to help fund capital improvement projects at Union Station Kansas City (Kansas City, MO). The funding will be used to make improvements to Science City as well as the development of a pedestrian bridge and a new lower-level entrance.

Two Affiliates recently received Museum Grants for African American History and Culture (AAHC) from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS):

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture (Baltimore, MD) Award Amount: $69,674

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture will hire a curatorial graduate student intern, create a postdoctoral fellowship in African American history, and establish a professional development fund that will allow staff at all levels to take advantage of training programs relevant to their work as museum professionals.

American Jazz Museum (Kansas City, MO) Award Amount: $133,050

The American Jazz Museum will hire a registrar to enhance the accessibility of the museum’s collections and create four semester-long paid internship positions focusing on collections and education.

The Ellen Noël Art Museum (Odessa, TX) received a grant from the Junior League of Odessa for the “Little Free Library”, a decorative receptacle and will be filled with books for children and young adults to “take a book, leave a book.”  In addition, the Ellen Noel Art Museum has received a $20,000 grant from National Endowment for the Arts for their innovative research in the 3D printing lab meant to assist the visually impaired.

GAR Foundation distributed awards to teams of Ohio educators through its annual Educator Initiative Grant program. The awards support teacher-initiated, classroom-based projects and methods that demonstrate gains in student achievement and include the following affiliates:

  • National Inventors Hall of Fame (Akron, OH) STEM Middle School, $9,500, for “STEM E5d.”
  • Akron Public Schools, National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM High School, $4,999, for “Survivability of an Impossible Situation.”
  • Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, OH) $10,000 for Hale Farm & Village’s Adopt-a-School Program at Leggett Elementary.
  • Western Reserve Historical Society, $5,000 for Hale Farm & Village’s Wetmore Barn Preservation.

Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA) announced that the Massachusetts budget for 2015 includes $2 million funding for the restoration of Mayflower II, a replica of the original ship that brought the Pilgrims to Massachusetts.

The African American Museum in Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA) received a $50,000 award from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation  to enhance two current art exhibits: the photography of “Distant Echoes: Black Farmers in America,” and the sculpture of “Syd Carpenter: More Places of Our Own.” The Knight-supported programming, dubbed “Beyond Sustenance,” will encompass interactive storytelling, art-making, community dining, and workshops centered on African-American traditions in farming, cooking and more.

Mystic Seaport and the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center (Mystic, Mashantucket, CT) received a $30,095 grant from Connecticut Humanities to support a project called Connecticut Indian Whalers: Work, Community, and Life at Sea.  The project features digital, exhibit and program offerings designed to raise school and public awareness about the men of color from Connecticut who labored on 19th century whaling ships, in particular Native American men whose work experience was strongly intertwined with their social and kinship networks.

Staten Island City Council allocated $3.7 million to Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden for building renovations.

ACHIEVEMENTS & RECOGNITION

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced that North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, NC) was one of 10 recipients of the 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community.

Charlene Donchez Mowers, executive director of Historic Bethlehem Museums and Sites (Bethlehem, PA), received the Strategic Partner Award from the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce.  Historic Bethlehem has recently been designated a National Historic Landmark site.

The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) proudly announced the winners of the 69th annual Leadership in History Awards, the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. Below are the Affiliate recipients for the 2014 Awards:

Conner Prairie (Fishers, IN) has been chosen by FlipKey Vacation Rental as one of its “Top Family Attractions Worth Traveling For.”

The Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point state park (Pioneer, LA) have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This prestigious designation is a global recognition of the site’s outstanding universal value.

PA Museums announced that the Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA) received the President’s Award for its national award-winning exhibit From Slavery to Freedom.


LEADERSHIP

The Board of the Western Reserve Historical Society announced that Kelly Falcone-Hall has been selected to be the new CEO. Falcone-Hall had been serving as interim CEO during the selection process.

 

March 31, 2014

kudos Affiliates! April 2014

Affiliates are bursting into spring with impressive awards and recognition. 

FUNDINGP

The National Civil War Museum (Harrisburg, PA) has received a $30,000 grant from the Kunkle-Rutherford Foundation to pay for upgrades to the museum’s galleries audio system.

The George Gund Foundation awarded a $150,000 grant to the Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, OH) for the restoration and installation of the Euclid Beach Carousel at its University Circle facility.

Thanks to a $2,000 grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, the Wisconsin Maritime Museum (Manitowoc, WI) will create four new guides on the Manitowoc River, focusing on a different facet of the river and its heritage.


RECOGNITION

Drumming at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix.

Drumming at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix.

Two Affiliates – California Science Center (Los Angeles) and Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix, AZ) – made the list of USA Today’s 20 Best Museums for Families across the USA.

As part of a marketing campaign planned for this spring, the Nebraska Tourism Commission surveyed Nebraskans and non-Nebraskans alike on what Nebraska attractions and events are the most iconic. The Strategic Air & Space Museum (Ashland, NE) came in at #7 and was the only state museum in the top-10.

Peter Aucella, assistant superintendent of Lowell National Historical Park (Lowell, MA) is the 2014 recipient of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Lowell’s Thomas G. Kelakos Community Spirit Award, which recognizes people who give back to the community.

The Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, ME) received the 2014 Maine Office of Tourism Leadership and Growth Award.

The Army Heritage Center Foundation (Carlisle, PA) announced that its education director, Jeff Hawks, will receive the Adler Friend of Education Award from the Pennsylvania State Education Association for his work as state coordinator for National History Day in Pennsylvania.

Students celebrate National History Day in Pennsylvania

Students celebrate National History Day in Pennsylvania

The Building Museums Symposium selected the Museum of History and Industry (Seattle, WA) as one of two museums to be awarded the 2014 Building Museums “Buildy” Award in recognition of their exemplary accomplishment in leading their institution through the challenging process of creating new museum space. The museum converted an historic Naval Armory building into museum space, while retaining the architectural integrity of the historic landmark.

The Antique Automobile Club of America Museum (AACAM in Hershey, PA) was recently awarded five NAMMY awards, bestowed by the National Association of Automobile Museums (NAAM) at their annual conference in California last week.  AACAM took home first place awards for Events & Public Promotion, Collateral Materials, and Interpretative Exhibits; and third place awards for Newsletters and Magazines, and Websites.  Mark Lizewskie, Executive Director of the AACAM, was also elected to the NAAM Board of Directors.

 

Congratulations to all!

 

 

March 6, 2014

Young Historians, Living Histories- Today’s Stop: Cleveland, OH!

Special thanks to Paula Lee, Smithsonian Affiliations intern, for this guest post. This is the fourth of a five-part blog series she is writing as part of the Young Historians, Living Histories (YHLH) collaboration with the Asian Pacific American Center and our Affiliate network.

Local Cleveland newspaper ad- how students were recruited!

Local Cleveland newspaper ad- how students were recruited!

In Cleveland, students began an early session of preliminary interviews because practice after-all makes perfect. Dr. John Grabowski, Senior Vice President of Research and Publications of Western Reserve Historical Center (Cleveland, OH), sought out partnership with local Asian Indian American community, the Asian Indian Heritage Project (AIHP).  WRHS and AIHP, having had a previous history of partnerships, rekindled their alliance and worked to produce an advertisement that was placed in two local newspapers, India International and The Lotus for recruits based off short essays. Six highly dedicated and intelligent youth from the Asian Indian community were selected to represent the Northeast Ohio population.

Read more about the students’ films at CAAM Fest here.

Interviews held inside the Western Reserve Historical Society Library utilizing the tall windows as natural lighting for filming

Interviews held inside the Western Reserve Historical Society Library utilizing the tall windows as natural lighting for filming

Students were paired and interviewed successful doctors, community leaders (founder of AIHP Mr. Paramijit Singh) and social workers gathering a riveting collection of stories in the duration of their hour-long interviews. The museum provided its Research Library to create a professional theme for the filming to take place, while interviewees dressed in traditional Indian clothing as a reminder of their culture in the midst of relocation and adaptation in America.  When they weren’t asking for help editing footage through Dr. Grabowski or Jane Mason, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, students would take the camcorders and complete the editing as home projects.  Each student dove into the project with such passion and enthusiasm, they even gathered at the museum on their own over Thanksgiving break to continue without pause!

In a follow up call with Marketing Assistant Alyssa Purvis, I was informed that that the AIHP held a banquet selling raffle tickets to raise funds for the next set of students eager to continue with the project having already received inquiries.

“The students are a huge driving force behind the continuation of this project; they keep meeting others within their community and wanting to preserve their stories.” Their efforts “have had a ripple effect, on their families and entire Indian community as a whole in Northeast Ohio.

Through all those involved in Young Historians, Living Histories, I amongst many others have had a chance to discover how proactive these youth are when it comes to using these community resources. It is amazing to see how well the youth are responding to this form of research and discovery.

As the Asian Indian Heritage Project mantra goes, we hope our accomplishments “Illuminate the Past, Light the Future”!

Dr. John Grabrowski Senior President of Marketing and Research and Jane Mason Vice President, with the 6 participating YHLH students

Dr. John Grabrowski Senior President of Marketing and Research and Jane Mason Vice President, with the 6 participating YHLH students

January 28, 2014

coming up in Affiliateland in February 2014

It may be chilly across the country, but the temperature is not stopping Affiliates from offering great programming in February!

NATIONWIDEnational_youth_summit
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, 12 Affiliates will join the National Museum of American History to hold a National Youth Summit, linking high school students across the U.S. in an engaging program on the history and legacy of the 1964 youth-led effort for voting rights and education, 2.5.

Participating Affiliates include:
African American Museum & National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia, PA
American Jazz Museum, Kansas City, MO
Arab American National Museum, Dearborn, MI
History Colorado  Center, Denver, CO
Institute of Texan Cultures, San Antonio, TX
Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, CA
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati, OH
Oklahoma History Center, Oklahoma City, OK
Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, OH
North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh, NC

NEBRASKA

The Durham Museum opens The 1968 Exhibit featuring three Apollo 8 artifacts from the National Air and Space Museum, in Omaha, 2.8.

snakeThe University of Nebraska State Museum opens the Titanoboa: Monster Snake exhibition (SITES) in Lincoln, 2.22.
IOWA
The Putnam Museum opens Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964 (SITES) in Davenport, 2.15.

October 24, 2013

november 2013 Affiliate kudos

Even though the weather is getting chilly, Affiliate accomplishments continue to shine!!

Funding

The Illinois Arts Council Agency recently awarded Peoria Riverfront Museum (Peoria, IL) a grant of $20,600 from state funds. The grant will be used specifically for general operating support of the museum. In addition, Peoria Riverfront Museum received a $2000 grant from Target. The award will be used for a brand new educational kit involving Bee Bots, a new robot designed for use by young children.

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation has awarded $407,000 to the Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, OH) to support a three-year youth entrepreneurship program for students in grades 4-6 in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

The Long Island Museum (Stony Brook, NY) announced that its Long Island Long Ago school program was awarded a grant from Target Corporation. The grant will help the museum reach more than 12,000 Long Island school children annually, including those from underserved communities. Long Island Long Ago encourages students to explore farm life in the mid-nineteenth century through historic tools, paintings and dance.

RFL

Making flags for military use in the quartermaster corps depot, Philadelphia, Penn, 1942. Photograph courtesy of Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-95525. Photographer: Howard Liberman.

The State of Maryland has granted $128,000 to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum (Baltimore, MD) as part of its continuing support of programs and events commemorating the War of 1812.  The Museum will use the funds toward the presentation of a new exhibition entitled For Whom It Stands: The Flag and the American People.

Awards

Mr. Courtney Wilson, Director of the B & O Railroad Museum, was honored with the 2013 Katherine Coffey Award at the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums conference.  The award is given each year to recognize distinguished achievement in the museum field.  

 

August 24, 2012

Kudos Affiliates! September 2012

As summer heats up, so too do Affiliate accomplishments!

The Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, Michigan) received a new grant from the Asian Cultural Council, New York City, to establish a partnership between the Michigan State University Museum and Yunnan Nationalities Museum, in Kunming, China. The $12,000 grant is aimed at creating new resources online that can be used to access Chinese folklife and ethnographic collections by scholars, museums and the public.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati, Ohio) will receive a $1.8 million grant over three years as part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s America Healing program. The three-year grant will be used for programs to increase student and public awareness and understanding about the history of racial oppression in this country.

The GAR Foundation has awarded a $30,000 grant to the Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, Ohio), for educational programming at Hale Farm & Village.

Three Affiliates received Smithsonian Community Grants program sponsored by MetLife Foundation as part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibitions Services (SITES):

  • Institute of Texan Cultures (San Antonio, Texas) received $5,000 to fund programming that fosters self-identification and pride for dual heritage African-Native Texans. The grant will support honoraria for several scholars, craft and educational materials, and the marketing and advertising of events related to the themes of IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas.
  • San Diego Museum of Man (San Diego, California) was awarded $3,750 to fund the honoraria of Native American skate industry professionals who will participate in a panel discussion. The grant will also support the marketing of programming related to the themes of Ramp it Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America.
  • Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum (McMinnville, Oregon) will receive $2,160 to fund the busing of economically disadvantaged and minority youth in the regional Portland area to view Black Wings: An American Dream of Flight.

A technology upgrade for Ellen Noel Art Museum (Odessa, Texas) is the result of a Permian Basin Area Foundation $5,000 grant. This technology upgrade will help support the museum’s existing website and social media sites.

American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) announced the winners of their 2012 Leadership in History Awards Winners including the following Affiliates:

  • Arizona State Museum (Tucson, Arizona) for the exhibit Many Mexicos: Vistas de la Frontera
  • Conner Prairie Interactive History Park (Fishers, Indiana) for the exhibit 1863 Civil War Journey: Raid on Indiana.
  • Montana Historical Society (Bozeman, Montana) and Montana Office of Public Instruction Indian Education for All Divisions for Best Practices in Museum Education: Museums and Schools as Co-Educators.
  • North Carolina Museum of History (Raleigh, North Carolina) for the exhibit The Story of North Carolina.
  • Ohio Historical Society (Columbus, Ohio) for the exhibit Controversy: Pieces You Don’t Normally See; for the Ohio as America Online 4th Grade Textbook; and for the Ohio History Service Corps-AmeriCorps Program.
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