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February 11, 2014

Young Historians, Living Histories- Today’s Stop: Oklahoma City, OK!

Special thanks to Paula Lee, Smithsonian Affiliations intern, for this guest post. This is the first 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. 

Asian Pacific American youth representing the Young Historians, Living HIstory after completing a workshop

Asian Pacific American youth representing the Young Historians, Living History after completing a workshop

Early this August, I had an extraordinary opportunity to join Smithsonian Affiliations as an intern directly assisting with the Young Historians, Living Histories grant. After a few weeks of researching the project, I spoke with Leah Craig, Curator of Education at the Oklahoma History Center, an Affiliate in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma History Center is one of nine Affiliate museums selected to receive the YHLH grant funded by the Smithsonian’s Youth Access Grant program. Additional Affiliates include Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (Seattle, WA), Institute of Texan Cultures (San Antonio, TX), Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, OH), Pacific Aviation Museum (Honolulu, HI), Sonoma County Museum (Santa Rosa, CA), Greensboro Historical Museum (Greensboro, NC), Riverside Metropolitan Museum (Riverside, CA), and Historic Arkansas Museum (Little Rock, AR).

This program is an educational initiative designed to engage underserved youth in Asian Pacific American communities by incorporating the use of digital media to produce oral histories. Being an Asian American myself, I was particularly thrilled at the chance to be involved in a project that hit so close to home. The Affiliates have collaborated with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (APAC) and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) to provide essential curriculum guidelines that will be used to train educators to implement youth workshops. Participating Affiliates have recruited Asian Pacific American students to attend workshops at the museums. Middle and high school students will learn a variety of 21st-century skills, methods of community outreach, and digital storytelling to explore, contextualize, and deepen their understanding of Asian Pacific American history and culture.

Director Leah Craig leading one of many workshops on Asian American history

Curator Leah Craig leading one of many workshops on Asian American history

While the Affiliates were busy recruiting students, Craig had already begun to lead a team of 20 gifted and talented students from Norman High School through active learning workshops. The workshops covered essential editing, filming, interviewing and a lesson in Asian Pacific American history with the help of teachers Margaret Wadleigh, LaRadius Allen, and Moving Image Archivist Corey Ayers. Students that participated in the workshop came from diverse cultural backgrounds and were placed in groups that encouraged them to share their stories and ideas as they began their transformation into historians seeking stories within the Asian Pacific American community.  At only 1.9 percent, Oklahoma’s Asian American population isn’t large but according to the U.S. Census Bureau it includes a variety of Chinese, Korean, Pilipino, Burmese, and Hmong communities with significant Vietnamese and growing Indian communities. The program has enticed the young historians to become curious and research the immigration stories that attracted Asian Americans’ very first settlement into Oklahoma such as the Land Run in 1889.

Shoulder to Shoulder-- Oklahoman students eager to learn the film making processes of oral histries in a workshop led by Moving Image Archivist, Corey Ayers

Shoulder to Shoulder– Oklahoman students eager to learn the film making processes of oral histries in a workshop led by Moving Image Archivist, Corey Ayers

Craig boasts that “by conducting the oral histories students are helping us collect the history of our community from people with whom we may not have any other way to collect their stories.” Students were challenged to reveal the hidden struggles and accomplishments that Asian Pacific Americans in their own families/personal network had endured while en route, discovering a part of them that was never truly appreciated. Wadleigh, one of the two mentoring teachers, observed that the oral history element of this project engaged the students in a way that activated their “emotional” skills, skills that helped them discover powerful stories that couldn’t be told through any textbook.   Look forward to future posts under the YHLH Series as we begin to unravel the unique stories hidden across the nation “oh the places we’ll go” when we’re looking!

April 25, 2011

kudos Affiliates! May 2011

Bravo to the five Affiliates awarded IMLS’ 2011 American Heritage Preservation grants!

were five of 54 museums nationally to receive the  grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium received a $2,948 grant to conserve native son and nationally known artist Alexander Simplot’s painting of the steamboat Virginia titled Steamboat Taking on Wood. Plimoth Plantation received $1,153 to preserve and protect house the museum’s 130-item rare book collection which provides perspectives on both the seventeenth century and the legacy of the English colonists and native Wampanoag people living in seventeenth-century Plymouth Colony. The Senator John Heinz History Center received $2,975 to conserve the Adam Saam discharge paper, which is believed to be the only surviving example of the elaborate pre-printed form of discharge paper from the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Wing Luke Asian Museum will use their $3,000 grant to conserve the painting, Rock Island Dam, by Japanese-American Painter Takuichi Fujii. The Wisconsin Maritime Museum received $3,000 to purchase equipment to record temperature and relative humidity levels in its newly expanded museum facility and on the submarine USS Cobia, a National Historic Landmark vessel.

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust has awarded Conner Prairie Interactive History Park (Fishers, Indiana) $100,000 to support the 1863 Civil War Journey Exhibit.

The Arizona State Museum (Tucson, Arizona) was awarded a $400,000 grant from the federal preservation competition Save America’s Treasures. The project entitled Saving Woven Wonders of American Heritage will rehouse the most comprehensive collection of Southwest Native American woven basketry in a climate-controlled space, which will include visitor visibility, to mitigate threats from light, temperature, humidity, insects, and abrasion.

The Wisconsin Maritime Museum (Manitowoc, Wisconsin) will be part of a $39,550 Joint Effort Marketing grant presented by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism to market a new multi-community sales promotion, “Wisconsin’s Schooner Coast Passport.

February 24, 2011

Wing Luke Museum and Kona Historical Society: 10 Years in Association with the Smithsonian

2011 is a big year for organizations—20 at the latest count—celebrating their 10th anniversary as Smithsonian Affiliates.  To honor these Affiliates we’ll be blogging monthly about each one as they reach this milestone. 

Two unique Smithsonian Affiliates celebrated 10 years of collaborating with the Smithsonian in February- Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (Seattle, WA) and Kona Historical Society (Captain Cook, HI). 

Pictured: Joshua Heim, Exhibits Developer and King Lau, Youth Participant, of the Wing Luke Asian Museum YouthCAN program with Michelle Obama. Courtesy IMLS.

Seattle, Washington, is home to the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, better known as “The Wing,” the nation’s only museum devoted to the Asian Pacific American experience. Active participants in Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day each year, The Wing has also included programming from The Smithsonian Associates and brought Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service exhibitions to their community. Recently, during a White House ceremony, First Lady Michelle Obama honored The Wing’s YouthCAN after school program with a prestigious national award for its impact in engaging young people in the arts and humanities.

Kona Coffee Living History Farm, courtesy Kona Historical Society.

Did you know the Smithsonian has Affiliates in Hawaii? The Kona Historical Society in Captain Cook, Hawaii, also celebrates its 10th anniversary in February. The society maintains two historic sites and the Jean Greenwell Archives, which boasts the largest photograph collection on the Big Island; over 140 maps; many rare and out-of-print books; historical records including manuscripts, pamphlets and oral history interviews; and films and videotapes of Kona. The Society is in the process of raising $1.5 million over the next three years to expand the Kona Coffee Living History Farm which will create a permanent exhibition space for “The Kona Coffee Story:  Along the Hawai’I Belt Road,” an award winning exhibition created in a partnership which included the Japanese American National Museum (another Smithsonian Affiliate) and which was donated to the Kona Historical Society.

So, Happy 10th anniversary to The Wing and Kona Historical Society! And here’s to many more years of collaboration.

January 25, 2010

kudos Affiliates!

As we closed out 2009, it’s nice to see some bright spots ringing in the New Year!  We’d like to acknowledge the following Affiliates for their hard work and success.

Smithsonian Affiliations received $8,000 from the Smithsonian Latino Center to support research trips for the curatorial staff of the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (San Juan, Puerto Rico), with the goal of organizing future exhibitions featuring Smithsonian artifacts.

The North Carolina Humanities Council has awarded $7,500 to the North Carolina Museum of History (Raleigh, North Carolina) for an expansion of the exhibition “Standing on a Box: Lewis Hine’s National Child Labor Committee Photography in North Carolina.” In addition, State Employees’ Credit Union Foundation has provided $500,000 to benefit the museum’s new SECU Education Center. The museum has also received a 2009 Creative Award from the North Carolina Museums Council for its Bits of History podcast series.

Museum of Arts and Sciences (Macon, Georgia) received a $10,000 grant from College Hill Corridor to hold “Art of the Hill” a spring break day camp.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, North Carolina), is the recipient of a $4 million grant from the State Employees Credit Union Foundation to support the Museum’s SECU Daily Planet centerpiece of the planned Nature Research Center.

Through state grants and local donations The Hermitage (Nashville, Tennessee) will begin a $1 million facelift to repair weather damage and wear and tear.

The Challenger Space Center (Peoria, Arizona) was awarded $50,000 from the Tohono O’odham Nation in September 2009 for a grant which will be primarily used for two new exhibits, the Gemini 8 and PlayMotion. The grant money will also help bring objects from the Smithsonian to the center for the Gemini 8 exhibit. 

National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium (Dubuque, Iowa) received a $500,000 earmark for exhibit fabrication and installation as part of the FY 2010 Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill. The museum also has received a $1.23 million grant from Iowa River Enhancement Community Attraction & Tourism program to complete an outdoor plaza for their new museum expansion project.

Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, Michigan) received a $40,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the Great Lakes Folk Festival.

Joe B. Keiper has been named Executive Director of the Virginia Museum of Natural History (Martinsville, Virginia).

Mid-America Science Museum (Hot Springs, Arkansas) was awarded $286,036 from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to fund a two year planning process aimed at improving the museum’s operations and exhibits.

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services recently announced the latest recipients of their Smithsonian Community Grant program, supported by MetLife Foundation including two Affiliates:

  • Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, Alabama) was awarded $4,500 to develop a teacher workshop, guest speaker, and advertising and promotion of programming related to the themes of 381 Days: The Montgomery Bus Boycott Story.
  • The Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future (Dallas, Texas) received $4,600 to fund a visit from Queen Nur, and create a gallery guide insert and marketing materials for events related to the themes of Freedom’s Sisters.

Three Smithsonian Affiliates were recipients of MetLife Foundation’s Museum and Community Connections program grants. The grants were awarded to 15 museums for exhibitions, artist residencies, and other programs that extend their reach into diverse communities.

  • Buffalo Bill Historical Center (Cody, Wyoming) ($70,000)
    For the Splendid Heritage: Perspectives on Native American Art exhibit and accompanying family days, lecture series, and artist residencies.
  • Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, California) ($50,000) 
    For Mixed: Portraits of Multiracial Kids exhibit featuring portraits, hand-drawn statements, and stories of multiracial children in the United States.
  • Wing Luke Asian Museum (Seattle, Washington) ($50,000) 
    For the Asian Pacific Islander American Art Making: Explorations in Identity and Community initiative, which includes exhibits and corresponding public programs and workshops.

January 22, 2010

affiliates in the news: week of jan 18

Congratulations to these Affiliates making headlines this week!

ARIZONA
Arizona State Museum (Tucson)
Hopi lecturer illuminates culture

CALIFORNIA
Wing Luke Asian Museum (Los Angeles)
4Culture funds local heritage and cultural facilities projects 

381 Days: The Montgomery Bus Boycott Story

381 Days: The Montgomery Bus Boycott Story. Photo by Don Cravens; courtesy Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

San Diego Natural History Museum
San Diego’s Natural History Museum recieves LEED certification

GEORGIA
High Museum of Art (Atlanta)
5 Ga. Art Museums Form Partnership
Georgia Art Museums Collaborate to Share Resources and Collections Across the State

MASSACHUSETTS
Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth)
Recycling at Plimoth Plantation

PENNSYLVANIA
The African American Museum in Philadelphia
“381 Days: The Montgomery Bus Boycott Story” donated to the African American Museum in Philadelphia

National Civil War Museum Curator, Brett Kelley

National Civil War Museum Curator, Brett Kelley

National Civil War Museum (Harrisburg)
Man Lives Civil War Style

TEXAS
Institute of Texan Cultures (San Antonio)
Institute takes a look at ‘Race’

VIRGINIA
Birthplace of Country Music Alliance (Bristol)
Federal Funding Aids Birthplace of Country Music Alliance Center
$2.5 million allocated for Birthplace of Country Music Alliance museum/performance center

 

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