September 28, 2016

October 2016 is BUSY in Affiliateland!

Thanks to all our Affiliates for such great work!

CONNECTICUT
Affiliations program Director Harold Closter will announce the new affiliation with the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford, 10.5.

IOWA
The Dubuque Museum of Art will hold a videoconference on En Plein Air with the American Art Museum in Dubuque, 10.11.

LOUISIANA
The Smithsonian Associates will be working with three Affiliates – the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, the St. Louis Science Center and the Museum of Arts and Sciences on GEAR UP, a science education program for 8th graders in Lafayette, 10.11-13.

MISSOURI
National Outreach Manager Aaron Glavas will announce the new affiliation with the St. Louis Science Center, and National Air and Space Museum educator Tim Grove will present a book talk at a Member Open House event in St. Louis, on 10.13.

HAWAII
The Pacific Aviation Museum will host an astrophotography workshop with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, in Honolulu, 10.13-14.

ARIZONA
The Heard Museum will open the exhibition Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist from the National Museum of the American Indian, in Phoenix, 10.13

GEORGIA
Staff from the National Museum of Natural History will be giving talks at a private event for the Atlanta Regional Host Committee at the David Sencer Centers for Disease Control Museum in Atlanta, 10.13.

NEVADA
The Las Vegas Natural History Museum will open the SITES exhibition Titanaboa in Las Vegas, 10.15.

NORTH CAROLINA
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will host the Board meeting and associated activities of the Smithsonian Science Education Center in Raleigh, 10.17.

WASHINGTON, DC
Over 120 Affiliate staff will help celebrate the 20th anniversary of Smithsonian Affiliations at the annual conference in Washington, 10.17-20.

TENNESSEE
John Franklin from the National African American Museum will announce the new affiliation with the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, 10.20.

OHIO
National Outreach Manager Jennifer Brundage will give comments at the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology groundbreaking, dedication and dinner event in Akron, 10.22.

American Art Museum curator Virginia Mecklenburg will present a talk on Seeing America with Norman Rockwell at the Springfield Museum of Art in Springfield, 10.25.

COLORADO
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Smithsonian Science Education Center will collaborate on workshops on Building Awareness for Science Education in Denver, 10.24-25.

DELAWARE
National Museum of American History curator Katherine Ott will attend and offer commentary at the Making of Modern Disability conference at the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, 10.28.

 

 

August 24, 2015

Is this exhibit on your event horizon?

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — Jennifer Brundage @ 2:44 am

The exhibition Black Holes: Space Warps & Time Twists pulls visitors in to the modern search for real black holes—the most mysterious and powerful objects in the universe.

A view from the Black Holes exhibition.

A view from the Black Holes exhibition.

Developed by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, this 2,500 square-foot exhibition consists of 13 interactive components that captivate audiences and increase their understanding of core ideas in physical science, including gravity and light, the tools and techniques of astronomers, and the nature of theory and evidence in science. Visitors are able to:
• Collect and record their discoveries into a personal web journal
• Take an immersive interactive journey to the giant black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy
• Explore gravity and the effects of unseen forces
• Collect and weigh evidence for black holes.

Evaluations of this NSF and NASA-sponsored exhibition document strong visitor engagement and significant gains in visitor interest and knowledge about black holes and how they are studied.

Smithsonian Affiliates are eligible for a significant discount on the cost of renting this exhibition from ASTC this fall, plus free program materials and training for host-site educators from scientists and educators at Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

For more information, contact Mary Dussault at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory at 617.496.7962 or mdussault@cfa.harvard.edu

Also visit these websites:
ASTC description of Black Holes
BlackHolesExhibit.Org (Exhibition Website)

November 25, 2014

Playing in New England

#FindingNEMA - the Boston Terrier mascot for the conference.

#FindingNEMA – the adorable Boston Terrier mascot for the conference.

The New England Museum Association conference is one of my favorite events of the year.  It always takes place in November – when the air is crisp and Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  What could be a better time to visit New England?

This year’s conference took place in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was the biggest to date with about 1100 participants.  Even with that number, the conference feels intimate, and I was so delighted to run into so many Affiliate colleagues during the week.  The theme of this year’s conference was Health and Wellness – so appropriate as museums play such a critical role in the health of their communities.

The keynote panel set the tone for the week.  The panel brought together three local museum directors and two physicians, an interesting mashup that revealed all the ways that museums heal people and communities.  They talked about museums being among the most trusted community resources, and places of respite and beauty, which is why people tend to flock to cultural institutions in times of crisis.  The doctors for example, discussed the importance of careful looking when making a diagnosis – a skill they teach in part by taking students to museums.  What a great discussion.

Looking through a 19th century telescope at SAO.

A colleague from the Abbe Museum looks through “the Great Refractor” telescope at SAO.

IMG_4661

Looking directly at the Sun.. or live images of it anyway, at SAO.

A few Affiliate colleagues and I got an opportunity to hang out at an amazing research center near the hotel, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory [SAO].  There, a Smithsonian educator showed us the Great Refractor, built in 1847 and once the largest telescope in the United States.  We all got the chance to try out the unique seat designed for looking through the telescope, an elegant 19th century solution.  From the old to the new, we then visited SAO’s state-of-the art control room for studying the Sun, and “saw” it at several different temperature iterations in close to real time.  It was beautiful and flaring in a way we’d never seen before.

Conference attendees also had the great fortune to visit the USS Constitution Museum for an evening reception.  The Museum, an Affiliate since 2011, is a trailblazer in terms of research into family learning. They have already published the Family Learning Forum website  based on research and testing on engaging exhibition techniques.  The Museum is now turning its attention to programming with the same vigor, and funds from an IMLS National Leadership Grant.  One

Which role would you play?  Learning the importance of teamwork at the USS Constitution Museum.

Which role would you play? Learning the importance of teamwork at the USS Constitution Museum.

of the activities under testing asks visitors to be part of a 4-person team required to fire cannons from the USS Constitution ship, a much more difficult process than I imagined.  With a blue tarp as the ocean and a print of an enemy ship on the other side, my team fired an “alka seltzer cannon” and learned about the teamwork required to be successful in those conditions.  The Museum staff is refining a body of knowledge about family learning and best practices that will ultimately and undoubtedly benefit the entire museum field.

On the last day of the conference, I was honored to speak in a session with colleagues from our other New England Affiliates, Mystic Seaport and Plimoth Plantation.  Titled, It CAN be all Fun and Games, we looked at Affiliate examples of incorporating games and physical activity into museum interpretation.  The best part was that the directors of interpretation and education from Mystic and Plimoth brought actual games that they play on their 17th and 19th century living history sites, like skittles, Wampanoag football, stoolball, stilts, hoop games, harpoon throwing, marbles and even stilts.  I was a little anxious that audience members might not want to “play” on the last day of the conference.. but I was wrong.  It reminded me of an important lesson – adults also want to play and have fun like kids do.  Give them an opportunity – at a conference or at a museum – and they will literally run with it.

This game from 17th century Plimoth is harder than it seems!

This game from 17th century Plimoth is harder than it seems!

I attended so many useful sessions and heard so many great ideas.  Here’s a quick roundup of the highlights:

•    Think socially responsible or responsive programming might introduce mission creep at your museum?  But what if your mission wandered into a place that made you more relevant to your community?

•    Think it’s hard to engage millennials (ages 21-40)?  Think again.  They are visiting cultural institutions in droves, and there are about 80 million of them in America right now.  Don’t know how?  It’s easy.  Ask them.  And then empower them to create the programming they want to attend at your museum themselves.  For a great example, check out the Portland Museum of Art’s Contemporaries group.

•    Do your public spaces achieve the magic power of 10?  That is, can people find 10 things to do in your plazas, courtyards, front steps, etc.? (eat, people watch, see a performance, access wifi, meet friends, etc.)  For ideas, check out the Peabody Essex Museum.

•    Attending a conference is a great opportunity for a networking game. It’s super fun when it’s easy and for example, on your cell phone.  The one we played at NEMA had us asking questions of each other like “have you ever lived abroad?” and snapping photos for extra points.  Thanks Museum Trek.

Given the breadth, depth and richness of the conversations I attended last week, it’s abundantly clear that the museum community in New England is very healthy, and helping to make their communities amazing places to live.  A big thanks to the small but mighty staff at the New England Museum Association for bringing us together and expertly facilitating such enriching dialogue.  And Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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 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!

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.

November 2, 2012

the Smithsonian in Miami Science Museum’s neighborhood

Special thanks to Lindsay Bartholomew, Science Curator at the Miami Science Museum, for allowing us to repost these amazing blogs.

With 175 Smithsonian Affiliates in 40 states, Panama and Puerto Rico, there is always an opportunity for people to engage with the Smithsonian in their own communities. Here’s an example of one Affiliate’s recent collaborations with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, National Museum of American History, and Smithsonian Magazine. Are you an Affiliate interested in guest blogging or seeing your collaborations posted here? Contact Elizabeth Bugbee for more information.

Smithsonian Affiliations- Opportunities Galore!
The Smithsonian is a name recognized all over the world. Internationally, if people know one museum in the US, it’s most likely the Smithsonian. But through Smithsonian Affiliations, museums all over the country can partner in efforts to share science, art, and history with everyone. The Miami Science Museum is a proud Affiliate member, and recently has taken advantage of several unique opportunities made available by the Smithsonian. Read more…

Students filled the Miami Science Museum theater for the town hall meeting to talk to local environmental experts for the National Youth Summit: Dust Bowl. Photo credit- Miami Science Museum.

The Dust Bowl – Man and Nature, Cause and Effect
The Miami Science Museum is one of only 10 museums nationwide that was selected to participate in the Smithsonian’s National Youth Summit on October 17th.  The focus of this summit was contemporary environmental issues and the legacy (as well as lessons learned) from the Dust Bowl period in the 1930s. During this time, the boom of wheat farming (sometimes called the “great plow-up”) brought on a 10 year drought, showing that human activities can cause large scale environmental effects. Students from around the country participated in the summit via video/web conferencing, and had the opportunity to view clips from Ken Burns’ recently released “The Dust Bowl” documentary. They discussed what they learned from the Dust Bowl and shared ideas on how they can be protectors of their environments.  The overarching theme of the event was to explore how to better understand the complexity of environmental issues and to learn what people can do today to avoid (or lessen) other environmental crises. Read more…

Baby’s First Museum
It’s not something normally recounted in baby albums, but as you read this story, you may start to wonder … “Why not?” You always hear about baby’s first words, first steps, first laugh – but what about baby’s first museum? Recently the Museum received a lovely email from a family who brought their 3 month old son to our Museum, on a free-admission day sponsored by Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day Live. They were not sure how much he would even react to the trip. But as it turns out, baby loved the Museum just as much as mommy did when she came here as a child. This is the kind of story that makes our work at the Museum all the more worthwhile…Read more…

Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos
We’ve all seen the amazing images from the Hubble Space Telescope. The details in the colors and swirling patterns are not just beautiful – they also tell a story about what is happening there. Is that cloud of gas and dust a nursery for newborn stars? Are these massive bubbles of gas that have exploded from a supernova? And perhaps most importantly, who creates these images, and how? Read more…  And read even more in the YCCC blog series from Pinhead Institute, an Affiliate in Telluride, Colo., here.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

 

 

October 15, 2012

An “Out of this World” Experience

Special thanks to Sonchia Jilek, Executive Director, The Pinhead Institute, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Telluride, Colorado, for this guest post. Part of our Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos blog series. Seriously Amazing! 

This summer, I had the opportunity to lead one of our most memorable programs, Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos program, thanks to a grant from the Smithsonian Youth Access fund.

Courtesy Pinhead Institute.

The grant funded Pinhead’s first “Astrophotography Camp” to help provide underserved middle-school youth access to the resources of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory through the MicroObservatory Telescope Network. As a Smithsonian Affiliate, the first in Colorado, the Pinhead Institute was honored to receive this special grant.

I decided to host this program in our outreach area in Naturita, Colorado. Naturita is a former uranium mining community located approximately 20 miles east of the Colorado-Utah border. With the Uranium Mill closing back in the 1980s, the town now supports a community of only 600 people. Located within this small town is an excellent library that hosts the majority of events for kids and adults. The heart of this town is the Naturita Public Library, named the Best Small Library in America in 2011 by the Library Journal.

The Naturita Public Library played host for our first “Astrophotography Camp.” This camp ran three hours a day for one week in August. Twelve students attended for free, thanks to the funding from the Smithsonian. The size was only limited based on the number of available computers at the library. The students came in with little knowledge of the solar system, galaxies, or the greater universe. They left empowered and engaged by the enormity of space.

Our first day consisted of learning all about telescopes and working on vocabulary. The kids learned the difference between a planet and a nebula and learned how a telescope “sees” differently than a human eye. The curriculum for this first day of our camp was found through the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophotophysics MicroObservatory website. Through online webinars with Mary Dussault and Erin Braswell from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, I felt comfortable using the curriculum and leading this first part of our camp on my own.

Courtesy Pinhead Institute.

Over the next few days of the camp students learned to control the robotic telescopes through the online MicroObservatory to take images of galaxies, planets, nebulas, and the moon. Many of these students had never worked on computers. So, beyond learning about our universe, these students had the opportunity to learn computing skills. The images students selected from the MicroObservatory site were emailed to the students, which they manipulated using special software used by professional astronomers to create beautiful space-based art projects.

Our final day consisted of the students creating their poster projects to exhibit selected telescope images. The girls used a lot of glitter and sparkles to help display their images of the moon and various nebulas. The boys’ posters included references to sport heroes alongside their galaxies and planets.

The poster exhibition went on display at the Naturita Library and in late August. Parents joined their kids as they presented their posters and described what they learned and how they processed their images. It was a great event, reflective of this amazing community, and showcased the student’s passion for sharing what they had learned.

We work with communities surrounding Telluride in Southwestern Colorado. Pinhead aims to teach students of all ages about the wonders of science. We host a number of great programs that teach students about how science is fun, creative, and a part of their daily lives. Our outreach extends from Telluride to Ridgway, to Ouray, to Norwood, and to Naturita, reaching more than 5,000 kids each year, providing thousands of hours of science enrichment opportunities in our remote part of Colorado.

Naturita is a special community, and is one of our favorite places to host our programs. We are always looking for new programs to offer out in this rural town. The Colorful Cosmos program was the perfect fit not only for Pinhead’s capacity, but also the perfect fit for the students in Naturita. Despite our isolated location, I was able to learn everything I needed to know remotely. All of the resources provided through the Smithsonian and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics exceeded my expectations and made this camp an incredible learning experience with only a few hiccups. We are planning on extending the astrophotography camp to our local communities in the very near future.

Courtesy Pinhead Institute.

February 28, 2012

Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos Program

Teach kids astronomy by controlling real telescopes over the internet, and create images like these!

Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos Program is a special opportunity for 25 Affiliates from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) and Smithsonian Affiliations. Qualified Affiliates that successfully complete the online professional development program to facilitate the use of the MicroObservatory online telescope system will be awarded $1500 for implementation of Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos Program. Funding has been provided by the Smithsonian Youth Access Grant Fund.   

  • Are you an Affiliate educator interested in sharing the art and science of astrophotography with youth in your community?   
  • Does your organization have an informal education program, partnerships with area community centers or middle schools and interest in providing enrichment activities for students based on STEM? 
  • Can your museum or organization implement a workshop for middle school students, underserved by science and technology educational programs, ages 12 – 18   (minimum of 10 or more students) and facilitate an 8 – 20 hour program? 
  • Would you like to learn how to organize and promote an exhibition of youth-created astronomy photographs? 

For more information on the program, join us for a Teleconference to discuss implementing Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos Program on Tuesday, March 6, 2012, at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. 

Dial In:  1-877-860-3058
Participant Pass code:  607773
Call in and learn about participating in this program before registration goes live.  

Talk to SAO astronomy educators Mary Dussault and Erin Braswell. Smithsonian Affiliations representatives Christina Di Meglio Lopez and Caroline Mah will also be available to answer questions.

Follow the MicroObservatory’s Twitter feed; Facebook page; and Flickr photostream.

Telescopes "Ben" and "Cecilia" at the Whipple Observatory in Amado, AZ. Along with "Annie," located on the roof at SAO, they are three in a network of telescopes, controllable over the internet, helping students learn more about astronomy. Photo Credit: Dan Brocious/SAO.

 

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