March 22, 2015

Affiliates in the news!

Congrats to these Affiliates making news!  Each month we highlight Affiliate-Smithsonian and Affiliate-Affiliate collaborations making headlines. If you have a clipping highlighting a collaboration with the Smithsonian or with a fellow Affiliate you’d like to have considered for the Affiliate blog, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee.

Dome at the Arab American National Museum. Courtesy of AANM.

Dome at the Arab American National Museum. Courtesy of AANM.

Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI)
Dearborn’s Arab American Museum celebrates 10 years of national significance
… the preeminent museum dedicated to documenting and preserving the Arab American story is located in Dearborn. The Arab American National Museum (AANM), the only Smithsonian Affiliate in Southeast Michigan, will celebrate its ten year anniversary this May. As part of the milestone, the museum will roll out a year-long series of events and renovations. “These are huge institutions that tell the American narrative and we’re always striving to include the Arab American story as part of this larger discussion,” says Akmon. “We’re based in Dearborn, but we’re a national institution.”

Birthplace of Country Music Museum (Bristol, TN/VA)
Smithsonian exhibit offers wide range of music styles at BCMM
Visitors to a new exhibit at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum can play albums on a record player or pick up the spoons, a washboard, strum a guitar or try their hand at the banjo or fiddle. New Harmonies, a Smithsonian exhibit that includes a wide range of American music styles, opened Wednesday and will appear there for the next six months.

Interactive Smithsonian exhibit at Country Music Museum
This should be music to your ears! Bristol’s Birthplace of Country Music Museum is showing off an exhibit that used to belong to the Smithsonian in Washington.

New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music
New Harmonies was once part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. Carol Harsh, director of Museums on Main Street, was instrumental in facilitating the transfer of the exhibit to the BCMM. “The exhibit has found a permanent home at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum,” said Harsh. “We feel it was a perfect fit.”

Photograph of newly built Biomuseo biodiversity museum in Panama City, Panama. Photo by: Fernando Aldo, September, 2014.

Photograph of newly built Biomuseo biodiversity museum in Panama City, Panama. Photo by: Fernando Aldo, September, 2014.

Biomuseo (Panama City, Panama)
Meet Biomuseo: the world’s first biodiversity museum
George Angehr, the Curator of Exhibits at Biomuseo and an ornithologist from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, played an integral role in developing the scientific content found in the eight exhibitions in the museum. He said Panama’s unique position made it the natural choice for the world’s first biodiversity museum…. In a 2015 interview with mongabay.com, Angehr talked about what visitors can expect when visiting Biomuseo and how the new museum could raise biodiversity awareness and further conservation efforts in Panama and beyond.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, NC)
Before There Were Crocodiles, There Was the “Carolina Butcher”
But this newfound ancestor of the modern croc had anything but a docile temperament, according to a study by paleontologists at North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. At about 231 million years old, the newly described species offers fresh insight into crocodile evolution and behavior in the days before the reign of the dinosaurs.

Audubon program to focus on ‘E-mammal’ project
The speaker will be Megan Baker-Whatton, who is the citizen science coordinator of the eMammal project at the Smithsonian Institution’s Conservation Biology Institute…She will provide an overview of the e-Mammal project, which links citizen volunteers with researchers at the Smithsonian Institution and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences to document mammals throughout the mid-Atlantic region, and soon, the entire country.

Smithsonian Science How?: Arthropod Adaptations (VIDEO)
The Smithsonian Institution selected the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences as a partner for “Smithsonian Science How?” a new program to deliver real-world science directly into classrooms through free, interactive live webcasts and classroom resources. …This presentation, “Arthropod Adaptations,” featuring Bill Reynolds, Curator, Coordinator, & Containment Director of the Arthropod Zoo, originally aired March 13, 2014. It was followed by “Inside the Insect Zoo” featuring Dan Babbitt, manager of the O. Orkin Insect Zoo and Butterfly Pavilion at the National Museum of Natural History. 

Watch live streaming video from naturalsciences at livestream.com

Smithsonian Science How?: Lemurs  (VIDEO)
“How to Eat Like a Lemur” with Chris Smith, education specialist at Duke Lemur Center, is the second presentation in the series. The Smithsonian’s Briana Pobiner will follow with “Early Human Diets” at 11am.

Heritage Farm Museum and Village (Huntington, WV)
Heritage Farm linked to Smithsonian
Heritage Farm Museum and Village has achieved a new level of recognition and entered a new realm of possibilities. It’s been named West Virginia’s first Smithsonian Institution Affiliate, a distinction that will link Heritage Farm with the many resources and learning opportunities available through the Smithsonian, said Audy Perry, the new executive director of the Heritage Farm Foundation.

Heritage Farm adds Smithsonian connection
Being accepted as part of the Smithsonian network adds an impressive “seal of approval” for the museum project begun by Henriella and the late Mike Perry almost 20 years ago. As their son Audy Perry noted last week, it also marks a “new beginning” for Heritage Farm and a chance to share the Appalachian pioneer story more broadly and more richly than ever before.

A student plays at the new Spark!Lab. Feidt/APRN

A student plays at the new Spark!Lab. Feidt/APRN

Anchorage Museum (Anchorage, AK)
New Anchorage Museum “lab” sparks innovation
“This is not just banging things that’s going on here,” says Arthur Molella, the director of the Lemelson Center at the Smithsonian, which created the Spark!Lab. “This is all done with a purpose. Cause some of the same energies that are happening here — essentially this curiosity, a disciplined curiosity begins here and carries on through the rest of your life.” Molella says that curiosity and creativity lead to innovation and invention. That’s why his center worked with educators to create the Spark!Lab. They’re helping museums around the United States set up their own localized versions. The Anchorage version, the sixth in the country, will soon include activities focused on the innovation required to live in the Arctic.

FORD MOTOR COMPANY FUND, SMITHSONIAN BRING SPARK!LAB TO ANCHORAGE, OPENING THE DOORS TO INNOVATION AND INVENTION
Spark!Lab, the hands-on invention experience from the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, is opening its newest location at the Anchorage Museum in Alaska. With the support of Ford Motor Company Fund, Spark!Lab will engage children and families in the invention process through science experiments, games, activities and special programs, such as SparkNite, a look at the innovation and inventions of Alaska’s history and Arctic environment.

New Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Director, Melissa Chiu, at the Frost Art Museum. Photography by Rodrigo Gaya

New Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Director, Melissa Chiu, at the Frost Art Museum. Photography by Rodrigo Gaya

Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University (Miami, FL)
“Making A Museum in the 21st Century” with Melissa Chiu at Frost Art Museum FIU
The Steven and Dorothea Green Critics’ Lecture Series launched its 34th season at Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU with guest-lecturer Melissa Chiu’s presentation of “Making A Museum in the 21st Century.” Dr. Chiu is the new director of the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C

The Mexican Museum (San Francisco, CA)
The Mexican Museum Hires Cayetana S. Gomez as President and Chief Executive Officer
“We are extremely pleased to have Cayetana join our team,” said Andrew M. Kluger, Chairman of The Mexican Museum Board of Trustees. “Along with her unparalleled communication skills and a vast network of professional relationships throughout the United States and Mexico, she has also held significant leadership positions for some of Mexico’s most important art, culture, and media institutions.”

Mexican Museum Set To House Over 18,000 Pieces Of Art In San Francisco Gets Lease Approved
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a lease in the city’s Yerba Buena neighborhood for The Mexican Museum, expected to house more than 18,000 pieces of art and artifacts from across the Americas.

Mid-America Science Museum (Hot Springs, AR)
Mid-America Science Museum reopens with new look, unique exhibits
It’s a brand new day at the Mid-America Science Museum. Closed since Aug. 11 for renovations, the museum opened its doors Saturday, offering more than 60 exhibits, displays and experiment stations to visitors of all ages.

The exhibition presents paintings, arms and armour and modern work of art. Lakhpreet Kaur/HT

The exhibition presents paintings, arms and armour and modern work of art. Lakhpreet Kaur/HT

UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures (San Antonio, Texas)
Sikh artwork on display at Texas University
Developed by Smithsonian Institution and sponsored by the Sikh Heritage Foundation, the exhibition presents paintings; arms and armour; traditional textiles and dress; musical instruments; jewellery; sacred texts; and modern works of art, apart from a scale model of the Golden Temple. “The bulk of the exhibit originated at the Smithsonian Institution, with whom we’re an affiliate.

Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science (Miami, Florida)
Miami Eyes Huge Tourist Draw With $300M Museum
“The museum has always been a community-led initiative to excite and educate greater Miami and its global visitors. It will enrich the lives of south Floridians and visitors by offering in-depth learning experiences and bring the best global resources to south Florida, creating a link between the education, tourism and business communities.”

HistoryMiami (Miami, Florida)
Keeper of the Past
HistoryMiami has a lot of history. Previously known as the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, this Smithsonian-affiliated museum, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is the oldest nonreligious cultural institution in Miami-Dade County. In fact, the museum is now observing its 75th anniversary, and a big announcement is expected during the museum’s annual membership meeting on April 23.

Flushing Town Hall (Flushing, New York)
Flushing Town Hall meets $35,000 campaign challenge
Flushing Town Hall has met its campaign goal of raising $35,000 to match funding from an anonymous donor ahead of its Feb. 28 deadline. Since September, more than 300 people made contributions by mail or online or dropped off donations. By Feb. 10, the organization had raised more than $41,000.

Kenosha Public Museum (Kenosha, Wisconsin)
FREE space exhibit, Kenosha Family Fun, Wisconsin tourist attraction, Stunning Satellite Images
Earth from Space illustrates how satellite imagery is gathered and used to expand mankind’s understanding of life on Earth. It also explores the remote-sensing technology used to gather the images and describes the individual satellites whose images are on display. Brought to you courtesy of the United States Geological Survey and the Smithsonian Institution.

Kenosha Public Museum Hosts Smithsonian Earth from Space Exhibition
The Earth From Space exhibit is on display at the Kenosha Public Museum now through June 21, 2015. Stunning satellite images and artifacts reveal our dynamic, ever-changing planet.

Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (Spokane, Washington)
[Spokane Public Radio spot] From the Studio: The art of Joe Feddersen
Cecile Ganteaume, Curator, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), Washington, DC and Multi-Media Artist and Colville Confederated Tribal Member Joe Feddersen spoke with Verne Windham on Friday morning about the Museum of Arts and Culture’s three-days of special programs focusing on American Indian Basketry.

Native Film Fest logo.

Native Film Fest logo.

Agua Caliente Cultural Museum (Palm Springs, California)
NativeFest coming of age with mature content
The festival’s mission, Hammond said, is to explore indigenous issues, such as the exploitation of Native land and sovereignty, and showcase indigenous filmmakers from around the world.

Native FilmFest: a celebration of diversity
When you have a guest programmer from the Smithsonian Institution and one of the featured films is produced by the Sundance Institute, those strategic alliances give the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum’s 14th Annual Native FilmFest “street cred” that would be the envy of many other film festivals around the country.

Georgia Aquarium (Atlanta, GA); Cincinnati Museum Center (Cincinnati, OH); St. Augustine, FL (St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum)
Top US family vacation destinations named
The best family-friendly vacation spots in the US as chosen by 2,000 families from across the country. Animal attractions, science museums, and tourist towns resonated with families this year.

U.S. Space & Rocket Center (Huntsville, AL)
Space & Rocket Center celebrates 45 years with cake & Biergarten
In 1968, the state’s citizens voted to finance construction of the Center, which houses the National Historic Landmark Saturn V Moon Rocket, the Apollo 16 Command Module, the Pathfinder space shuttle display and many other exhibits. The Center is a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum and is the Official Visitor Center for Marshall Space Flight Center.

Vintage Photos celebrate the U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s 45 years
Enjoy a gallery of vintage historical photos from the U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s 45 years of educating America and the world about the NASA and the U.S. Space program. The photos begin with the groundbreaking for the Alabama Space & Rocket Center and include visits by astronauts and celebrities to the center.

Sullivan Museum and History Center (Northfield, VT)
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum curator to speak at Norwich
Norwich University’s Sullivan Museum and History Center, Vermont’s only Smithsonian Affiliate, will host Dr. Tom Crouch, Senior Curator of Aeronautics at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum for a lunch-and-learn on Wednesday, April 8 at noon in Milano Ballroom, located in Roberts Hall.

October 9, 2014

Road Report: Houston, We Have Affiliate Liftoff!

Road Report- Harold, October 8, 2014

Houston, we have liftoff!

The first thing you see when you pull into the parking lot of Space Center Houston is a full-scale space shuttle replica perched upon a NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.  It’s a neck-stretching sight, and an awesome introduction to the many wonders of our new Smithsonian Affiliate.

Space shuttle replica atop a NASA shuttle carrier

Space shuttle replica atop a NASA shuttle carrier

Opened in 1992, Space Center Houston boggles your brain, tugs at your heart, and sparks your imagination at every turn – it’s the story of spaceflight under one (very large) roof, with many more roofs (and displays) next door at the Johnson Space Center.

Richard Allen, Chief Executive Officer, Space Center Houston, in front of Mercury Space Capsule on loan from the National Air and Space Museum.

Richard Allen, Chief Executive Officer, Space Center Houston, in front of Mercury Space Capsule on loan from the National Air and Space Museum.

Richard Allen, Space Center Houston chief executive officer, and his hard working staff have created a diverse array of engaging experiences – large-format film theaters, interactive spaces for children of all ages, demonstration stages led by knowledgeable and enthusiastic interpreters, and dramatically lit exhibitions that tell the inspiring history of the U.S. space program –  its triumphs, tragedies, and enduring influence on our dreams of the future.

Mars Rover prototype on loan from NASM.

Mars Rover prototype on loan from NASM.

Of course, it was a pleasure to see so many artifacts on loan from our National Air and Space Museum (NASM), employed to give an accurate and detailed rendering of the history of spaceflight – command modules like the “Faith 7” Mercury capsule, Gemini 5 and Apollo 17, spacesuits worn by astronauts Michael Collins, Pete Conrad and “Wally” Schirra, a walkthrough Skylab, and a Mars rover prototype – to name just a few.  If you take the tour of the Johnson Space Center, you’ll also see a lovingly restored Saturn V Rocket, also on loan from NASM, displayed horizontally in a building nearly 400 feet long.  The thought of sitting atop this engineering marvel, waiting to be propelled to the moon, sends shivers down your spine.

Richard Allen and Meg Naumann, Director of Development, in front of the Saturn V rocket, also on loan from NASM.

Richard Allen and Meg Naumann, Director of Development, in front of the Saturn V rocket, also on loan from NASM.

There’s never enough time to see everything going on at an Affiliate museum or to meet all of the incredible folks who make it happen –  staff, volunteers, and supporters – but after a day-and-a half in San Antonio, at The Witte Museum and the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, and six hours at Space Center Houston, I came away with the distinct impression that “The Lone Star State” has a lot more than one star in its firmament.  We are honored that so many Texas luminaries populate our galaxy of Smithsonian Affiliates.

Catch up on Harold’s Witte Museum blog here.

October 8, 2014

road report: Harold in San Antonio

I had the pleasure of announcing our new Affiliation with The Witte Museum in San Antonio on October 7, 2014.  By coincidence The Witte was also celebrating its 88th birthday, so it was a double pleasure.  Marise McDermott, President and CEO presided over the announcement ceremony which included San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor and City Council member Keith Toney.  Kind words were spread all around; as always I was humbled and honored to represent the Smithsonian.

San Antonio River runs by the Witte Museum, creating a 13 mile trail from Breckenridge Park to downtown.

San Antonio River runs by the Witte Museum, creating a 13 mile trail from Breckenridge Park to downtown.

I met many wonderful people at the Witte and discovered interesting connections between the Witte and the Smithsonian, especially in the field of paleontology and archaeology.  Dinosaurs once ruled south Texas, and Witte Museum Curator of Paleontology and Geology, Thomas Adams, Ph.D., is literally hot on their trail – uncovering dino tracks and other significant fossil remains.  Harry Shafer, Ph.D, Witte Museum Curator of Archeology, Professor Emeritus at Texas A&M University,  has been studying rock art along the lower Pecos River, among the most sophisticated finds in North America.

San Antonio's Chili Queens are alive and well (and widely appreciated) at the Witte Museum.

San Antonio’s Chili Queens are alive and well (and widely appreciated) at the Witte Museum.

The Smithsonian has many long-term interests in San Antonio.  The Smithsonian American Art Museum includes works by artists, Jesse Trevino and Mel Casas; Smithsonian Folkways documents the musical heritage of San Antonio, from legendary corrido singer Lydia Mendoza to Grammy Award winning Los Texmaniacs; and the Smithsonian Magazine recently paid tribute to San Antonio’s fabulous Chili Queens, 19th century food entrepreneurs who helped make the taco the world’s favorite meal.

The new South Texas Heritage Center at the Witte Museum -- a taste of more to come.

The new South Texas Heritage Center at the Witte Museum — a taste of more to come.

There’s a lot going on at the Witte on which to build our partnership and more to come when the museum completes Phase II of its grand expansion project in 2017.

Angelica Docog and Aaron Parks of the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, our other Affiliate in San Antonio, joined the festivities and then brought me back to see an amazing exhibit on Texas Quilts on display in their facility in Hemisphere Park.  We talked about several new exhibits they are planning to install including one on Sikh history and culture from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Angelica filled me in on the success of their Smithsonian Youth Access Grant, Young Historians/Living Histories and how it helped the Institute build bridges to San Antonio’s Korean community.

What would a Texas be without a long-horned steer?  This might be one of the longest long-horns.

What would a Texas be without a long-horned steer? This might be one of the longest long-horns.

One cannot visit San Antonio without feeling a sense of vibrancy – a growing city with a strong economy, a major convention and tourist destination, a proud history and a bright future.  How wonderful to see our Affiliate colleagues leading the charge.

Tomorrow, I get to announce another new Affiliate – Space Center Houston.  It’s a good week for lifting off!

 

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