March 28, 2016

Affiliates in the news: April edition

Congrats to these Affiliates making news!  If you have a clipping that highlights a collaboration with the Smithsonian or with a fellow Affiliate, or a clipping that demonstrates leadership in education, innovation, and arts/culture/history/science you’d like to have considered for the Affiliate blog, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee.

Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts (Alta Loma, CA)
Jimmy Carter on Sam Maloof: ‘He was the best woodworker that ever lived’ (VIDEO)

South Dakota State Historical Society (Pierre, SD)
SD Food Heritage Is Theme For Annual History Conference
Friday’s keynote speaker is Susan Evans McClure, director of Smithsonian Food History Programs at the National Museum of American History, discussing “Food at the Nation’s History Museum.” McClure oversees the creation, planning and production of programs that explore the complexity of American history through our experiences with food and agriculture.

Museum of American Finance (New York, NY)151119_1750_barnett
Gold Starring at Museum of American Finance
It’s only fitting that the Museum of American Finance (MOAF), an affiliate of the Smithsonian Museum system located in New York City, would turn its attention to gold.

DuSable Museum of African American History (Chicago, IL)
DuSable Museum partners with the Smithsonian

Chicago’s DuSable Museum granted Smithsonian Affiliation
The museum, established in 1961, becomes the second cultural institution in Chicago to be granted the prestigious affiliation (the Adler Planetarium is the other).

The DuSable Museum of African American History Obtains Smithsonian Affiliation Status
“With Affiliate status, the DuSable will bring the Smithsonian to the community and the DuSable to the world,” said DuSable President and CEO Perri Irmer. “The partnership will also expose the museum’s Masterworks Collection to a broader audience by giving the work and the artists international exposure.”

Pinhead Institute (Telluride, CO)
Museum Day Live! at Pinhead
“I want them to see how much they can learn from it,” she said. “They are in control of their future. … Kids can come alive and realize they can accomplish something.” Free Museum Day Live! is funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant through the Smithsonian. Holbrooke said it’s the first time Pinhead has participated in Museum Day Live!

The Witte Museum (San Antonio, TX)
VIDEO- Witte Museum exhibit explores how horses transformed Texas

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Museum of Design Atlanta (Atlanta, GA)
Astrophotography Afterschool Program
MODA is excited to be joining the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics program, Youth Capturing the Colorful Cosmos, to bring astrophysics and scientific visualization skills to young astronomers. Students will have access to telescopes and images as they design their own experiments.

The Rockwell Museum (Corning, NY)
Storytellers aid Rockwell’s outreach to women of color
The museum will join hundreds of other cultural institutions across the country as the Smithsonian celebrates a nationwide campaign to reach women and girls in underserved communities.

clippings2Idaho Museum of Natural History (Pocatello, ID)
Largest snake in the world comes to ISU (VIDEO)
“We couldn’t be more happy to finally bring this snake to Idaho,” said Leif Tapanila, the museum director.

Replica of world’s largest snake at ISU
The IMNH hosted family friendly activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to coincide with the opening of the new exhibit “Titanoboa: Monster Snake,” a Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service exhibit.

World’s largest snake slithers into East Idaho
The exhibit also includes 3D animation of Titanoboa created by the Idaho Virtualization Lab (IVL). In addition, guests will get the opportunity to handle a 3D printed Titanoboa backbone and compare it to the backbone of a Green anaconda, the heaviest snake species alive today.

Largest snake in history to open at Idaho Museum of Natural History
On March 19, the IMNH will host family friendly activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to coincide with the opening of the new exhibit “Titanoboa: Monster Snake,” a Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service exhibit. Activities will include bubble snakes, snake mobiles, sleeping bag snake races and cold blooded activities. Activities are free in the museum’s Discovery Room, while Titanoboa can be seen in the gallery with payment of admission.

New Mexico Museum of Space History (Alamagordo, NM)
NASA’s First Female Hispanic Flight Director, El Paso Native, to Speak at Museum
For Museum Day LIVE!, the museum will present a speaker series featuring women in STEM careers. Headlining the series will be Ginger Kerrick, a native of El Paso, graduate of Hanks High School and Texas Tech where she holds a Masters degree in physics. Kerrick began working for NASA as an intern in 1991 and in 2005 became  NASA’s first Hispanic female flight director.

The TechGYRLS at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.

The TechGYRLS at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.

Birthplace of Country Music Museum (Bristol, TN/VA)
Birthplace of Country Music Museum Hosts Museum Day Live! March 12
“This partnership is a great way to share the museum with young girls in our local community and to give them the opportunity to really experience the radio station – and get a chance to make their voices heard!” says Rodgers. “It’s been wonderful to watch the TechGyrls develop their own program, one that we feel will inspire other girls too.”

Museum Center at 5ive Points (Cleveland, TN)
Cleveland’s Museum Center searching for new director
The Museum Center at Five Points will lose Hassan Najjar as its executive director today after a three-year tenure that has been credited with revitalizing the museum’s mission and lifeblood.

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
Toy exhibition at Heinz History Center offers fun and nostalgia
The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History has loaned two items: a 1950s-era Mr. Potato Head and a Digi-Comp 1, an early mechanical computer.

Mr. Potato Head and Friends on display at "Toys of the '50's, '60's and 70's," at the Heinz History Center.

Mr. Potato Head and Friends on display at “Toys of the ’50’s, ’60’s and 70’s,” at the Heinz History Center.

Museum Center at 5ive Points (Cleveland, TN)
Hassan Najjar resigns museum position
Najjar point outs that his was not a one-man-show. “Our remarkable staff and board of trustees deserve so much credit,” says Najjar. “We’ve set out on some pretty large projects in these past three years, and our team continued to work hard to realize each of them. This group of individuals fueled our success and I’m thankful for each of them.”

New Mexico Museum of Space History (Alamogordo, NM)
New Mexico Museum of Space History Celebrates 40 Years
The museum is celebrating its 40th anniversary with several signature events beginning onMarch 1. In recognition of the museum becoming a Smithsonian Affiliate in 2013, Governor Susana Martinez declared March 1 as “New Mexico Museum of Space History Day” and made it a free day at the museum for New Mexico residents. As part of the museum’s 40thAnniversary Celebration, the Tombaugh Theater will be offering “buy one, get one free” tickets all day.

Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, CA)
Museum of Latin American Art celebrates 20-year history
“It’s a great moment for the museum and for the community,” said Stuart Ashman, president and CEO of MOLAA. “ Some people don’t realize this museum has been here for 20 years and don’t recognize the importance of this museum.”

Agua Caliente Cultural Museum (Palm Springs, CA)
Agua Caliente Native FilmFest to be a free for all
The Native FilmFest has never been about ticket sales, says Agua Caliente Cultural Museum executive director Michael Hammond. It’s a tribal educational program. And now, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, the tribe isn’t going to make people pay for that education. Two Agua Caliente Cultural Museum board members have agreed to underwrite unlimited ticket sales to all six days of the festival starting Tuesday at the Camelot Theatres.

Agua Caliente Cultural Museum Brings Back Native FilmFest
Now in its fifteenth season, Native FilmFest presented by Agua Caliente Cultural Museum Tuesday, March 1 through Sunday, March 6 is one of the most highly regarded festivals of its kind ̶ showcasing the best in films by, about, and starring Native Americans and other Indigenous peoples. Guest Programmer Elizabeth Weatherford is Director and Founder of the Film and Video Center at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

Guest Programmer Elizabeth Weatherford & Executive Director Michael Hammond Ph.D.

Guest Programmer Elizabeth Weatherford & Executive Director Michael Hammond Ph.D.

Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West (Scottsdale, AZ)
Jewel of the Valley

Western Spirit: Scottdale’s Museum of the West rises as a top museum in the country
“They have a very strong commitment to education and they want to show the West in its great variety and diversity,” said Harold Closter, director of the Smithsonian Affiliations, part of the Smithsonian Institution. “This is just a wonderful museum. You can feel it as soon as you walk in the door.”

September 28, 2015

Kudos Affiliates! for October 2015

Affiliates continue to demonstrate significant impact, all over the country. Congratulations to all!

FUNDING

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced grants for 217 museum projects awarded through the highly competitive Museums for America and National Leadership Grants for Museums programs including the following Affiliates:

The San Diego Natural History Museum will improve the management and accessibility of data for more than 1.2 million specimens in its paleontology research collection by upgrading its current database to “Specify 6,” a database designed specifically for natural history collections.

The Denver Art Museum will develop a Latino artist-in-residence program to better reflect the full diversity of the community. The museum will create a series of one-month Latino artist residencies, bringing Latino artists of local, national, and international stature to the museum.

The Denver Art Museum will conduct a first-ever detailed conservation survey of 604 three-dimensional objects in its Architecture, Design, and Graphics collection. The project will advance institutional long-range goals for strengthening collections management by improving curatorial knowledge of the collection condition in anticipation of heightened exhibition, rotation, and program activity.

History Colorado seeks to improve the stewardship of a collection of 6,187 historic objects and more than 50,000 archaeological artifacts through relocation of the items to a new storage facility. Relocation to an 15 environmentally stable and readily accessible facility will allow History Colorado to more effectively preserve and manage its collections.

The Mystic Seaport Museum will improve the physical state of the 1908 steamboat, Sabino, a National Historic Landmark vessel and the last remaining wooden, coal-fired, operating steamboat in the United States.

The Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art will undertake two video projects to help visitors better understand the museum and earth science, and to provide an incentive for more school-driven visits. The museum plans to update its welcoming video, and a second video will focus on earth science with STEM-related material.

Conner Prairie Museum will implement a series of on-going maker programs using the tools, materials, and philosophy of the modern maker movement by drawing inspiration from the historic crafts and trades visitors experience at the museum.  

  • Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, ME) – Award Amount: $150,000;

The Abbe Museum will design, fabricate, and install a permanent exhibit showcasing the history and culture of Maine’s native Wabanaki people. The exhibit will include content, artifacts, images, and interactive elements informed by the museum’s interpretive framework, its Native Advisory Council, and Native advisors.

The USS Constitution Museum will create an online collections, research, and interpretive portal for educators and information seekers of all ages offering free and unlimited access to the museum’s nationally significant collection of manuscripts, rare books, artifacts, and artwork capturing the role of the Constitution during the War of 1812.

The Michigan State University Museum will preserve an important collection of rare and fragile barn models located for decades in substandard space, by rehousing them in the museum’s cultural collections resource center, a climate-controlled repository.

The Senator John Heinz History Center will develop, fabricate, and tour a traveling exhibit that will use life figures, modular panels, hands-on objects, cases with artifacts, oral histories, and video components to help audiences at small local museums explore how World War II transformed the lives of Pennsylvania residents.  

The Museum of History and Industry will launch a two-year project designed to engage participants, pre-K through adult learners, through a coordinated set of museum, classroom, and community experiences in exploring the region’s legacy of innovation, collaboration, experimentation, and perseverance skills.

The Wing Luke Asian Museum will expand and strengthen its guided neighborhood walking tours to provide opportunities for members of the Asian Pacific American community to share their stories, to stimulate the local economy by fostering partnerships with neighborhood businesses and organizations, and to promote the historic and cultural appeal of the Chinatown International District.

Madison Children’s Museum will model a creative approach to behavioral change encouraging increased physical activity by redesigning stairwells in its historic building and by producing related programming to counteract decreased activity and a rise in obesity among Wisconsin children. During the two-year initiative, the museum will produce three examples of stairwell transformation.

Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, CA) and Framingham State University (Framingham, MA) have been selected to receive a competitive Latino Americans: 500 Years of History grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. As two of 203 grant recipients selected from across the country, both will receive a cash grant of $3,000 to hold public programming — such as public film screenings, discussion groups, oral history initiatives, local history exhibitions, multi-media projects or performances — about Latino history and culture.

The Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, ME) has received a grant from Grants to Green Maine to provide an energy efficiency audit for the museum’s historic downtown location. The grant complements the museum’s Greening the Abbe Initiative and the near completion of the National Endowment for the Humanities funded projects that have helped reduce the Abbe’s carbon footprint and operating costs.

PNC’s Grow Up Great program has awarded a $30,000 grant to The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology (Newark, OH) to provide early childhood science education this coming school year. The programs will feature classroom instruction, field trips and family nights at the Works. New this year will be a teacher professional development day at the Works facilitated by an instructor from the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center.

The Witte Museum (San Antonio, TX) announced the beginning stages of construction for the H-E-B Lantern, the entrance to the New Witte and home to a Pterosaur, “Quetzy” through a generous donation of $2 million on behalf of H-E-B to the New Witte.


LEADERHIP AND STAFF CHANGES
 

Susan J. Weller, former executive director and curator at the J.F. Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota, has been named director of the University of Nebraska State Museum (Lincoln, NE). She succeeds Priscilla Grew, who has directed the museum since 2003.

Fundraising professional Karrie Zuccarello of Indianapolis has been named chief development officer at Conner Prairie (Fishers, IN). She joins the museum from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, where she was director of development since 2011.

The Denver Art Museum (Denver, Colorado) has named fashion and art historian and curator Florence Müller as its next Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art, Curator of Fashion.

 

 

May 27, 2015

Coming Up in Affiliateland in June 2015

Even though we’ll see many Affiliates in DC for the Affiliations National Conference, some will be home leading this great roster of events.

MASSACHUSETTS
Dr. Libby Haight O’Connell (Chief Historian, Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, History Channel and A+E Networks, and Alumnus of the Board of the National Museum of American History) presents The American Plate: A Culinary History in 100 Bites, a time-traveling dinner program at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, 6.4.

Attendees at the Jewel City Jamboree in Huntington, WV will hear Smithsonian Folkways recordings.

Attendees at the Jewel City Jamboree in Huntington, WV will hear Smithsonian Folkways recordings.

WEST VIRGINIA
The Heritage Farm Museum and Village will live stream Smithsonian Folkways recordings during its Jewel City Jamboree in Huntington, 6.6.

FLORIDA
The Wolfsonian at Florida International University opens SITES’ Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise exhibition in Miami, 6.12.

The Tampa Bay History Center opens SITES’ Patios, Pools, & the Invention of the American Backyard exhibition in Tampa, 6.20.

PENNSYLVANIA
A team of textile conservators from the National Museum of the American Indian will be touring and consulting with the U.S.  Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, 6.16-18.

CALIFORNIA
The Museums of Sonoma County opens SITES’ I Want the Wide American Earth exhibition in Santa Rosa, 6.20.

NATIONWIDE
Twelve Affiliates will welcome interns from the Smithsonian Latino Center’s Young Ambassadors Program from June 29-July 31.  Thank you to the Adler Planetarium (Chicago, IL); California Science Center (Los Angeles,  CA); Chabot Space and Science Center (Oakland, CA); Fort Worth Museum of Science and History (Fort Worth, TX); History Colorado (Denver, CO); Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (San Juan, PR); Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, CA); Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix, AZ); Museum of Flight (Seattle, WA); and the Witte Museum (San Antonio, TX).

 

October 29, 2014

affiliates in the news- November 2014

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.

Poverty Point State Historic Site (West Carroll, Louisiana)
Poverty Point to celebrate World Heritage Site designation Saturday
According to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Poverty Point is the 22nd World Heritage Site in the United States. Dardenne’s office states that Poverty Point was the U.S. Department of the Interior’s lone nomination for world heritage status-adding to the site’s accolades as a National Historic Landmark, National Monument and Smithsonian Affiliate. 

George Catlin, Buffalo Chase, Bulls Making Battle with Men and Horses. 1832-1833, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

George Catlin, Buffalo Chase, Bulls Making Battle with Men and Horses. 1832-1833, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Mennello Museum of Art (Orlando, Florida)
Mennello Museum opens final exhibits in 15th-anniversary season
The Mennello Museum of American Art is wrapping up its 15th-anniversary year with two exhibitions that opened Oct. 3…The two new exhibitions are “George Catlin’s American Buffalo,” on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and “The Taos Society of Artists,” an original exhibition curated by museum executive director Frank Holt. The exhibitions run through Jan. 4, 2015.

The Majesty of the Buffalo, Captured on Canvas [16 Images]
In Great Falls, the exhibit was received enthusiastically, and the museum saw an uptick in attendance. “We’re delighted to have this quality of an exhibition from the Smithsonian,” Burt said, adding that the scenes provided Native Americans with “a great opportunity” for insight into their ancestors’ lifeways and the scenery of the plains.

space-center-houston-smithsonianSpace Center Houston (Houston, Texas)
Space Center Houston is 1st Smithsonian Affiliate in Houston
Space Center Houston is now a member of the Smithsonian’s crew. Space Center Houston, which serves as the official visitor center for NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas, is officially the first museum in Houston to be named a Smithsonian Affiliate.

Another giant leap for Space Center Houston
In a giant leap toward preserving the history of space exploration, Space Center Houston became the city’s first Smithsonian Affiliate on Oct. 8

Witte Museum (San Antonio, Texas)
Witte Museum announces Smithsonian partnership
We purposely waited to become a Smithsonian Affiliate because we’re in a great transformation right now at the museum and we thought it would be the perfect way to say we’re a top-tier museum,” said Marise McDermott, Witte Museum president and CEO.

Witte now a Smithsonian affiliate
The Witte Museum is now a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate. As a member of the program, the Witte will be able to borrow objects from the Smithsonian’s permanent collection and tap into its resources. “It’s such a great time for the Witte to have an affiliation,” said Marise McDermott, president and CEO of the Witte, who will announce the affiliation at a news conference this morning. “Before we were so focused on growing our campus, and now we’re ready to integrate with a national museum.”

wittetv

Berkshire Museum (Pittsfield, Massachusetts)
Smithsonian Leaders Hail Berkshire Museum SparkLab Partnership
“We think that real innovation will happen in this space,” according to Claudine Brown, Assistant Secretary of Education & Access at the Smithsonian. “Every SparkLab is different, and this one is architecturally beautiful.”

Spark!Lab is hands-on science at Berkshire Museum
Berkshire Museum Executive Director Van Shields said, while tinkering on his own Snap Circuits project, that Spark!Lab will “stimulate the kind of creativity and innovative thinking that was the beginning of the journey” of bringing the museum into the 21st century.

biomuseoThe Biomuseo (Panama)
Biomuseo Showcases Panama’s Ecological Diversity
Panama, the Biomuseo proclaims, became a “bridge of life” (the title of its permanent exhibition) and a fountain of biodiversity. Just a bit bigger than Ireland, it has more species of birds, amphibians and animals (if insects are included) than the United States and Canada combined, according to George R. Angehr, a research associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. (The Biomuseo is an affiliate of the Smithsonian, which along with the University of Panama helped develop its scientific content.)

Wondrous or hideous? Frank Gehry-designed natural history museum opens to fanfare in Panama
A natural history museum designed by famed architect Frank Gehry opened in Panama City this week. The Biomuseo — a project first conceived nearly 15 years ago and hampered by all kinds of issues — welcomed in the public for the first time Thursday.

Idaho Museum of Natural History (Pocatello, Idaho)
Asian Pacific American History exhibit on display at IMNH
Asian and Pacific Americans make up more than five percent of the U.S. population—more than 17 million people—and those numbers are growing. Their ancestral roots represent more than 50 percent of the world, extending from East Asia to Southeast Asia, and from South Asia to the Pacific Islands and Polynesia. In commemoration of this important history, “I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story” opened at the Idaho Museum of Natural History (IMNH), on September 20 and will run through November 30. “I Want the Wide American Earth” was created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). The exhibition is supported by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Smithsonian exhibit heads to local museum
“It’s pretty exciting because we are a Smithsonian-affiliated museum…and we only get it for ten weeks so it’s here before it heads-off to California, so unless you are planning on traveling to California, you won’t get to see it,” Tews said.

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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!

September 24, 2014

coming up in affiliateland in october 2014

The air is turning crisp and Affiliates continue to host top-rated programs all over the country.

PANAMA

The BioMuseo, designed by Frank Gehry, is ready to open in Panama.

The BioMuseo, designed by Frank Gehry, is ready to open in Panama.

National Outreach Manager Alma Douglas takes part in the celebration of the BioMuseo, which officially opens to the public in Panama City, 10.2.

TENNESSEE

Smithsonian Associates lead an exclusive tour Inside Oak Ridge National Laboratory featuring two Affiliates, the Museum of Appalachia and American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, 10.4-7.

FLORIDA

The Menello Museum of Art opens George Catlin’s American Buffalo exhibition from the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Orlando, 10.4.

The South Florida Museum opens SITES The Evolving Universe exhibition in Bradenton, 10.25.

TEXAS

Affiliations director Harold Closter will announce the new affiliation with the Witte Museum in San Antonio, 10.7.

Affiliations director Harold Closter will announce the new affiliation with the Space Center Houston, 10/8.

MASSACHUSETTS

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Several Smithsonian staff members will attend the celebration to open Spark!Lab, an interactive exhibit and activity space resulting from a collaboration between the Berkshire Museum and the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, in Pittsfield, 10.10.

The Lowell National Historical Park will host an Innovators in Community Engagement Forum, including Sharon Reinckens from the Anacostia Community Museum, and fellow Affiliate, Cassie Chinn, from the Wing Luke Museum, in Lowell, 10.21-22.

SOUTH CAROLINA

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate hosts their first “Smithsonian Speaker Series” with a talk by fellow Affiliate Dr. Deborah Barnhart, CEO of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The Museum will also present public exhibition of student creations as part of the Smithsonian’s Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos astrophotography project, in Greenville, 10.28.

 

 

 

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