February 9, 2017

Young astronomers gather at the Smithsonian

Youth Summit Logo

Young astronomers from across the nation will convene for an out of this world Youth Summit in Washington, D.C., on February 22nd and 23rd. The astro-photographers, ranging in age from 10 to 14 years old, have all participated in the Smithsonian Institution’s Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos program, held at 13 Smithsonian Affiliate organizations over the past year. Participants used an online portal to control real robotic telescopes located at Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory sites in Cambridge, MA, and Amado, AZ. Using the same tools, technologies, and techniques as professional astronomers, the youth observed planets, stars, and galaxies; analyzed and enhanced their astronomical images with scientific software; and even designed their own robotic telescope components.

student astronomer

A student astronomer at the Carolinas Aviation Museum. Photo credit: Carolinas Aviation Museum.

While in DC these youth astronomers will share the multi-disciplinary knowledge they have gained from Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos with the public. On Wednesday, February 22nd at 1:00pm, the youth will host a poster presentation at the National Air and Space Museum, featuring the astronomical images they have captured and processed. This poster session will be followed by a live presentation from the students, How to Control a Telescope & Create a Colorful Cosmic Image

The Youth Summit also includes events to broaden the students’ understanding of science, technology, and innovation, including programming at the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History. On Thursday, February 23rd, select participants will interact with a forum of Smithsonian educators to learn about their love of space, and discover how technology can enhance access to Smithsonian learning experiences.

Affiliate Participants:

Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos is supported by the Smithsonian Institution’s Youth Access Grants program managed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education and Access. The program is a product of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in partnership with Smithsonian Affiliations, and includes participation in YouthAstroNet, a digital network of youth interested in astronomy funded by the National Science Foundation.

January 31, 2017

February in Affiliateland

Is the Smithsonian in your neighborhood? Probably so! These Affiliates are bringing the Smithsonian to communities across the U.S. in February!

Kitchen Table in Julia Child's kitchen

The kitchen table, sink, and some of the countertop equipment in Julia’s kitchen at the Smithsonian

North Carolina
National Museum of American History Curator, Paula Johnson, travels to the North Carolina Museum of History for a public program about Julia Child’s kitchen, in Raleigh, 2.2.

South Carolina
Staff from Smithsonian Affiliations and the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation celebrate the opening of Spark!Lab at the Children’s Museum of the Upstate, in Greenville, 2.4

Illinois
Affiliations Director Harold Closter will be on hand to announce the Smithsonian’s new affiliation with the Schingoethe Center of Aurora University, in Aurora, 2.7.

Texas
Smithsonian Science Education Center Director Carol O’Donnell talks about the current state of STEM education at Space Center Houston, in Houston, 2.9.

Nebraska
The Durham Museum opens Searching for the Seventies: The Documerica Photography Project, a SITES exhibition, in Omaha, 2.18

Michelle Wilkinson portrait

Photo by Jati Lindsay

New York
The Rockwell Museum presents its Smithsonian Speakers Series featuring Michelle Wilkinson, curator at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Corning, 2.21.

Washington, D.C.
Students from nine Smithsonian Affiliate communities will host public programs at the National Air and Space Museum as part of the Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos National Youth Summit, in Washington, D.C., 2.22-23.

Special screenings of the original Smithsonian Channel program, The Obama Years: The Power of Words, will take place at multiple Affiliates in February during Black History Month, some with Smithsonian National Museum of American History Curator of Political History Claire Jerry:

At the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, in Baltimore, 2.9.
At History Colorado, in Denver, 2.13.
At the African American Museum in Philadelphia, in Philadelphia, 2.15.
At the Museum of History and Industry, in Seattle, 2.22.
At the Senator John Heinz History Center, in Pittsburgh, 2.23.
At the Western Reserve Historical Society, in Cleveland, 2.24.

Last Chance at Affiliates:

Things Come apart

Things Come Apart exhibition at Upcountry History Museum

South Carolina
Things Come Apart, a SITES exhibit, closes on 2.19 at the Upcountry History Museum in Greenville.

North Carolina
Greensboro Historical Museum closes I want the Wide American Earth, also a SITES exhibit, on 2.26, in Greensboro.

 

 

 

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

untitled

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.

 

 

May 16, 2013

Capturing the Cosmos in Huntsville

Special thanks to our guest blogger, Chris Myers, U.S. Space and Rocket Center®, Huntsville, AL for this post

Bringing the Cosmos to Space Camp®!

YCCC AyshamAt the U.S. Space and Rocket Center® and Space Camp, we are constantly looking for fun and innovative ways to teach our museum guests and trainees about space history and the science and math concepts that surround it. Naturally, we were excited to participate in the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics series of instructional webinars in order to get some fresh ideas and content.  The creativity started to flow as we reviewed the background material, but the amount and quality of the lesson plans and information presented to us by Mary Dussault and Erin Braswell was impressive. By the end of the first hour of the webinar, we had solid ideas and lesson plans that could be implemented in every program from summer Day Camp for 5-year-olds to Advanced Space Academy® for high-school seniors. And they meet both state and national curriculum guidelines!  In this case, our target subject was astronomy.

For our younger trainees, we adapted the activities that dealt with colors and filters into a hands-on component for our astronomy briefing “Tenacious Telescopes.” We use PVC pipe, colored felt and theater lighting gel in the primary colors to teach the trainees about how real telescopes like the Hubble Space Telescope use filters to look for specific information, and how scientists can put these single-color images together to make a full-color picture. In addition to making it look more like a real telescope, mounting the color filter inside a PVC pipe telescope has the added bonus of keeping our filters fingerprint and wrinkle free.

YCCC3For our Advanced Academy (junior high to high school) trainees, we added an image processing component into our existing astronomy curriculum which is made up of four components. At the beginning of the week, the trainees participate in a lecture called “Exploring the Night Sky” where they learn the basics of astronomy and focus on finding and naming the constellations and deep space objects. Our second astronomy block is the “Micro Observatory Lab,” where our trainees use the Mobs software to compile full-color images of deep space objects. Our third astronomy block is a “Night Telescope” activity, where the trainees use real telescopes to find the same objects in the sky of which they compiled images the day before. And for our final astronomy block, our Advanced Academy trainees learn the stories behind selected constellations in our inflatable Star Lab.

YCCC AkilHWe have been running the “Micro Observatory Lab” astronomy block since December, 2011, and have had more than 1,500 trainees from all over the world participate. We have so many students participating that we aren’t able to display all their artwork at once, so we have set up two small rotating exhibits of 12 featured photos each here at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, one located in the Main Museum and the other located in the Science Lab used for our summer Space Academy for Educators® camp, and we plan to add a third, larger display to our computer lab this summer.

These kinds of seminars and programs are what make it so awesome to be a part of the network of Smithsonian Affiliates. Imagine all the fun, innovative and educational activities you can dream up with the help of these services! So get out there and sign up for a class today! And spare a glance for the colorful cosmos while you’re at it!

March 27, 2013

Capturing the Cosmos in College Park

Special thanks to our guest blogger, Chelsea Dorman, College Park Aviation Museum, College Park, MD for this post

Last fall, College Park Aviation Museum had the opportunity to lead two Capture the Colorful Cosmos classes using assistance from a Smithsonian Youth Access Fund grant. Our museum attracts many younger children for all of its hands-on activities, but we have been looking for ways to expand our reach to older students. I was excited to be able to use a program about astrophotography to target a new audience of middle school age students. With events like the transit of Venus and solar flares frequently making the news, learning to operate robotic telescopes to take pictures of the heavens has an easy draw. College Park sits just outside of Washington, D.C. in Prince George’s County, MD and boasts a very diverse population. The Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission runs much of the recreation in the county including 41 community centers and our museum. This made it a natural fit for us to offer the Capture the Colorful Cosmos program to our immediate community.

DJ Exhibition

We decided to hold our Capture the Colorful Cosmos programs at nearby community centers since the museum does not have a computer lab. Both Beltsville Community Center and Langley Park Community Center offered us space for an after school program that would be held once a week, for six weeks in their computer labs. Our class size was limited to 10 students by the seats available in the room, but we found that these students kept us busy throughout each class, and it would have been difficult to accommodate additional participants.

Ellie Exhibition

In our first session, students learned the basics of the MicroObservatory software, how to request images, and discussed how astronomy influences their everyday life. Throughout the course we tried to keep a balance of learning to manipulate images, learning about the universe, and a creative activity. At the end of each session students went home with a copy of the image they had created that day printed on our photo printer. By the end of the course, students were able to create and refine composite images and false color images, creating all sorts of artistic, brightly colored galaxies and moons. The Kids Capture the Universe curriculum provided by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics was a terrific resource for finding activities and planning our program. One of our students’ favorite activities was creating astropoetry and many of them decided to include their poem in our final exhibit.

All of the students’ hard work culminated in an exhibit that was displayed at College Park Aviation Museum for three months. Each student picked two images they had created to display. During our final two classes, everyone poured through books and websites to learn about the celestial objects in their images so they could write a caption describing their work. The exhibit was debuted with an evening reception, which coincided with the opening of our Aviation Meets Art exhibit featuring local artists. It was a fantastic event, and everyone was thrilled and impressed by what the kids had created. In fact, many of the adults in attendance wanted to know when they would have their chance to create astrophotography images of their own.

The Capture the Colorful Cosmos program has been a great way for us to continue to grow our outreach. Through this program we were able to reach a nearby home-school group who had never been to our museum. The kids had a lot of enthusiasm for what they were learning, and would frequently share other astrophotography pictures and facts they had found at home. The program was a great success, and we plan on using what we have learned to host another workshop, this time at College Park Aviation Museum. In May, we will utilize the set of netbooks made available by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics to host a family workshop. We hope this will allow the younger children and adults who are interested to learn about astrophotography too. Capture the Colorful Cosmos was easy to learn and implement, so we hope to continue offering it as a recurring event.

January 30, 2013

Affiliates in the news! January-February 2013

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

BCMA-VI-SmithsonianBirthplace of Country Music Alliance (Bristol, Tenn.)
Astrophotography students to exhibit work, share enthusiasm about VI and BCM-hosted program

American Textile History Museum (Lowell, Mass.)
Ex-astronaut fits the bill at Lowell textile museum 

South Dakota State Historical Society (Pierre, S.D.)
South Dakota State Historical Society, Smithsonian announce agreement
Smithsonian Affiliation program strengthens ties to South Dakota
South Dakota State Historical Society and museum to be affiliated with Smithsonian Institution
South Dakota State Historical Society Museum becomes affiliate of Smithsonian Institution
South Dakota state museum becomes affiliate of Smithsonian
Museum of South Dakota State Historical Society announces new status as Smithsonian Institution Affiliate 

National World War II Museum (New Orleans, La.)
Congressional Gold Medal goes on national tour

January 2, 2013

Calling All Affiliates!

Smithsonian Affiliations regularly collaborates with colleagues to engage Affiliate partners in projects throughout the Institution.  Here’s a look at a few current projects, and opportunities for the future. Let us know if you are interested in learning more about any of these! 

immigrationSmithsonian Immigration/Migration Initiative (SIMI)

  • In January 2012, eight Affiliate representatives served on the advisory committee for this project. 
  • In the summer 2012, the Affiliations office, collaborating with SIMI and central Smithsonian Education, received a grant to conduct a feasibility study of the Affiliate network.  A central goal of this initiative is to engage youth in digital, self-documentary projects about their experiences with immigration and migration.  The feasibility study is designed to identify those Affiliates who have both an interest in this topic and the youth target audience, as well as the capacity to collaborate in the development of digital products for possible exhibition in years to come.  In addition to a survey to be sent in January 2013, the feasibility study includes support for select focus groups, and a pilot program at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.
  • On a parallel track, colleagues in the Smithsonian EdLab are working with teachers to design mission-based challenges that link the themes of SIMI to school curricula.  Working with Affiliate educators at the International Museum of Arts and Sciences in McAllen, Texas, to test a pilot model of the program, EdLab colleagues are interested in expanding the project to work with other Affiliates.  They will be leading a workshop on this topic at the Affiliations Annual Conference, June 10-12, 2013. 

Young Historians, Living Histories

  • This is an educational initiative to engage underserved youth in Asian Pacific American communities. Young Historians, Living Histories is funded by the Smithsonian’s Youth Access Grant program.  The program is led by the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center, in partnership with Smithsonian Affiliations.  The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) and Smithsonian staff will prepare comprehensive instructional programs and curriculum guides that will be used to train educators to implement the youth workshops.  Youth will learn a variety of 21st century skills, methods of community outreach, digital storytelling and more to explore, contextualize, and deepen their understanding of Asian Pacific American history and culture while learning new technologies.  Nine Affiliate partners will be selected to participate in helping to reach the target youth audience, as well as bring together critical community partners to support the program.   

    Six Affiliates and their community partners kick off the Places of Invention project with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. Photo: National Museum of American History

    Staff from six Affiliates and their community partners kick off the Places of Invention project at a day-long workshop with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. Photo: National Museum of American History

Places of Invention (POI)

  • Six Affiliates are currently serving as partners in the Places of Invention project, an initiative of the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.  Supported by a major grant from NSF, Places of Invention Affiliate partners are conducting extensive community research, the products of which will be shared in an interactive map in a 2015 exhibition at the National Museum of American History. 
  • The POI team has funds to train 20 more Affiliates to document their communities, and will be sharing their work at the Affiliations Annual Conference, June 10-12, 2013.  nys

National Youth Summits

  • In collaboration with the National Museum of American History, Affiliates have hosted several Youth Summits, wherein students from across the country watch a live webast program in D.C., and then continue the discussion with experts in their home communities.  The Freedom Rides National Youth Summit featured five Affiliate partners in February 2011; and the Dust Bowl National Youth Summit partnered with nine Affiliates in October 2012.
  • More National Youth Summits are being planned for the future, with Affiliate participation.  A program on Abolition is set to take placeon February 11, 2013; Latino history in America in fall 2013; and one commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act in 2014. 

Let’s Do History tour

  • This is a national outreach program that brings the National Museum of American History’s resources and strategies to communities nationwide.  Designed to energize and support K-12 social studies teachers, the program introduces them to exciting and effective techniques, powerful online tools, and standards-based content they can use in their classrooms.  In each targeted city, Smithsonian colleagues work with Affiliate educators to highlight local resources. 
  • In 2012, Affiliates in Alabama, Texas, South Dakota, and Tennessee took part in presenting their own educational resources.
  • In the coming years, the National Museum of American History is looking at cities in Hawaii, Louisiana, California, Washington, and Oklahoma. 

    Courtesy Pinhead Institute.

    Courtesy Pinhead Institute.

Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos

  • Thirteen Affiliates took part in the YCCC program, a collaboration with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.  The goal of the program is to teach youth participants to control robotic telescopes over the internet.  Participants learned to take their own astronomy images of the universe. Images created have been displayed in astrophotography exhibitions featuring their unique images, captions, poems, and comparisons to images taken by NASA’s space-based observatories. The program promotes increased interest, awareness, and knowledge of astronomy content, understanding of technology and proficiency in real scientific research skills.  Participating Affliates will be offering a second round of astrophotography workshops in 2013. 

One Giant Leap

  • An initiative of the National Air and Space Museum, the pending proposal to NSF is designed to create mentoring opportunities for African American students interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.  Affiliate participation will include hosting videoconference sessions with scientists from NASA and the Smithsonian, and supporting the local mentoring partners.
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