what’s new at SITES

SITES Quarterly Corner | www.sites.si.edu

 

Be the first to host these new interdisciplinary exhibitions from SITES: 

X-ray Vision:  Fish Inside Out

an image from X-ray Vision: Fish Inside Out

an image from X-ray Vision

 Go Fish! 

Hook visitors of all ages with a show that celebrates the perfect marriage of art and science with spectacular, one-of-a-kind x-radiographs–X-ray Vision: Fish Inside Out {formerly titled Ichthyo}. 

 
Laid out in evolutionary sequence, the exhibition’s startlingly beautiful digital x-rays deepen our scientific understanding of the incredible diversity of fishes. With over 40 framed photographs, X-ray Vision reveals how the study of fish skeletons, fin spines, and teeth help scientists tell one species from another and understand evolutionary development.  A full color picture of the specimen is featured on every label.  Created using the latest digital x-ray technology, the delicacy and exquisite detail of the images tell these sea creatures’ wondrous secrets.  Tour begins August 2010.    

 

Remembered Light:  Glass Fragments from World War II

a work by Joseph Distefano in Remembered Light

a work by Joseph Distefano in Remembered Light

In 1944 and 1945, Army chaplain Frederick A. McDonald visited more than two dozen churches and synagogues destroyed by war and collected broken pieces of stained glass from their ruins.  For 55 years, McDonald dreamed of creating a memorial window as a symbol of survival, hope and peace from the broken glass.  In 1998, he shared the story of the stained glass remnants with friends and the McDonald Windows project was born.  Over the course of eight years, 25 windows were created by stained glass artists from all over the world.  Using a broad range of artistic interpretation and incorporating the colorful shards, each window is inspired by McDonald’s powerful stories and personal reflections on the lessons of war.

 

Remembered Light includes 25 remarkable glass art installations, several mural-size photographs, text panels, and engaging graphic elements.  Together, they create a vivid monument to preserving memory and celebrating peace.  Tour begins October 2011.

 

Long May She Wave:  A Graphic History of the American Flag

Noted graphic designer and collector Kit Hinrichs’ childhood show-and-tell of his family’s Civil War-era thirty-six star flag sparked his lifelong fascination with the Stars and Stripes.  Over the last 40 years, Hinrichs has amassed more than 5,000 flag-related objects- from quilts and clothes to posters and political pins, Native American beadwork, and, of course, historic flags. 

 

Long May She Wave, featuring selections of Hinrichs’ collection, will provide visitors with a thoughtful reexamination of the flag- not just as a symbol of pride, but also as a successful, high-impact graphic element used by artists, corporations, and activists to publicize their products and views.  From whimsical wind-up toys to serious protest art and political propaganda, the hundreds of flag-embellished artifacts shed light on social milieus of the time, reminding viewers that even familiar symbols can have deeper meaning.  An art exhibition for history lovers, Long May She Wave is a brilliant visual journey through our patriotic past.  Tour begins June 2012.

And don’t forget about SITES’ Community Grant Program, offering funding for public programs to accompany SITES’ exhibitions.  Deadlines have recently changed;  proposals are now due on the first day of May and November.

bravo affiliates! kudos for december ’09 / january ’10

In these tough times, it’s nice to see some bright spots.  We’d like to acknowledge the following Affiliates for their hard work and accomplishments.

The Museum of Arts and Sciences (Macon, GA) received a $10,000 grant from College Hill Corridor to hold a spring break day camp at Tattnall Square Park.

Ellie Donovan has been named Executive Director of Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA). Donovan has been associated with the museum since 1974, including serving as acting executive director since March. 

Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, MI)earned the 2009 Dorothy Howard Folklore and Education Prize from American Folklore Society (AFS) for their publication “Folk Arts in Education: A Resource Handbook II,” a resource for educators to bring young people in touch with their communities, their ethnic identities and the authentic cultural expressions of their own families.

An anonymous $6 million donation to the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art (Biloxi, MS) will fund construction on the Center for Ceramics, the fourth largest of the Frank Gehry buildings planned for the site.

Western Heritage Center (Billings, MT) received a $29,000 grant from the Montana Tourism Infrastructure Investment Program to replace an old boiler and install humidity control equipment.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, NC) received a $4 million grant from the State Employees Credit Union Foundation.  The grant will fund the centerpiece of the Museum’s planned Nature Research Center – a three-story multimedia program area for announcing key environmental issues and recent scientific discoveries.

Strategic Air and Space Museum (Ashland, NE) has been awarded a $200,000 federal grant through the Community Development Block Grant program. The money will be used for the repair and upgrade of various building projects.

The Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA) announced its accreditation by the American Association of Museums.

Wisconsin Maritime Museum  (Manitowoc, WI) won three Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards for their documentary  “Lost and Found: Legacy of USS Lagarto,” about the submarine, built in Manitowoc during World War II, that was lost in the Gulf of Siam (now Thailand) and rediscovered in 2005.

bravo all!

affiliates in the news: week of november 23

Congratulations to all the Affiliates making headlines this week!

New York State Museum (Albany, New York)
NYSGS to play key role in national geothermal energy search
Geological Survey gets $280G federal DOE grant

San Diego Natural History Museum
(San Diego, California)
The Bug Counters

Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, Massachusetts)
It’s time to talk turkey about Thanksgiving traditions
Thanksgiving Day Facts: Pilgrims, Dinner, Parades, More

Ogden Museum of Southern Art (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Ogden Museum Announces Retirement of Director J. Richard Gruber
Ogden director Rick Gruber retires

Museum of the Rockies (Bozeman, Montana)
MSU study explores violent world of raptors
Violent World of Raptors Explored

Arizona State Museum (Tucson, Arizona)
Scratching the surface of the Arizona State Museum

Dallas Museum of Nature and Science
(Dallas, Texas)
Museum of Nature & Science Breaks Ground on $185-Million Museum

adiós to a good friend

Juan explains an exhibition concept during the Developing Exhibitions workshop in Washington, DC, June 2009

Juan explains an exhibition concept during the Developing Exhibitions workshop in Washington, DC, June 2009

It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Juan Pastoriza, a good friend and long-time collaborator with Smithsonian Affiliations.  Juan passed away on November 10, and will be greatly missed by his many colleagues, friends and family.

Juan was the director of the Museum and Center of Humanistic Studies at the Universidad del Turabo in Gurabo, Puerto Rico.  Recognizing a need for professional museum studies training on the Island, Juan worked with the Smithsonian to create a 4-part series of week-long workshops, leading to a certificate in Museum Studies.  Spanning collections care, public programming, exhibition development, and administration, Juan’s work touched scores of museum professionals in Puerto Rico, who went on to staff the Island’s museums, cultural organizations and municipal arts councils. 

Starting in 2002, the Smithsonian began sending its staff to Puerto Rico to lead and teach classes.  The entire Smithsonian was represented through these workshops, from curators to conservators, educators to administrators.  In some summers (2006 and 2009), Juan led a group of his peers to Washington, to go behind-the-scenes at the Smithsonian to experience museum practice first-hand.  In 2008, Juan worked with the Smithsonian to explore federal funding programs, attracting representatives from the NEA, NEH, IMLS, NSF, and the National Park Service to Puerto Rico, to discuss the details of writing successful federal grants.  Regardless of the location or topic, it was clear that Juan was committed to training the next generation of Puerto Rican museum professionals, and in the process, inspired his colleagues at the Smithsonian to be the best examples we could be.

The director of Smithsonian Affiliations, Harold Closter, offered these words of dedication, read at Juan’s memorial service on November 17 at the Universidad del Turabo:

Dear friends and members of the Pastoriza family,

We are deeply saddened by the news of Juan’s passing and reach out to all of you with our sympathies, compassion and love.  Juan touched our hearts and minds in ways that have changed us all, and in ways that we will never forget.  With a disarming smile and a gentle manner, he challenged us to be better teachers, better museum professionals, and better people.

The Smithsonian Institution owes Juan Pastoriza a great debt of gratitude for conceiving and organizing the annual Museum Studies Certificate program at the Universidad del Turabo.  The program was more than an academic exercise.  It was Juan’s way of preserving the heritage and traditional culture of Puerto Rico, a heritage he loved deeply and worked so hard for, by utilizing the resources of the Smithsonian to help train a new generation of Puerto Rican museum professionals. Through Juan, we had the privilege of working with the best and the brightest – museum staff, artists, community leaders, and passionate students.  Juan’s genius was to create an environment that eliminated the distinction between teacher and student.  Through Juan, we came together in a great circle of friendship and mutual learning. Juan and his students were often our teachers; from them learned as much as we imparted.

Each of us has strong memories of Juan – of his kindness, of his commitment, and of his probing mind.  He never stopped questioning and pushing us to unlock doors – doors that we couldn’t even name — that would make our work accessible and more useful to him and his students.  Because of Juan we have grown professionally and personally, and for that we shall be forever grateful.

A person like Juan is a gift that one experiences, if one is lucky, once in a lifetime. We were fortunate to receive this gift.  We know that Juan can never be replaced and we will miss him dearly.  He was a blessing whose presence enriched our lives and whose work will live on through all the people he touched. 

Adiós a nuestro amigo y hermano.  May your spirit continue to inspire us to honor the heritage and culture of your people, and the beauty and humanity of all people, everywhere. 

All of Juan’s Friends and Admirers at the
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, DC

affiliates in the news: week of november 16

news

Congratulations to all the Affiliates making headlines this week.

CALIFORNIA
Discovery Science Center (Santa Ana)
Building a love of science

Arts Council for Long Beach (Long Beach)
Antonio Pedro Ruiz To Receive Arts Council Award

Chabot Space and Science Center (Oakland)
Chabot Debunks 2010 Predictions
What’s Up at Chabot: Full-dome show explores Mayans’ astrological contributions

GEORGIA
High Museum of Art (Atlanta)
High Names Michael Rooks New Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art
High Museum picks new mod art curator
Michael Rooks Joins High Museum Of Art

INDIANA
Conner Prairie (Fishers)
Conner Prairie Faring Well During Downturn

LOUISIANA
National WWII Museum (New Orleans)
War’s story told on film

MONTANA
Western Heritage Center (Billings)
Tourism grant awarded to Heritage Center

Museum of the Rockies (Bozeman) and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History
The Top 8 Dinosaur Discoveries of 2009
New Dinosaur Extinction
FOR KIDS: The paleontologist and the three dinosaurs
Skulls thought to be from three different dinosaurs may actually be from the same dino type at three different ages

Former reptile wrangler now wins awards for fossil photos

NORTH CAROLINA
Charlotte Museum of History (Charlotte)
Day of songs, dancing and storytelling: American Indian Heritage Month celebration teaches ‘we are one tribe.’

OREGON
Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum (McMinnville)
FLIR donates high tech display to Evergreen Aviation Museum

PENNSYLVANIA
Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh)
Hop a ride through the region’s past as ‘Railroad Town’

RHODE ISLAND
Heritage Harbor Museum (Providence)
Backers of Providence’s Heritage Harbor hopeful despite funding setbacks

SOUTH CAROLINA
South Carolina State Museum (Columbia)
State Museum Expansion Project Looks to Local Governments

WASHINGTON
Whatcom Museum (Bellingham)
Whatcom Museum Opens The Lightcatcher: New $18.3 Million Facility
Lightcatcher grand opening

Wing Luke Asian Museum (Seattle) and Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, Michigan)
Exhibits of Conscience: A nationwide initiative pulls museums into one of today’s most highly charged issues: immigration

Well done!

sleepless in seattle

There is so much going on at Smithsonian Affiliates in and around Seattle that one can hardly sleep.  Of course being in the heart of America’s coffee capital only adds to this condition.

Entrance to the Museum of Flight

Entrance to the Museum of Flight

This trip started on November 12 at the Museum of Flight, a sparkling and sprawling Affiliate, just south of the city, appropriately recognized as the world’s largest private not-for-profit air and space museum.  Under the dynamic leadership of Bonnie Dunbar, five-time space shuttle astronaut, the museum hosts such remarkables as the first Boeing 747, Air Force One, and a supersonic Concorde.  Astronaut John Young’s spacesuit and various examples of space food, on loan from the National Air and Space Museum (NASM), are also on display in the main building.  I was pleased to run into Dan Hagedorn, formerly of NASM and now senior curator at the museum. Dan’s voluminous knowledge of aircraft and aviation history kept me spellbound for hours. I think of Dan as our permanent loan to the museum.  He is complemented by an enthusiastic set of colleagues who, like the pioneers of flight, are continually dreaming up new ways to expand the museum’s innovative exhibitions and education programs.  Soar on!

A striking installation at the Wing Luke Asian Museum

A striking installation at the Wing Luke Asian Museum

The Wing Luke Asian Museum, in the heart of Seattle’s International District, flies to the heart of Seattle’s complex history as a home for generations of Asian and Pacific Island Americans.  The small community museum led for many years by visionary Ron Chew, and now directed by the equally inspiring Beth Takekawa, recently reopened around the corner in a not so small historic building, brilliantly transformed by the architectural firm Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen.  The renovation allows for contemporary art and community culture displays while preserving the original spaces occupied by workers, family associations, and merchants.  On view at this time are Roger Shimomura’s provocative and disturbing  “yellow terror” artifacts and his paintings that explore and expose the cruelty and harm of stereotyping.

The new Light Catcher building of the Whatcom Museum of History and Art

The new Lightcatcher building of the Whatcom Museum of History and Art

About ninety miles up the coast, in Bellingham, Washington stands the Whatcom Museum of History and Art, an important repository of Northwest  history and culture, and the ultimate destination of this trip. On November 13 the Whatcom celebrated the opening of it new “Lightcatcher” building, an exquisite facility, also designed by Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects, that will rehouse the museum’s art collection and showcase new collections and acquisitions.  It was an honor to join director Patricia Leach, Mayor Dan Pike, the Board and all the local supporters in applauding this great community accomplishment. Bellingham was famous as the jumping off point for the great Alaska gold rush, but the hard work of many in this city, has unearthed the local gold of good will and artistic creativity.  We are delighted that the Smithsonian American Art Museum‘s very relevant exhibition, 1934: A New Deal for the Arts, will be the featured jewel at the Whatcom in 2010.  

Smithsonian Affiliates in Seattle and Bellingham offer so many amazing opportunities for learning and discovery, that what I lacked for in sleep I made up for in inspiration.  Pour me another cup of coffee!