naturalist center expands its branches

The York County Culture and Heritage Museums are on a roll! Just a few months ago, the Museum of York County celebrated its 60th Anniversary by opening its first Naturalist Center, modeled after the Smithsonian’s Naturalist Center. And just a few weeks ago, the they added a new museum, the Main Street Children’s Museum.

Naturalist Center.

The Museum of York County received assistance in developing the Naturalist Center from the manager of the Smithsonian’s Naturalist Center, Richard Efthim. The center provides a unique and engaging atmosphere for inquiry-based learning. It brings students, teachers, artists and others who are interested in natural history together with collections of objects, scientific equipment, technology, books and references.   The center is filled with taxidermy animals such as lions, Cape buffalo and a giraffe. In addition to a painstakingly detailed, wildlife-filled African plains recreation, visitors can touch more than 1,000 specimens such as the skulls of big cats and buffalo hooves.   Center Curator of Natural History, Steve Fields, encourages visitors to open drawers filled with fossils and other specimens and handle them for closer inspection.  Teachers are encouraged to bring their students to the center to apply their lesson plans using some of the specimens from the collection. The Naturalist Center at the Museum of York County provides a hands-on, discovery-based approach to learning using hundreds of natural history specimens, many of which are on view to the public for the first time. Participants may enjoy self-guided discovery and educational programs and handle mounted specimens, skins, skulls, rocks, minerals, and fossils from all corners of the globe.   

Main Street Children's Museum.

The new Main Street Children’s Museum opened to the public on December 2, 2010.  Smithsonian Affiliations’ Director, Harold Closter, was present to give remarks. The design of the Main Street Children’s Museum was inspired by the artworks of late local artist Vernon Grant.  The museum serves as a center for early childhood education, with a focus on infants to age 6.  Children are encouraged to utilize their creative and developmental skills through interactive exhibits and role-playing with audio and visual experiences. Some highlights of these exhibits include: an interactive Tree House, where children can climb to new heights; a Baby Pumpkin filled with toys and areas of seating; a Dress Up Vault, where children dress up in costumes and learn to role-play; a Sailing Ship, where children can engage in several sailing related activities; and lastly a Train Table with wooden building blocks and train sets to engage the future engineers!

The York County Culture and Heritage Museums’ activity with the Smithsonian doesn’t stop there. Now they are in the planning stages to build a new Records Center that will house the museum’s archives and collections. Latasha Richards, collections manager, will visit the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. to meet with staff at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery to learn more about space planning, organizing, and moving in January 2011. Check the Affiliate blog in January for a recap of her visit.

affiliates in the news!

Congratulations to these Affiliates making headlines this week!

Ross Dickinson, "Valley Farms," 1934, oil on canvas. Smithsonian American Art Museum. Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor. Now on view at Whatcom Museum of History and Art.

Whatcom Museum of History and Art (Bellingham, WA)
‘New Deal for Artists’ paints a picture of Depression-era America. READ MORE 

National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia, PA)
Liberty Bells and Whistles. READ MORE 

High Museum of Art (Atlanta, GA)
The High Museum of Art Recently Selected to Partner with READ MORE 

Conner Prairie (Fishers, IN)
First lady to honor Conner Prairie at White House. READ MORE

Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, CA)
Photo Coverage: Michelle Obama presents 2010 National Medals for Museum and Library Service in Washington. SEE PHOTOS
First lady Michelle Obama presents a 2010 National Medal for Museum and Library Service to the director of Japanese American National Museum. SEE PHOTO

First lady Michelle Obama presents a 2010 National Medal for Museum and Library Service to the director of Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, Akemi Kikumura Yano, during an East Room ceremony Dec. 17, 2010, at the White House in Washington. The National Medal is the nation's highest honor for museums and libraries that make extraordinary civic, educational, economic, environmental, and social contributions. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

affiliates in the news

Congratulations to these Affiliates making headlines this week!

Conner Prairie (Fishers, Indiana)
Conner Prairie to open new Civil War exhibit. READ MORE 

Museum of Design Atlanta (Atlanta, Georgia)
Loridans Foundation gives $444,500 to 15 metro arts groups. READ MORE 

High Museum of Art (Atlanta, Georgia)
MetLife Foundation Announces $500,000 in Grants for the Fourth Installment of the Museum and Community Connections Program. READ MORE 

National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
DREAMS OF FREEDOM: the new National Museum of Jewish History. READ MORE
Philly Jewish Museum Architectural Gem, Too. READ MORE

SITES in your neighborhood this winter

Smithsonian Affiliates across the country are bringing Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) exhibitions to their communities this winter. Here’s what’s opening at an Affiliate in the coming months: 

Jim Henson's characters provided an outlet for the various sides of his sense of humor and personality, and Henson always considered Kermit his alter ego. This Kemit, shown with Henson about 1989, is a more polished version of the original Kermit that Henson made in 1955 from his mother's old spring coat. Photo by John E. Barrett.

February 12- May 1, 2011
Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences (Peoria, Illinois)
Jim Henson’s Fantastic World

Organized with The Jim Henson Legacy, Jim Henson’s Fantastic World offers audiences a rare peek into the imagination of this brilliant innovator and creator of Kermit, Big Bird, and other beloved characters. The exhibition documents Henson’s process of “visual thinking” through works of art, photographs, documents, puppets and other 3-D objects, and film and video clips.

Legendary New York Mets’ coach Yogi Berra shares his line-up with Clemente before a 1972 spring training game in St. Petersburg, Florida. AP/Wide World Photo.

February 19- April 17, 2011
Challenger Learning Center of Arizona (Peoria, Arizona)
Beyond Baseball: The Life of Roberto Clemente

The baseball diamond has produced legendary athletes who have broken records and shattered barriers. But for many, Roberto Clemente is the most inspiring of all. With a cannon arm and lightning speed, he was an outstanding ballplayer. But the Puerto Rico native was also a dedicated humanitarian. SITES, the Smithsonian Latino Center, the Clemente family, and the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico are pleased to present Beyond Baseball: The Life of Roberto Clemente as a tribute to this monumental figure’s outstanding achievements on the field and off.

And you can still catch these exhibitions at an Affiliate in your neighborhood:

Lasting Light: 125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography, at Dixon Historic Center (Dixon, Illinois) through January 2, 2011. 

Native Words, Native Warriors
at Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center  (Mashantucket, Connecticut), through January 2, 2011.

Freedom’s Sisters,
at Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture (Baltimore, Maryland), through January 17, 2011. 

Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964,
at Sonoma County Museum (Santa Rosa, California), through January 30, 2011.


Find a Smithsonian Affiliate in your neighborhood here.
Find more Smithsonian traveling exhibitions and programs

SITES’ Quarterly Corner for December 2010

Even as 2010 draws to a close, you may still be looking for the perfect exhibition to bring to your museum or gallery next year. Take a look at these SITES offerings that are available in 2011 and don’t miss your chance to host some of our most popular exhibitions!

Plus, if you book an exhibition in 2011 you may be eligible to apply for a Smithsonian Community Grant supported by the MetLife Foundation. Visit our site to learn how you can apply for up to $5,000 for public programming related to a SITES exhibition. You’ll also find the eligibility requirements, deadlines, and a list of past winners (including many of your fellow Smithsonian Affiliate organizations).

Johnny Cash, Hatch Show Print

American Letterpress: The Art of the Hatch Show Print
Size:   3,000 sq. ft.
Security: High
Fee: $18,000 per 12-week booking, plus prorated shipping
Dates available: 2/26/2011 – 5/08/2011 and 5/28/2011 – 8/07/2011

Beyond: Visions of Planetary Landscapes
Size: 250 running ft.
Security: Moderate
Fee: $7,500 per 8-week booking, plus prorated shipping
Dates available: 7/23/2011 – 9/18/2011

Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants
Size: 250 running ft., estimated
Security: Moderate
Fee: $7,900 per 10-week booking, plus outgoing shipping
Dates available: 7/30/2011 – 10/09/2011

The White House Garden
Size: 1,000 sq. ft.
Security: Limited
Fee: $4,500 per 8-week booking, plus outgoing shipping
Dates available: 5/07/2011 – 7/03/2011 and 10/08/2011 – 12/04/2011

SI and Affiliates collaborate on Places of Invention



Places of Invention is a planned exhibition at the National Museum of American History organized  by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.  Scheduled to open in 2014, it will feature a selection of “hot spots” of invention and innovation–places where a critical mass of inventive people, networks, institutions, funding and other resources come together and creativity flourishes. Focusing on the mid-19th century to the present, each exhibition area will have hands-on experiences illustrating the ways that place and social collaboration shape the inventive process.

Places of Invention represents a new model in exhibition design, where content will be co-created in a collaborative manner by the center, professional partners and the public.   That’s where Affiliates come inPlaces of Invention has received a $2.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation which will, in part, support a community documentation project and related programming at six Affiliates.  Affiliates with strong emphases on invention in their own missions will receive training to work with a community partner to document what makes their city a “place of invention.”  Affiliates for the pilot phase of the initiative include: the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, TN; The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology in Newark, OH; York County Culture and Heritage Museums in Rock Hill, SC; the Women’s Museum in Dallas, TX; the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, PA; and the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, MA.

Their photographs, interviews, videos, oral histories, archives and more will become a part of the Places of Invention exhibition at the Smithsonian, inviting others to view their cities in new ways.

For more on the grant and project, read the press release.  The pilot phase is set to begin in Fall 2011, so watch out for more updates as the project progresses.  In the meantime, congratulations to our Lemelson Center and Affiliate colleagues on this unique collaboration!