affiliates in the news: Feb 15- 26

Ogden Museum of Southern Art (New Orleans, LA)
Ogden Museum of Southern Art Announces Staff Changes

An original set of Washington’s teeth, made of ivory, human teeth, and animal teeth.

An original set of Washington’s teeth, made of ivory, human teeth, and animal teeth.

Senator John Heinz History Center(Pittsburgh, PA)
Meet the first president at History Center exhibit
‘Mount Vernon’ display offers view of George Washington’s life
Exhibit takes on myths about the father of our nation

Buffalo Bill Historical Center (Cody, WY)
Cody museum shifts to greener operations

Virginia Museum of Natural History (Martinsville, VA)
New director at VMNH will work to keep things fresh

Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center(Mashantucket, CT)
After 3 years of Pequot War research, it’s time to dig

Snug Harbor Cultural Center (Staten Island, NY)
Links to Abraham Lincoln
Snug Harbor head Frances Paulo Huber to step down

Chabot Space and Science Center (Oakland, CA)
Explore the universe at Chabot Space and Science Center

Curator Brett Kelly on picket duty at the National Civil War Museum

Curator Brett Kelley on picket duty at the National Civil War Museum

National Civil War Museum(Harrisburg, PA)
Museum curator relieved of Civil War picket duty
Re-enactor endured real trials for Civil War museum
A fuzzy picture: U.S. jobs projections for curators leave museum directors scratching their heads

Rubin Museum of Art
(New York, NY)
New York’s famed Rubin Museum exhibiting Hindu artifacts

Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, CA)
See the world in California’s Long Beach

Discovery Science Center (Santa Ana ,CA)
Feed your brain at the Discovery Science Center

Kudos, Affiliates! March 2010

Way to go Affiliates!

Smithsonian Affiliations received $9,100 from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee to support a “blended learning” webinar on Universal Design in collaboration with the American Association of Museums.

 Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center (Hutchinson, Kansas) received a grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Travel and Tourism Division. The $60,600 grant will help leverage an additional $208,020, to develop the center’s new interactive exhibit “Investigate Space”, moving audiences from the past to the future of space exploration.

Strategic Air and Space Museum (Ashland, Nebraska) was awarded a $200,000 Community Block Grant from Cass County to begin renovation projects at the museum.

The Getty Foundation has awarded a $3.1 million grant to support a massive, Southern California-wide series of exhibitions. The money is going to 26 regional institutions including the Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, California) to support their roles in the program that celebrates 30 “thematically linked” exhibitions — that showcase postwar art in Southern California.

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation announced that the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation (Akron, Ohio) has been awarded $25,000 towards the development of a new national Camp Invention flagship curriculum aimed at engaging children in entrepreneurship as well as innovation.

The Exelon Foundation donated $250,000 to the African American Museum in Philadelphia (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) to support educational outreach and audience development, including the creation of study guides and brochures, staffing costs, and exhibitions.

what does it mean to be human?


Five fossil human skulls  show how the shape of the face and braincase of early humans changed over the past 2.5 million years.

Five fossil human skulls show how the shape of the face and braincase of early humans changed over the past 2.5 million years.

How do you define human?!  Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of its official opening on the Mall, the National Museum of Natural History plans to open a new Hall of Human Origins based on decades of cutting-edge research by Smithsonian scientists.  Part of its broader “Human Origins: What Does it Mean to be Human?” initiative, the Hall transports visitors through a dramatic time tunnel depicting human life and environments over the past 6 million years.  The epic story of human evolution is told through the drama of climate change, and shows how survival and extinction have characterized our ancient human past. 

Forensically reconstructed faces of early humans, a display of more than 75 skulls, and an interactive 6 million-year-old family tree are highlights in the Hall.   Can’t visit?  Not to worry.  The Museum and National Geographic are publishing a book, What Does It Mean to be Human?; PBS will air a three-part series later in the year entitled, “Becoming Human: Unearthing Our Earliest Ancestors;” and the Museum will completely reproduce the exhibition through the Blue Mars virtual world website. 

As always, scholars, research and related collections are available to Affiliates for public or school programs, exhibitions, or however you spin your own human story.  Interested in collaborating?  Contact your outreach manager at

 So come by this spring to meet your ancient ancestors.  And be sure to wish them a happy birthday.

affiliates in the news: week of feb 8

Congratulations to these Affiliates making headlines this week!

Buffalo Bill Historical Center (Cody, Wyoming)
BBHC shifts to greener operations

Heard Museum (Phoenix, Arizona)
Heard’s new director first with Native American roots

Antique Automobile Club of America (Hershey, Pennsylvania)Automobile museum displays Negro League Baseball memorabilia

National Civil War Museum (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)
Curator continues campout at National Civil War Museum despite adverse weather

National Civil War Museum curator fulfills promise to begin 2-week camp-out today

Montana Historical Society (Helena, Montana)
Historical society exhibit honors Indian soldiers

are you wendish?

wendishThis question has been on my mind since visiting the Institute of Texan Cultures to announce our new affiliation on January 28, 2010.  Housed in the formidable Texas Pavilion, a landmark of San Antonio’s HemisFair Park, the Institute celebrates the diverse heritage of early Texans in its core exhibition, Texans One and All. Here one finds thoughtfully interpreted and artifact-filled displays of Mexican, African American, Czech, German, Jewish, and Lebanese Texans, among others, and…. Wends.

A quick survey of friends and Smithsonian savants revealed that I was not alone in my unfamiliarity with this group of Texans.  Wends it turns out are a Slavic people who began migrating into Germany and the Baltic region in the first millennium and have maintained their ethnic identity ever since.  The Wends of Texas, better known as Sorbs or Lusatian Serbs, first arrived in Texas in 1853, settling in German speaking areas, and eventually populating the towns of Serbin and Giddings.


UTSA President Dr. Ricardo Romo; Dr. Harriett Romo Director of UTSA CAPRI/MEXICO CENTER; Harold Closter, Director of Smithsonian Affiliations and Tim Gette, Executive Director, ITC.

The Institute of Texan Cultures, organizer of the Texas Folklife Festival, served as a catalyst for the revitalization of Wendish culture in Texas through its annual call for festival participants, which helped to launch the Texas Wendish Heritage Society.  Today, according to the Institute, “the community at Serbin holds an annual Wendish Fest and extends a welcome, Witajcže K’nam, to visitors. During the affair church services are conducted in German and English, a Czech band may play, and corn-shucking contests are held. Some of the local descendants dress in European Wendish costume.”  The Institute emphasizes colorful Wendish wedding traditions in its display.

This is just one of the many stimulating encounters to be found at the Institute of Texan Cultures.  It is not surprising that a state with so much space and so many natural resources would be a magnet for so many different people.  Whether familiar or not, there is always much to learn about the heritage of our predecessors, and the adaptations and sacrifices made or forced upon them.  At the Texas banquet table, diversity is served in complex and compelling dishes.  There’s room for all at this enormous spread….including the Wendish.


Tim Gette and Congressman Charles A. Gonzalez (TX-20) at ceremony announcing the affiliation between the Institute of Texan Cultures and the Smithsonian Institution.

Stop by the Institute of Texan Cultures when you are next in San Antonio and offer a hearty Witajcže K’nam.  They’ll know what you’re talking about.

affiliates in the news: week of Feb 1

Congratulations to these Affiliates making headlines this week!

broganlogo_smMary Brogan Museum of Art and Science (Tallahassee, FL)
Lectures planned for Kinsey Collection at Brogan


California Science Center
(Los Angeles, CA)
AFT, NEA Offer Black History Month Teaching Tools

mhs_072logo5_08Montana Historical Society
(Helena, MT)
Historical Society exhibit honors Indian soldiers
Smithsonian exhibit on Native soldiers will tour Montana reservations

Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center
(Hutchinson, KS)Click to visit the Cosmosphere
Heritage area wins state tourism grant
Cosmosphere to receive tourism grant money
Tourism projects receive funding

Click to visit MOLAAMuseum of Latin American Art
(Long Beach, CA)
MOLAA Gets $100k Getty Grant To Host Exhibit In 2011