affiliates in the news: week of May 24

Congratulations to Affiliates making news this week!


The National Jazz Museum in Harlem (NY, NY)
NYC seeks developer to build new home for National Jazz Museum in Harlem

City looking to build Jazz Museum in Harlem

Charlotte Museum of History (Charlotte, NC)
Charlotte Museum of History announces new president & CEO

History museum names new leader

Buffalo Bill Historical Center (Cody, WY)
Buffalo Bill Museum finally gets its turn

Cody tourism looks good in 2010

National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium (Dubuque, IA)


Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center (Hutchinson, KS)
Hutchinson, Kansas – Salt Mines and Space Museum

New York State Museum (Albany, NY)
Researchers learn about role of bees in tropical ecosystems using radio transmitters

First radio tracking of tropical orchid bees

Smithsonian artifacts in your neighborhood

Did you know you don’t have to be in Washington, D.C. to see Smithsonian artifacts?  Right now there are about 1,166 Smithsonian artifacts on loan to Affiliate museums across the country.  Here’s a few things you could see this weekend! 

Railroad scale models at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum.

A collection of railroad scale models at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum (Baltimore, MD) from the National Museum of American History. They are considered by many to be the finest examples of railroad scale models ever produced. Originally part of “The Railroad Hall” at NMAH, they remained a part the regular attractions until 2001 when it finally closed after 37 years. 

The Peoria Falcon at Lakeview Museum of Arts & Sciences

The Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences (Peoria, IL) has the “Peoria Falcon” on loan from the National Museum of Natural History. It’s a beautifully crafted sheet of copper in the stylized shape of a falcon from the Mississippian period. It was excavated near Peoria in the nineteenth century. 

The largest Smithsonian object –the Saturn V Rocket– is on loan to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center (Huntsville, AL). The Saturn V successfully propelled the Apollo II crew to the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969. It was designed and built in Huntsville and consisted of more than 3 million parts, making up 700,000 components.

"All That Glitters" at San Diego Natural History Museum.

Balboa Park in San Diego, CA, is home to two Affiliates– the San Diego Air & Space Museum (SDASM) and the San Diego Natural History Museum (SDNHM). You can see gems and jewels from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in SDNHM’s exhibition “All That Glitters.” And check out the Apollo 9 command module, Gumdrop, on view at SDASM on loan from the National Air & Space Museum. 

Ten Thousand Springs Pavillion at Irving Arts Center

The Ten Thousand Springs Pavillion, an intricately carved, one-fifth scale model of classical Chinese architecture which stands within Beijing’s Forbidden City, is on view at the Irving Arts Center (Irving, TX).

El Kabong at The Air Zoo

The National Air and Space Museum loaned the “El Kabong I” capsule from NASA’s Project Gemini to The Air Zoo (Portage, MI). It was used for drop tests involving the Para-Sail landing system, which was never adopted for actual Gemini flights. 

NMAI artifacts on view at Historic Arkansas Museum.

 Historic Arkansas Museum(Little Rock, AR) has about 50 Native American artifacts on view from the National Museum of the American Indian in their “We Walk in Two Worlds” exhibition.



Find a Smithsonian Affiliate in your neighborhood!

the future of the smithsonian institution: the grand challenges

The Smithsonian’s new strategic plan identifies four grand challenges that call for the Smithsonian to broaden access and reach new audiences. These four topics, along with our continued dedication to revitalizing education, will define the work at the Smithsonian as we begin a new era. It’s an exciting time to be at the Smithsonian, and an exciting time to be an Affiliate.

On Monday, June 14, 2010, Smithsonian and Affiliate staff will come together to explore the Grand Challenges and brainstorm potential collaborative opportunities. The session, Smithsonian’s New Grand Challenges Offer Grand Opportunities for Affiliates, has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to learn more about our strategic plan or would like to offer your expertise on one of these topics, we’ve included Smithsonian staff working on some of the most interesting projects at the Institution for you to find inspiration.

Here’s a peek at each roundtable and the Smithsonian staff you’ll meet: 

Apollo 9 at the San Diego Air & Space Museum

Roundtable 1:  Unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe
Leading in the quest to unlock the fundamental secrets of the cosmos, the Smithsonian will delve into cosmic mysteries through exploration of our own solar system, meteorites, the Earth’s geological past and present, and the paleontological record of our planet. What does the history of the exploration of the cosmos say about us?
Margaret Weitekamp, Curator, National Air and Space Museum
Erika Reinfeld, Education Specialist, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Tim McCoy, Chair, Department of Mineral Sciences, National Museum of Natural History 

2004 Affiliations Visiting Professional from the Pinhead Institute

Roundtable 2:  Understanding & Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet
The Smithsonian’s hundreds of researchers across our scientific museums and centers will work with our collections to significantly advance our knowledge and understanding of life on Earth, respond to the growing threat of environmental change, and sustain human well-being. How will your organization get involved?
Mark Haddon, Director of Education, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Nancy Knowlton, Sant Chair for Marine Sciences, National Museum of Natural History 

Opening of the Museo del Canal Interoceanico de Panama's exhibition Panamanian Passages at the Smithsonian.

Roundtable 3:  Valuing World Cultures
Through our research, collections, exhibitions, and outreach, the Smithsonian will present the diversity of world cultures with accuracy, insight, and reverence. Discuss how you can help promote greater understanding of, respect for, and meaningful engagement among the world’s peoples and cultures.
John Homiak, Director, National Anthropology Collections & Archives, National Museum of Natural History
Magdalena Mieri, Director, Program in Latino History and Culture, National Museum of American History 

Clash of Empires: The British, French & Indian War, 1754-1763 at the Senator John Heinz History Center.

Roundtable 4:  Understanding the American Experience
Understanding how diverse peoples have become one nation; how that nation has been shaped by various communities, individuals, leaders, inventors, heroes, and artists; how it has changed over time; and how our history, art, and culture connect to the world are of vital concern today. Explore what it means to be an American in this roundtable and how the disparate experiences of individual groups strengthen the whole, and help to share our story with people of all nations.
Diana Baird N’Diaye, Cultural Specialist and Curator, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Susan Nichols, Lunder Education Chair, Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery 

Smithsonian Week in Long Beach, sponsored by the Arts Council of Long Beach.

Roundtable 5:  Revitalizing Education
The Smithsonian will serve as a laboratory to create models of innovative education. Discover how you can play a role in educational efforts across the Smithsonian, as we create a pan-Institutional approach for education that leverages resources, strengthens communications, coordinates programming, and rewards inventive thinking and collaboration.
Deborah Stokes, Curator for Education, National Museum of African Art
Stephanie L. Norby, Executive Director, Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
Tricia Edwards, Education Specialist, National Museum of American History

For more information about the 2010 Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference, click here.

affiliates in the news

Congratulations to these Affiliates making headlines!

Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA)
Updating museums

San Diego Natural History Museum (San Diego, CA)
San Diegan finds rare plants on Guadalupe Island
Glitter in their eyes: New exhibit showcases gems’ historical allure

San Diego Air & Space Museum (San Diego, CA)
Museum lets you soar through aviation photos online

U.S. Space and Rocket Center (Huntsville, AL)
Out of this world

Museo del Canal Interoceánico de Panama (Panama City, Panama)

Riverside Metropolitan Museum (Riverside, CA)
Riverside Metropolitan Museum Welcomes RACE Exhibit June 3

Georgia Aquarium (Atlanta, GA)
Georgia Aquarium names new president

Conner Prairie (Fishers, IN)
Celebrate Indiana’s cultures June 5 & 6 at Conner Prairie’s Indiana Festival (SI Jazz Masterworks mention)

Museum of the Rockies (Bozeman, MT)
Dino/bird theory no surprise to Museum of the Rockies, Jack Horner
Video: Jack Horner interview

can your museum save the world?

Given all the challenges facing our global society today, should the museum community direct our resources and energies to tackle the world’s great problems, and if so, where do we begin?  Can our  efforts in  research, education, collaboration, or public service (or something else?) really make a difference in the face of issues ranging from hurricanes and earthquakes to war or the loss of indigenous cultures? 

The John Marshall Ju/'hoan Bushman Film and Video Collection, which documents the lives of a group of Ju/'hoansi (!Kung San Bushman) in Namibia, is held at the Human Studies Film Archives at the National Museum of Natural History. This audiovisual collection is unique in the world for its focus on one group of people over such a long period.

This topic will be the focus of a keynote session at the Affiliations conference on Monday June 14 at 1:30pm in Baird Auditorium at the National Museum of Natural History.  Cristián Samper, Director of the National Museum of Natural History and Johnnetta B. Cole, Director of the National Museum of African Art will offer their insights on how a natural history museum and an art museum are addressing these issues and preparing for the challenges that lie ahead. 

We want to share examples from Affiliateland, and ask any questions you may have.   Should museums try to save the world?

For more information about the 2010 Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference, click here.

kudos, affiliates! june 2010

Despite the economy, there are many bright spots to celebrate in Affiliateland this month.  Great job everyone!

The Leo Baeck Institute (LBI) at the Center for Jewish History (New York City) recently signed an agreement with the German Foreign Ministry, to receive $3 million over 2010 – 2013 for “New Acquisitions Preservation Project”, allowing for the cataloging of significant new historical material pertaining to the survivor population of refugees from Nazi Germany.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati) will have a new gallery housing a permanent exhibit on contemporary slavery, thanks to a generous gift from Lois and Richard Rosenthal. The new gallery space, comprising approximately 3,000 square feet, will open as the “Lois and Richard Rosenthal Gallery of Contemporary Slavery” in October and will feature the “Invisible: Slavery Today” exhibit on modern forms of slavery — the first of its kind in the world.

The PNC Foundation has awarded the African American Museum (Philadelphia), $75,000 to support Lens Legacy, a video project seeking to record personal stories.

Heritage Preservation announced the Atomic Testing Museum (Las Vegas) has been chosen to participate in Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Collections Assessment Program for 2010.  The program assists museums by providing funds for specialists to identify the conservation needs of their collections and recommend ways to correctly improve collections conditions.

The Montana Historical Society (Helena) has been selected to receive a “Connecting to Collections Statewide Planning” grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  The $40,000 grant is designed to assess the status of cultural heritage collections in the state and develop recommendations to ensure the ongoing preservation of these collections. 

The Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing) and Arizona State Museum (Tucson) are two of 33 museums nationally to receive a 2010 Conservation Project Support grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The MSU Museum receives a $149,316 grant to purchase and install “space-saver” (high-density) storage units and supplies for newly acquired collections, which include textiles and masks, as well as accompanying letters and documentation. Arizona State Museum receives $147,043 to treat 700 archaeological and ethnological ceramic vessels from its Southwest collections.

Conner Prairie (Fishers, Indiana) received the 2010 Pinnacle Award for the program “1859 Balloon Voyage Exhibit Launch” from the Hoosier Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) recognizing Indiana’s best and brightest communicators for work completed in 2009.