coming up in affiliateland – december 2011 and january 2012

a busy ending to 2011… and full steam ahead into 2012!  

TEXAS:
The
Frontiers of Flight Museum hosts the the National Air and Space Museum’s At the Controls in Dallas, 12/1.

GEORGIA:
The
Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History celebrated its 10th anniversary as a Smithsonian Affiliate in Kennesaw, 12/3.

COLORADO:
The
Littleton Museum hosts SITES’ 125 Years of Lasting Light: Grand Canyon Photography in Littleton, 12/8.

TENNESSEE:
The
American Museum of Science and Energy hosts SITES’ Earth From Space in Oak Ridge, 12/16.

FLORIDA:
The
Mennello Museum of Art will host SITES’ William H. Johnson: An American Modern in Orlando, 1/6.

MISSISSIPPI:
The Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center will present a professional development workshop at the
Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, 1/12.

FLORIDA:
The
Orange County Regional History Center will host SITES’ Beyond Baseball: Roberto Clemente in Orlando, 1/21.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:
Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA), Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, AL), National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia, PA), Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI), Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, CA), Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA), Institute of Texan Cultures (San Antonio, TX), and the Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, OH) will participate in a two day meeting to brainstorm ways in which the institutions could work together to foster civic engagement on immigration/migration issues, 1/25-1/26.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:
The
Rubin Museum of Art (New York, NY), the Museum of Nature and Science (Dallas, TX), Miami Science Center (Miami, FL), and the California Science Center (Los Angeles, CA)  will participate in planning meeting for a National Symposium on Early Learning, 1/27-28.

CALIFORNIA:
The
Columbia Memorial Space Center will host SITES’ Suited for Space in Downey, 1/28.

 

First Look: SITES’ Evolving Universe

Our Sun is only one of 100 billion stars in our galaxy. Without it, life on Earth would not be possible. What we know about our Sun serves as the foundation for what we understand about distant stars. Credit: NASA/Lockheed Martin/SAO.

Special thanks to Ed Liskey, Senior Scheduling & Exhibitor Relations Coordinator, Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, for this guest post.

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) is pleased to offer Smithsonian Affiliates an early opportunity to be among the first venues to host the new The Evolving Universe traveling exhibition.  The Evolving Universe will feature 27 full-color, oversize images that will explore what we know about the history and structure of our solar system, the Milky Way and other galaxies and the universe as a whole. 

Two bright pinpoints of light in NGC 6240 show two supermassive black holes merging in the galaxy’s center. The black holes are only 3,000 light years apart and have been spiraling toward each other for about 30 million years. Credit: NASA/CXC/MIT, NASA/STScI.

 

Through these stunning photographs and engaging text, visitors will travel back in time and space to the beginnings of our universe.  With specialized content targeting both the young and curious as well as more technically-savvy visitors, The Evolving Universe will have wide appeal.  Act now to host this exciting exhibition of the latest cosmological knowledge and the amazing technologies scientists use to attain that knowledge.  Learn more and see additional exhibition images on SITES’ The Evolving Universe website.

 

During the supergiant and supernova phases of star death, nuclear reactions fuse helium and carbon into heavier elements, such as silicon (seen in green in this image) and iron (red). These elements are ejected forcibly in clouds that are light-years in diameter, seeding the next generation of star formation with the elements that make up planets like Earth. Credit: NASA/CXC/MIT/UMass-Amherst.

 

 

kudos! december 2011 – january 2012

Congratulations Affiliates on ending the year so strong!

Two Affiliates received SITES’ Smithsonian Community Grants, supported by MetLife Foundation:

        The Orange County Regional History Center (Orlando, Florida) received $5,000 to fund honoraria, travel, materials and marketing for three programs related to the themes of Beyond Baseball: The Life of Roberto Clemente.   

        The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture (Baltimore, Maryland) received $3,310 to fund a panel, “Clemente in Context/Clemente en Contexto,” to provide museum visitors with some historical and cultural context about Afro-Latino populations in the Caribbean and in the United States. All programming relate to the themes of Beyond Baseball: The Life of Roberto Clemente and IndiVisible: African-Natives Lives in the Americas.

 Chabot Space and Science Center (Oakland, California) received $200,000 to fund the Redwoods overnight environmental education center from the Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council which promotes programs and projects to bring young people in touch with the environment. 

The Center for Jewish History (New York, New York), announce the expansion of its international fellowship program to include senior scholars, early career scholars and emerging artists and writers through a new five-year, $750,000 grant from The Vivian G. Prins Foundation. The grant will support fellowships for those who seek permanent teaching and research positions in North America.

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) received a $5 million gift from the estate of the late William S. Dietrich II to turn a vacant building into an artifacts storage facility and conservation center. The Center also received a $2 million grant from UPMC to support educational programs and operations at the museum, where the library and archives will be renamed for Thomas and Katherine Detre.

Three Affiliates received Art Works grant awards from the
National Endowment for the Arts:

     Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, Michigan) will receive a $40,000 grant to support the 2012 Great Lakes Folk Festival. In collaboration with the City of East Lansing, the university will produce a festival that showcases the traditional music, dance, foodways, and other cultural expressions of the nation’s Upper Midwest using an innovative approach, highlighting the cultural sustainability and adaptive reuse (recycling) inherent in traditional culture in conjunction with modern technology (a solar powered stage).

     Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art (Biloxi, Mississippi) will receive $34,000 to support the exhibition, George Edgar Ohr: Apostle of Individuality. Designed to be installed in the Knight Gallery, the exhibition will include works by Mississippi ceramic artist George Ohr.

     Whatcom Museum (Bellingham, Washington) will receive $34,000 to support the exhibition, Vanishing Ice: Alpine and Polar Landscapes in Art, 1775-2012. The exhibition will examine the artistic legacy of the planet’s frozen frontiers — glaciers, icebergs, and fields of ice– now jeopardized by climate change through the presentation of 75 works.

Science Museum Oklahoma (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) received a $1 million donation from Love’s Travel Stops to help kick off a capital campaign and $30 million renovation for the museum entrance and the addition of a permanent exhibit aimed at introducing young children to science.

Putnam Museum and IMAX Theatre (Davenport, Iowa) received $5,000 award from the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend to support the Putnam Power Mission video production. 

Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, Massachusetts) will receive a $235,000 grant from the state’s Cultural Facilities Fund to fund repairs, improvements, and expansions. 

The Coca-Cola Foundation awarded $50,000 to the North Carolina Museum of History (Raleigh, North Carolina) for the development and implementation of the initiative “Educational Outreach Programs for North Carolina Students.”

Two Affiliates were recipients of the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) 2011 Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives awards:

     Center for Jewish History (New York, New York) received $229,600 to fund Illuminating Hidden Collections at the Center for Jewish History.

     San Diego Museum of Man (San Diego, California) received $115,200 to fund Capturing History: Cataloging the San Diego Museum of Man’s Photographic Collection.

 

 

 

New Tricks from an Old Mummy

Special thanks for this guest post to Sarah Wisseman, Director, Program on Ancient Technologies and Archaeological Materials, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Photo courtesy Bill Wiegand, UI News Bureau.

The University of Illinois Roman-period Egyptian mummy at the Spurlock Museum has undergone two radiologic investigations using Computerized Tomography (CT), twenty years apart. In 1990, an interdisciplinary team was convened to investigate the mummy before it went on display. Since autopsy was not permitted, we concentrated on non-destructive imaging supplemented by materials analyses of tiny bits of hardened resin, cloth, and insects from the damaged foot and ankle area of the mummy. The initial results showed that the mummy was a child (because of dental development and open growth plates) with a broken head and a collapsed chest. CT images showed some kind of packing material (cloth or mud?) around the limbs and a wooden, so-called “stiffening” board under the body inside the linen wrappings. The insects turned out to be carrion beetles, implying that the child’s body was in a partially decayed state before it was wrapped up. 

The brain, heart, and lungs were still in place inside the mummy, but as our consulting radiologist Dr. Joseph Barkmeier at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, IL, commented, “they’re all dried up and moved around.” Lack of evisceration and a concentration on the exterior decoration instead of tissue preservation are features of many Roman period mummies. So is the wooden board wrapped up underneath the body. The sex of the child could not be determined because the pelvic region was obscured by layers of tissues and wrappings. But identifying the sex of a young child based upon skeletal remains alone is not very reliable in the best of circumstances. 

Photo courtesy Dr. David Hunt, using OsiriX software.

In 2011, we decided to re-scan the mummy utilizing vastly improved imaging technology and computer software. David Hunt, Physical Anthropologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, was a consultant on the new project. 

Internal organs, packing, and bone fractures are much more clearly visible from the new CT imaging. Dr. Hunt was able to age the mummy child more precisely to about 8.5 years at the time of death by identifying the growth and development of the dentition. However, the measurements of the long bones of the legs were shorter than expected by the dental age, suggesting that the child suffered from some levels of malnutrition or illness. Unfortunately, sex is still unknown because the pelvis is collapsed and cannot be measured for physiological identification and soft tissue organs are not discernable since the densities of bone, tissue, and wrappings are very close in density values, making clear observations problematic. 

In the thoracic cavity, desiccated organs lie up against the spine, and the spine shows signs of compression fractures (post-mortem). The occipital fracture is more severe than we originally thought, and a piece of the skull is inside the cranial cavity. Some brain tissue is clearly visible, but it is probable that the embalmers removed portions of the brain through the back of the head, certainly not through the nose. 

The 2011 images show that the embalmers used wads of cloth rather than mud or plant material to pad out the thin little body and make it appear more life-like. A recent pigment analysis by the Getty Conservation Institute confirms that the red colorant on the stucco surface is lead oxide, or minium, from Rio Tinto, Spain, and that it matches that of nine other “red shroud,” Roman-period mummies published the new book Herakleides: A Portrait Mummy from Roman Egypt by Lorelei Corcoran and Marie Svoboda. This finding reinforces our conclusion that the Spurlock mummy child came from a well-to-do family in Roman Egypt that could afford expensive ingredients such as the red pigment and gold leaf seen on the mummy wrappings. 

At Dr. Hunt’s request, forensic artist Joe Mullins of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) used the new CT scans to digitally reconstruct the child’s head and face. The result, with several possible hairstyles, shows that the mummy child was of West Asian or Mediterranean heritage, just as one might expect from the cosmopolitan population living in the Fayum region of Egypt at that time. 

Photo courtesy Joe Mullins, NCMEC.

For more on the University of Illinois mummy, visit: http://www.isas.illinois.edu/atam/research/mummy/index.html 

The Spurlock Museum at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been in association with the Smithsonian Institution since 2005. To find a Smithsonian Affiliate in your neighborhood, click here.

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 near you:  

In 1954, Clemente signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. “I didn’t even know where Pittsburgh was,” Clemente later admitted. This image was taken on the field in 1957. AP/Wide World Photo

November 5, 2011 – January 1, 2012
Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture(Baltimore, Maryland)
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.
Special programming in conjunction with the exhibition

  • On Sundays throughout the month of November, visitors to the museum can participate in SUNDAYS @ 2 FILMS series. Featured films are: Béisbol: The Latin Game, Third World California, From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale, and Yo soy Boricua, pa’que tu lo sepas! (“I’m Puerto Rican, Just So You Know!”).
  • Raise Your Brown Black Fist: The Political Shouts of an Angry Afro-Latino (Book Talk) (Saturday, December 10, 2 p.m.) Through political commentary, author, screenwriter, activist and journalist Kevin Alberto Sabio addresses the unspoken African heritage of Latino culture, the exclusion of Afro-Latinos from mainstream American and Latino society and the hidden history of unity between the two. 

Radmilla Cody, Miss Navajo Nation, and her grandmother, 2006. Radmilla Cody became Miss Navajo in 1997. Although she proved her cultural knowledge, her selection was controversial in the Navajo community because she has mixed race heritage. © 2009 John Running

November 5, 2011 – January 1, 2012
Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture(Baltimore, Maryland)
IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas
IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas explores historical and contemporary stories of peoples and communities whose shared histories are woven into the fabric of American identity but whose presence has long been invisible to many in the United States.
Special programming in conjunction with the exhibition:

  • Painted Gourd: Red and Black Voices (Saturday, November 5, 3 p.m.) Penny Gamble Williams, a descendant from the Chappaquiddick Band of the Wampanoag Nation of Massachusetts, examines the intercultural relationships between Native American and African Americans.
  • Genealogy Workshop: Researching Black Indian Ancestry East of the Mississippi (Saturday, November 19, 10:30 a.m.)Join author and blogger Angela Walton-Raji for a presentation on research methods of documenting African American and Native American family history.
  • Native American Dance Presentation (Cultural Program) (Saturday, November 26, 2 p.m.) Native American dancers with the Baltimore American Indian Center perform social dances that explain their history.
  • SUNDAYS @ 2 FILMS:  Black Indians: An American Story (Sunday, December 4, 2 p.m.) 

Filipino and other Asian immigrants were recruited as early as the mid-1800s to accommodate the agricultural demands of the West Coast and Hawai’i. Courtesy Center for Labor Education and Research, University of Hawai’i at West O’ahu

November 12, 2011 – January 22, 2012
Sonoma County Museum
(Santa Rosa, California)
Singgalot: (The Ties That Bind) Filipinos in America, from Colonial Subjects to Citizens
Today there are more than 2.5 million Filipino Americans in the U.S. Yet many, including Filipinos themselves, aren’t familiar with the details of their history in America: their experiences, rich traditions, and culture. Singgalot is their story.
Special programming in conjunction with the exhibition:

  • Film Screening: Remembering Our Manongs: Sonoma County’s Filipino History (Fri Dec 9, 2011 6:00pm – 8:00pm) A moving film documenting the Filipino presence in Sonoma County, produced with the help of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS).
  • Filipino-themed Family Day(Sat Dec 10, 2011 11:00am – 2:00pm) Activities will include dance and martial arts demonstrations, traditional Filipino children’s games, face painting, hands-on musical instruments, and more.

Salute to Matkatamiba. Photo by Kate Thompson

December 3, 2011 – February 26, 2012
Littleton Museum
 
(Littleton, Colorado)
Lasting Light: 125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography
Covering nearly 125 years of photographic history, the exhibition includes images of early photographers dangling from cables to get the perfect shot, their cumbersome camera equipment balanced precariously on their shoulders. More modern images are bold and dramatic, revealing the canyon’s capricious weather, its flora and fauna, waterfalls and wading pools, and awesome cliffs and rock formations. 

 

 

Untitled Still Life, Flowers, ca. 1936-1938. Oil on burlap. Courtesy Morgan State University and SITES.

December 24, 2011 – March 18, 2012
Mennello Museum of American Art
(Orlando, Florida)
William H. Johnson: An American Modern
A virtuoso skilled in various media and techniques, William Henry Johnson (1901-1970) produced thousands of works over a career that spanned decades, continents, and genres. Now, on view in its entirety for the first time, a seminal collection covering key stages in Johnson’s career. This exhibition of 20 expressionist and vernacular landscapes, still life paintings, and portraits explores the intricate layers of Johnson’s diverse cultural perspective as an artist and self-described “primitive and cultured painter.”  

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

January 21 – March 18, 2012
Orange County Regional History Center (Orlando, Florida)
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.
Special programming in conjunction with the exhibition:

  • Steve Blass on Baseball: A Pirate’s Life (January 21, 2012 – 6:00pm – 9:00pm) Steve Blass, former teammate and close friend of Roberto Clemente, helps the History Center celebrate the opening of the exhibition with a showing of the rare 1975 film, Roberto Clemente: A Touch of Royalty, that chronicles the contributions of Clemente. 

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

“It’s more than just an instrument.” Smithsonian cultural specialist travels to Charlotte, NC, for Native American Heritage Celebration

I met Dennis Zotigh (Kiowa/Ohkay Owingeh/Santee Dakota), museum cultural specialist at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), after he had finished a short performance in the rotunda at the museum. He had begun softly beating the drum and as it grew louder, heads appeared over the railings three floors up and visitors gathered from all over the museum. 

Dennis Zotigh at the National Museum of the American Indian.

 “There’s a technique in this.  It’s more than an instrument. It’s an embodiment of the human spirit and it speaks from spirit to spirit.  There is a natural progression that is not evident unless you know it’s happening,” said Zotigh. “I start very low and the louder it gets, people back up and a natural circle is made around the instrument drawing people all over to gather in the circle.”  

People in mid-conversation, couples arguing, and even children playing in the hallway naturally stopped to focus on his drumming. “It’s soothing. It speaks to them. And for just a few moments, they leave their problems. The drum is more than just an aesthetic piece. It’s an embodiment of the heartbeat of the Indian culture,” said Zotigh after the performance. 

Most days you can find Zotigh in the hallways and galleries at NMAI where he’s engaging with visitors and teaching them about Native American culture. He’s been asked everything from the most basic to the most scholarly of questions and is eager to share his knowledge with anyone.  A performer all his life, Zotigh has traveled all over the world performing for multicultural audiences and oftentimes introducing them to something they’ve never been aware of before. 

Zotigh performing a Hoop Dance in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

This November you can find Zotigh at The Charlotte Museum of History (CMH), a Smithsonian Affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he’ll be participating in the 3rd Annual American Indian Heritage Month Celebration. Never having been to Charlotte, Zotigh was invited by a former Smithsonian Affiliations Intern Partner, Brandie Macdonald (Choctaw/Chickasaw), whom he met while she interned in the Education Department at NMAI during the summer of 2011. At the CMH, Macdonald is Education and Volunteer Coordinator and has already taken the practical experience she learned on the national level from the Smithsonian and translated it to successful programming on the state level for docents and CMH’s educational programs. Zotigh’s appearance at the American Indian Heritage Month Celebration also coincides with the exhibition Native Words, Native Warriors, organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, and currently on view at CMH.

At the American Indian Heritage Month Celebration, Zotigh will be participating in a blessing of the grounds, a hoop dance workshop, hand drum demonstration and a performance called “Musical Journey Through Indian Country: Diverse Songs from Alaska to Florida.”  He’s spoken before queens, attorney generals, heads of state, presidents, university students, and children with the goal of crossing cultural divides and reaching out to communities.  When he’s not traveling, Zotigh continues the conversation on his blog, Beyond FAQ: Let’s Talk, at NMAI. 

**Smithsonian Affiliates interested in bringing Smithsonian speakers like Dennis Zotigh to their neighborhoods should contact their Smithsonian Affiliations National Outreach Manager for more information.**