Building Funding Partnerships Together – Smithsonian and Affiliates

Photo courtesy the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO).

While we work together to bring collections, educational programming and a variety of resources to museums and communities across the country, we plan to offer Affiliates additional benefits by expanding  our partnership activities and identifying  support for our shared goals –  both Smithsonian and Affiliate goals. Through joint fundraising, the Smithsonian as a national organization can open doors to new funding opportunities and develop support for collaborative initiatives not easily accessible to regional museums and organizations.

Over the past year, Smithsonian Affiliations has taken a first step in scaling up partnerships and benefits by including Affiliates in Smithsonian funded grant programs. Affiliates have begun to play an integral role in Smithsonian projects and are providing a national voice in Smithsonian initiatives. Moving beyond these internal funding sources, we will be developing a model of fundraising that includes Affiliates and units from across the Smithsonian to engage donors, national corporations, government funding sources, and foundations with the goal of providing support for Affiliate projects.

NEH grants allowed five Affiliates to engage students and teachers both in person and via the webcast during the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Humanities collaboration “National Youth Summit: The 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides.”

In the conference session in June, the Smithsonian’s Development Director for Education and Access, Michael Dunagan, and the Director of the Office of Sponsored Projects, Scott Robinson, will discuss how the Smithsonian and Affiliates can build partnerships and collaborate to increase funding opportunities for joint initiatives.  The session will explore how we can work together more closely across the Affiliate network. We look forward to hearing from Affiliates, to create an ongoing dialogue to build this increased support, and to understand your priorities, as well as the needs of your audiences and communities.

We look forward to seeing you at our session, Fundraising as a Team Sport– We are the Team, on Wednesday, June 13, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. View the complete 2012 Affiliations National Conference agenda here.

coming up in affiliateland in june 2012

The San Diego Museum of Man will be hosting a reception for the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies during the International Society for Technology in Education in San Diego, 6.25.

The Michigan State University Museum will be represented in the Community and Culture Program of the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C., 6.27-7.8.

Following a week of training in June in Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian Latino Young Ambassadors will be interning for a month at the following Affiliate host sites:  California Science Center, Museum of Latin American Art, Chabot Space and Science Center, Miami Science Museum, Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, Ft. Worth Museum of Science and History, International Museum of Art and Science, and The Museum of Flight, 6.24-8.3.

kudos affiliates! june 2012

As summer heats up, so too do Affiliate accomplishments!

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced that the Lowell Festival Foundation along with Lowell National Historical Park (Lowell, Massachusetts) is one of 788 not-for-profit national, regional, state, and local organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. The Lowell Festival Foundation is recommended for a $30,000 grant to support the 2012 Lowell Folk Festival. 

The Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, Michigan) has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Michigan Traditional Arts Program. Totaling $80,000, the NEA grant will assist with documentation of traditional artists and folk arts events and develop social media tools to connect folk artists, audiences and other cultural workers. The Michigan Traditional Arts Program provides support for the Michigan Heritage Awards and Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, which research, document and share traditional arts and expressive culture of Michigan.

Inasmuch Foundation announced the distribution of $11.3 million in grants to 37 organizations in Oklahoma, including $500,000 to Science Museum Oklahoma (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) for the new Children’s Hall, 20,000 square feet of friendly streets, buildings and “outdoor” spaces containing interactive exhibits in which families can engage in a playful and child-friendly world of science play. Stafford Air and Space Museum (Weatherford, Oklahoma) received $50,000 for the restoration and outdoor display of two historic aircraft; and a busing and admissions assistance program for Oklahoma school children and senior citizens.

Conner Prairie Interactive History Park (Fishers, Indiana) received $5,000 from The Kroger Co. to support its K-12 education programs.

The Museum of Arts & Sciences (Daytona Beach, Florida) announced in cooperation with the City of Daytona Beach and the Volusia County Council, the Museum has been chosen as the site for a new structure – an expansion housing the collection of more than 2,600 Florida oil and watercolor paintings of Cici and Hyatt Brown as part of a $13 million gift from Cici and Hyatt Brown.

Dr. Annette B. Fromm of the Frost Museum (Miami, Florida) has been approved for candidacy for the Fulbright Specialists Roster, creating an opportunity to engage in short-term collaborative projects at host institutions in over 100 countries.

The Frank H. McClung Museum (Knoxville, Tennessee) received re-accreditation from AAM.


Tribute to former Secretary Heyman

Former Smithsonian Secretary I. Michael Heyman

 I. Michael Heyman served as the tenth Secretary of the Smithsonian from 1994-2000.  To celebrate his inspiring and productive years at the Institution, current Secretary Dr. Wayne Clough invites all Affiliate staff to join a program and reception at the National Museum of American History, Warner Bros. Theater, at 5pm on June 14.  

In his five years as Secretary he helped usher in a more dynamic Smithsonian, an Institution more thoroughly engaged with the American people.

Heyman’s signature program was the celebration of the Smithsonian’s 150th anniversary in 1996.  That event saw the unprecedented exhibition “America’s Smithsonian,” which traveled to major cities across the United States, and culminated in a Birthday Party on the National Mall. 

Heyman also oversaw the creation of the Smithsonian’s first website and established the Smithsonian Latino Center and the Asian Pacific American Program.   Heyman secured funding and presided over the groundbreaking of the National Museum of the American Indian, and received a key donation for the building of the Udvar-Hazy Center.

Of course, Heyman also initiated the Smithsonian Affiliations Program, which has grown into a network of more than 171 museums across the country.  His vision for the program, to get Smithsonian collections out of storage, has evolved into a truly two-way street of resource sharing and collaborations that impact communities nationwide. 

In the words of Secretary Clough, “Heyman was unflinchingly optimistic about the Smithsonian’s ability to be a force for knowledge and inspiration in our society.”  We are no less optimistic today, especially given the rich network of Smithsonian Affiliate partners that are such an important part of his legacy.  What better way to honor his passing than with our Affiliate colleagues.  We hope you can join us.


Partnering for success at the 2012 Affiliations National Conference

Smithsonian Resource Fair at the 2009 Affiliations National Conference.

The Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference is not only the best place to make an unexpected professional connection, but also an invaluable opportunity to raise awareness of the two-way street that exemplifies our partner network.  

During this year’s conference, Smithsonian and Affiliate staff will focus on:

  • Building and sustaining educational relationships with innovative programs that have a great impact on local communities and programs that use new technologies to inspire schools.
  • Exploring ways to increase funding through joint initiatives that reach across the Affiliate network.
  • Maximizing brand messages to connect your local story with the Smithsonian to bring your brand to life.
  • Understanding what to anticipate when embarking on a Smithsonian loan from the perspective of three Affiliate case studies.
  • Sharing results and strategizing next steps after a major study of the Affiliations program was concluded in 2011 during an Affiliations Town Hall. 

Each day will feature a new keynote speaker to inspire conference attendees during the course of the day’s activities.  The first keynote will tackle effecting fundamental change in our school systems by Sally Shuler, senior advisor to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education and Access; director of the National Science Resources Center from 1985-2012. Evelyn Lieberman, director, Smithsonian Office of Communications and External Affairs, will share the development of the Smithsonian’s new branding strategy as a force for unifying and energizing the work of the staff, museums, research programs, stakeholders and partners.  

An EdLab workshop where teachers demonstrated the intersection of museum content and real people.

Educators from the Smithsonian EdLab at the National Postal Museum offer a special session during the conference to introduce Affiliates to their teacher workshops and challenge participants to connect collections to real world issues. Working collaboratively, participants will develop ideas, gather opinions from visitors, and create a digital presentation using new media tools to demonstrate the value of museum collections in education. At the end of the workshop, Affiliates will find out how to stay involved for the summer and the upcoming school year. Remember to bring your tablet or smart phone if you plan on attending this session! 

And with the spirit of Ignite® and Pecha Kucha models in mind, we’re offering Collaboration Blitz: Rapid-Fire Smithsonian and Affiliate Partnership Opportunities. Eight Affiliate and Smithsonian representatives will take the stage for 7 minutes and share a partnership opportunity at their organization meant to stimulate thought and action for further collaboration.  

All registered Affiliate attendees are invited to attend three receptions to further network during the conference–ease in to the conference at the National Museum of African Art for the Welcome Reception on June 12; meet with your Senator at the Congressional Reception at the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on June 13; chat with Smithsonian staff at a special reception and tribute to I. Michael Heyman, 10th Secretary of the Smithsonian and founder of Smithsonian Affiliations, at the National Museum of American History on June 14.   

To register, book a hotel, view the agenda and more, visit 

The Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference is for current Affiliates only. If you are interested in becoming an Affiliate, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee for more information.

Center Stage at Headley-Whitney: The Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion

Special thanks for this guest post to Amy Gundrum Greene, Chief Administrator/Curator of Collections & Exhibitions at Headley-Whitney Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Lexington, Kentucky.

Photo courtesy Headley-Whitney Museum.

The Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion, a 1 to 5 (approx. 10’x10’x10’) scale model of the Pavilion in Beijing’s Forbidden City does not travel lightly.  The twelve large crates arrived on their own tractor trailer one overcast morning in September.  Forklifts were ready to lift the crates off the truck and then a series of pallet jacks and dollies were used to get them into the building.  A week later Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute Senior Conservator Don Williams and his crew of eight volunteers arrived to put the Pavilion together.  It was fascinating to watch as the men brought the Pavilion alive during just 2 ½ days.  

Don Williams and volunteers assemble the Pavilion. Photo courtesy Headley-Whitney Museum.

The Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion was going to be literally center stage for a year. We partnered with The Confucius Institute at the University of Kentucky to develop exhibits and programs to highlight Chinese culture during the Pavilion’s stay with us.  Two of our exhibits are Art on a Roll:  Modern Chinese Scrolls, on display until June and Modern Chinese Woodblock Prints coming in July.  We have also pulled Chinese ceramics from our permanent collection and put them out on display.  Along with The Confucius Institute we celebrated Chinese New Year on February 5th.  The celebration featured Chinese food, music, calligraphy and a Tai-Chi demonstration.  In addition there were workshops for children and adults to make paper lanterns and learn calligraphy.  Through our partnership with Smithsonian Affiliations, we are pleased to host the Pavilion through mid-September and hope many more people will enjoy it while it’s here at the Headley-Whitney Museum.


Tai-Chi demonstration at the museum. Photo courtesy Headley-Whitney Museum.