affiliations conference preview: spaces for learning

Do you operate an education center at your museum, or thinking about it?  Join us at the Affiliations National Conference on June 10-12  to meet colleagues who are opening or running new spaces for learning on the Smithsonian campus.  Through tours of these spaces, frank discussions with colleagues, exchanging resources and research, and hands-on activities, discover and share what makes an education center such a vital place in a museum.

Affiliations staff is currently working with the following museums to feature their education spaces:qurious

  • The National Museum of Natural History will be opening Q?RIUS in 2013, a new interactive 10,000 square foot programming space.  Q?RIUS will have access to a 20,000 specimen collection representing all departments of the museum, innovative programming and distance learning opportunities.
  • The National Museum of the American Indian’s imagiNATIONS activity center invites families to explore how Native peoples have adapted to natural environments with innovation.  Visitors can explore different kinds of transportation (snowshoes and skateboards), homes (tipis, adobes, igloos), hands-on activities (basket-weaving, Native percussion), and more.
  • The National Museum of American History is undergoing a major renovation that will result in new education spaces when they reopen in 2015.  Affiliates can talk to the staff about their planning and prototyping process, the “Object Project” and demonstration spaces, and explore possible collaboration opportunities.
  • The National Air and Space Museum’s Moving Beyond Earth gallery is an immersive space that puts visitors “in orbit.”  Affiliates can enter their Shuttle mock-up to learn about life in orbit (including the space toilet), or play the interactive SpaceFlight Academy, a group quiz that tests flight readiness.
  • The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s very popular ARTLAB+ is a digital media studio forARTLAB teens.  Staff will share how they provide access to professional technology and art, coupled with mentorship, to develop a community of young creators and innovators.   

Come to the Affiliations National Conference in Washington, D.C., on June 10-12, and bring your own experiences with education spaces to share with Smithsonian and Affiliate colleagues in these hands-on tours.  See you there!

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.

introducing the mobile app clinic

Nancy Proctor, Head of Mobile Strategy & Initiatives at the Smithsonian Institution and the staff of Smithsonian Affiliations invite you to participate in a Mobile Clinic, a new opportunity as a benefit of your Affiliation that will introduce you to developing mobile tour apps.  On Wednesday, February 27 (3-5 pm EST), Nancy will present two open source platforms that Affiliates and Smithsonian staff can use: one for crowdsourcing, and the other for creating museum tours. We’ll also talk about data feeds and APIs that give greater access to Smithsonian collections, exhibition, event and other data available that may be of interest. Join us and begin an online conversation about mobile possibilities.

Photo courtesy Smithsonian EdLab.

Photo courtesy Smithsonian EdLab.

What will we discuss?
In our first Mobile Clinic, we’d like to introduce Affiliates to the available open source platform that the Smithsonian uses for developing basic museum tour apps, the supported access that will be provided, and updates to these tools and platforms as we move forward. In addition, we’d like to begin the conversation on partnership opportunities on mobile projects that may be available. Most importantly, we’d like to hear directly from Affiliates about what resources you have and those you’d like to see available. 

How will we get together?
We’ll be using Vidyo. It’s a video conferencing application that installs a small component on the desktop which allows for active engagement via web camera and microphone.  Click here to access the Vidyo conference room with your webcam and mic. 

What if I don’t have a web cam or mic?
The Vidyo platform will allow us to provide those without a web cam or microphone with a unique URL to access the meeting. The URL will show a live stream of the event–you’ll see and hear everything–but you won’t be able to live chat. You can still participate and ask questions though! While viewing the web stream, you can email your questions to affiliates@si.edu where we’ll be monitoring them as they come in to share with the online group. Click here to access the webcast.

nmai_ny_app

The National Museum of the American Indian’s new app for the exhibit “C. Maxx Stevens House of Memory.”

Is there an example of a mobile tour created with this tool?
Yes! Check out the free app from the National Museum of the American Indian in New York.

We hope the Mobile Clinic will be useful to you. We certainly look forward to hearing about Affiliate projects using mobile technology and how we might create a community of practice to discuss our ongoing challenges and successes.

coming up in affiliateland in february 2013

FLORIDA
The Mennello Museum of American Art opens the African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era and Beyond exhibition, with 100 artworks on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, in Orlando, 2.1.

PENNSYLVANIA
The Heinz History Center opens 1968: The Year that Rocked America exhibition which contains three artifacts on loan from the National Air and Space Museum, in Pittsburgh, 2.2.

CALIFORNIA
The Sonoma County Museum opens SITES’ Mail Call exhibition in Santa Rosa, 2.10.

The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum opens its Native FilmFest with National Museum of the American Indian guest programmer Elizabeth Weatherford in Palm Springs, 2.27.

OHIO & PENNSYLVANIA
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Heinz History Center will take part in the National Youth Summit on Abolition, in partnership with the National Museum of American History, in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, 2.11.

kudos Affiliates! february 2013

2013 begins with success for our Affiliates!

Funding

Science Museum Oklahoma (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) announced the museum has been awarded a $12 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and plans to open a new exhibit area for young children. The new 21,000-square-foot exhibit space will be devoted to children between 3 and 6 years old. The museum also plans a new main entrance and lobby along with improved parking and updated landscaping.

Mystic Seaport (Mystic, Connecticut) was awarded a $100,000 grant by the Beagary Charitable Trust which the museum will use to create activities and learning tools for use in school, at the museum and online.  The funding will be used to develop educational programs to coincide with the completed restoration and 38th voyage of the museum’s 1841 whale ship, Charles W. Morgan. The designation will afford students across the state an opportunity to learn about Connecticut maritime history, the significance of the whaling industry and the importance of the state’s maritime heritage.

The Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, Michigan) received $750,000 as part of the investment in Detroit arts and culture from the Knight Foundation. The grant will enhance the annual Concert of Colors free global music festival, of which the museum is lead producer. In particular, the Knight funding will restore the summer festival’s annual Forum on Community, Culture & Race and help rebuild the Cultural Exchange Network of 50 arts groups that originally facilitated the Concert of Colors.

Pennsylvania Humanities Council recently funded a film and art series to complement “Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges,” at the National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). The exhibit focuses on the story of Jewish professors who fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s and found positions at historically black colleges and universities in the Jim Crow South.

The Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, California) received a $25,000 donation from Hyundai Motor America that will go toward the purchase of a bus to be used to provide free tours and art workshops to students from the Los Angeles area.

AAM Accreditation

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) announced that 10 museums have been newly accredited and 13 museums earned re-accreditation at the November 2012 meeting of the Accreditation Commission. Accredited status from the Alliance is the highest national recognition achievable by an American museum. The following Affiliate museums were awarded accreditation.  Congratulations!

Executive Transitions

  • Smithsonian Affiliations would like to extend our best wishes to Robert Ellis, who served 35 years at The Air Zoo (Portage, Michigan).  Former Da Vinci Science Center executive director and CEO, Troy Thrash has been named new chief executive at The Air Zoo.
  • We bid a fond farewell to Paul Knappenberger  who served 22 years at the Adler Planetarium (Chicago, Illinois). Astrophysicist Michelle Larson has been named as the next president of the Adler.
  • Affiliations welcomes Mark Lizewskie, new executive director at the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum (Hershey, Pennsylvania).

Kudos Affiliates! for December 2012

Congratulations to Affiliates for a great year, and may 2013 be just as prosperous! 

Three Affiliates received MetLife grants to support programming around SITES exhibitions: 

  • Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center (Mashantucket, CT) received $4,990 to fund construction of an outdoor skateboard park which will be used during the public opening and summer kick-off events for the exhibition Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America.  The grant will also support an honorarium for skate-boarder, Walt Pourier, who will lead a skate deck workshop, art projects, and skating skills demonstration, as well as act as the artist-in-residence at the summer kick-off event. 
  • Sonoma County Museum (Santa Rosa, CA) received $4,700 to fund the honoraria and marketing for an event featuring a local story-telling group whose performance will involve narratives connected to the theme of military mail, particularly focusing on the ways it has connected service men and women to the public during war time. The grant will also support materials and marketing for a free family day. Additionally, funding will assist with the cost of materials and marketing for an augmented tour program which will be a series of docent-led tours for school children. All programming relate to themes of the exhibition Mail Call
  • American Textile History Museum (Lowell, MA) received $5,000 to fund speaker fees and promotion for lecturers such as astronaut, Daniel Barry, space suit designer, Dava Newman, and Apollo 13 Mission Control engineer, David Reed.  The grant will also support craft and activity materials for a free family day, as well as the construction of and materials for hands-on interactives at activity stations. All programming relate to themes of the exhibition Suited for Space.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his wife, Gene  donated $5 million to the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science (Dallas, TX).  Their donation funded the Perot Museum’s atrium, the naturally lit entrance area that spans almost 14 stories high. The area will be named the Gene and Jerry Jones Dallas Cowboys Atrium. 

The Ohio Historical Society (Columbus, OH) received $30,000 from the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area to help repair damage to the Bimeler Museum in Zoar, which was badly damaged by a flood in 2005. 

Challenger Space Center (Peoria, AZ) has been selected to receive a STEM grant for $94,013 from the APS Foundation. The grant will support the Center’s new Statewide STEM Mobile Outreach program, which will bring hands-on learning activities to schools in rural areas around the state beginning in 2013.

Calling All Affiliates!

Smithsonian Affiliations regularly collaborates with colleagues to engage Affiliate partners in projects throughout the Institution.  Here’s a look at a few current projects, and opportunities for the future. Let us know if you are interested in learning more about any of these! 

immigrationSmithsonian Immigration/Migration Initiative (SIMI)

  • In January 2012, eight Affiliate representatives served on the advisory committee for this project. 
  • In the summer 2012, the Affiliations office, collaborating with SIMI and central Smithsonian Education, received a grant to conduct a feasibility study of the Affiliate network.  A central goal of this initiative is to engage youth in digital, self-documentary projects about their experiences with immigration and migration.  The feasibility study is designed to identify those Affiliates who have both an interest in this topic and the youth target audience, as well as the capacity to collaborate in the development of digital products for possible exhibition in years to come.  In addition to a survey to be sent in January 2013, the feasibility study includes support for select focus groups, and a pilot program at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.
  • On a parallel track, colleagues in the Smithsonian EdLab are working with teachers to design mission-based challenges that link the themes of SIMI to school curricula.  Working with Affiliate educators at the International Museum of Arts and Sciences in McAllen, Texas, to test a pilot model of the program, EdLab colleagues are interested in expanding the project to work with other Affiliates.  They will be leading a workshop on this topic at the Affiliations Annual Conference, June 10-12, 2013. 

Young Historians, Living Histories

  • This is an educational initiative to engage underserved youth in Asian Pacific American communities. Young Historians, Living Histories is funded by the Smithsonian’s Youth Access Grant program.  The program is led by the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center, in partnership with Smithsonian Affiliations.  The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) and Smithsonian staff will prepare comprehensive instructional programs and curriculum guides that will be used to train educators to implement the youth workshops.  Youth will learn a variety of 21st century skills, methods of community outreach, digital storytelling and more to explore, contextualize, and deepen their understanding of Asian Pacific American history and culture while learning new technologies.  Nine Affiliate partners will be selected to participate in helping to reach the target youth audience, as well as bring together critical community partners to support the program.   

    Six Affiliates and their community partners kick off the Places of Invention project with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. Photo: National Museum of American History

    Staff from six Affiliates and their community partners kick off the Places of Invention project at a day-long workshop with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. Photo: National Museum of American History

Places of Invention (POI)

  • Six Affiliates are currently serving as partners in the Places of Invention project, an initiative of the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.  Supported by a major grant from NSF, Places of Invention Affiliate partners are conducting extensive community research, the products of which will be shared in an interactive map in a 2015 exhibition at the National Museum of American History. 
  • The POI team has funds to train 20 more Affiliates to document their communities, and will be sharing their work at the Affiliations Annual Conference, June 10-12, 2013.  nys

National Youth Summits

  • In collaboration with the National Museum of American History, Affiliates have hosted several Youth Summits, wherein students from across the country watch a live webast program in D.C., and then continue the discussion with experts in their home communities.  The Freedom Rides National Youth Summit featured five Affiliate partners in February 2011; and the Dust Bowl National Youth Summit partnered with nine Affiliates in October 2012.
  • More National Youth Summits are being planned for the future, with Affiliate participation.  A program on Abolition is set to take placeon February 11, 2013; Latino history in America in fall 2013; and one commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act in 2014. 

Let’s Do History tour

  • This is a national outreach program that brings the National Museum of American History’s resources and strategies to communities nationwide.  Designed to energize and support K-12 social studies teachers, the program introduces them to exciting and effective techniques, powerful online tools, and standards-based content they can use in their classrooms.  In each targeted city, Smithsonian colleagues work with Affiliate educators to highlight local resources. 
  • In 2012, Affiliates in Alabama, Texas, South Dakota, and Tennessee took part in presenting their own educational resources.
  • In the coming years, the National Museum of American History is looking at cities in Hawaii, Louisiana, California, Washington, and Oklahoma. 

    Courtesy Pinhead Institute.

    Courtesy Pinhead Institute.

Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos

  • Thirteen Affiliates took part in the YCCC program, a collaboration with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.  The goal of the program is to teach youth participants to control robotic telescopes over the internet.  Participants learned to take their own astronomy images of the universe. Images created have been displayed in astrophotography exhibitions featuring their unique images, captions, poems, and comparisons to images taken by NASA’s space-based observatories. The program promotes increased interest, awareness, and knowledge of astronomy content, understanding of technology and proficiency in real scientific research skills.  Participating Affliates will be offering a second round of astrophotography workshops in 2013. 

One Giant Leap

  • An initiative of the National Air and Space Museum, the pending proposal to NSF is designed to create mentoring opportunities for African American students interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.  Affiliate participation will include hosting videoconference sessions with scientists from NASA and the Smithsonian, and supporting the local mentoring partners.