road report: Harold in San Antonio

I had the pleasure of announcing our new Affiliation with The Witte Museum in San Antonio on October 7, 2014.  By coincidence The Witte was also celebrating its 88th birthday, so it was a double pleasure.  Marise McDermott, President and CEO presided over the announcement ceremony which included San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor and City Council member Keith Toney.  Kind words were spread all around; as always I was humbled and honored to represent the Smithsonian.

San Antonio River runs by the Witte Museum, creating a 13 mile trail from Breckenridge Park to downtown.

San Antonio River runs by the Witte Museum, creating a 13 mile trail from Breckenridge Park to downtown.

I met many wonderful people at the Witte and discovered interesting connections between the Witte and the Smithsonian, especially in the field of paleontology and archaeology.  Dinosaurs once ruled south Texas, and Witte Museum Curator of Paleontology and Geology, Thomas Adams, Ph.D., is literally hot on their trail – uncovering dino tracks and other significant fossil remains.  Harry Shafer, Ph.D, Witte Museum Curator of Archeology, Professor Emeritus at Texas A&M University,  has been studying rock art along the lower Pecos River, among the most sophisticated finds in North America.

San Antonio's Chili Queens are alive and well (and widely appreciated) at the Witte Museum.

San Antonio’s Chili Queens are alive and well (and widely appreciated) at the Witte Museum.

The Smithsonian has many long-term interests in San Antonio.  The Smithsonian American Art Museum includes works by artists, Jesse Trevino and Mel Casas; Smithsonian Folkways documents the musical heritage of San Antonio, from legendary corrido singer Lydia Mendoza to Grammy Award winning Los Texmaniacs; and the Smithsonian Magazine recently paid tribute to San Antonio’s fabulous Chili Queens, 19th century food entrepreneurs who helped make the taco the world’s favorite meal.

The new South Texas Heritage Center at the Witte Museum -- a taste of more to come.

The new South Texas Heritage Center at the Witte Museum — a taste of more to come.

There’s a lot going on at the Witte on which to build our partnership and more to come when the museum completes Phase II of its grand expansion project in 2017.

Angelica Docog and Aaron Parks of the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, our other Affiliate in San Antonio, joined the festivities and then brought me back to see an amazing exhibit on Texas Quilts on display in their facility in Hemisphere Park.  We talked about several new exhibits they are planning to install including one on Sikh history and culture from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Angelica filled me in on the success of their Smithsonian Youth Access Grant, Young Historians/Living Histories and how it helped the Institute build bridges to San Antonio’s Korean community.

What would a Texas be without a long-horned steer?  This might be one of the longest long-horns.

What would a Texas be without a long-horned steer? This might be one of the longest long-horns.

One cannot visit San Antonio without feeling a sense of vibrancy – a growing city with a strong economy, a major convention and tourist destination, a proud history and a bright future.  How wonderful to see our Affiliate colleagues leading the charge.

Tomorrow, I get to announce another new Affiliate – Space Center Houston.  It’s a good week for lifting off!

let’s think like inventors

Smithsonian Affiliations would like to thank Kate Preissler, Digital Media Marketing Manager at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, for this guest post.

On October 11, the Berkshire Museum will become the fourth museum in the nation to host Spark!Lab, an exhibition developed at the Smithsonian Institution by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History (NMAH). By opening Spark!Lab we are joining with the Smithsonian in a nation-wide initiative to engage young people in acts of invention.

Staff at the Berkshire Museum get a chance to test out the Spark!Lab activities during a special training with Lemelson Center colleagues.

Staff at the Berkshire Museum get a chance to test out the Spark!Lab activities during a special training with Lemelson Center colleagues.

To prepare, colleagues from the Lemelson Center in Washington D.C. joined the Berkshire Museum staff for several days of training. A significant portion of the training had our staff trying out the activities that will be available in Spark!Lab. These activities, primarily engineering and design challenges, pose problems from the real world for visitors to solve. There are no right or wrong answers to Spark!Lab’s challenges; you may invent a solution that is completely different from my solution, yet we have both succeeded by solving the problem. These activities show young people that every brain is capable of creating something totally new and that by coming up with new ideas, we can make the world a better place for ourselves and each other.

As we tried out wind tunnels and tipping tables, it occurred to me that everyone, not just young people, probably craves opportunities to be inventive all the time. Individuals from all departments– marketing, security, visitor’s services, education – became deeply absorbed in the challenges presented. The mood in the room ran the gamut from laughter during experimentation to intense concentration on final designs, and many people had to be torn from the stations when it was time to move on. When we tested the activities with kids, the results were the same – no one wanted to leave!

The author can't look at her desk anymore without seeing all of the inventions that people devised to make life easier.

The author can’t look at her desk anymore without seeing all of the inventions that people devised to make life easier.

Until I encountered Spark!Lab and the Lemelson Center, ‘inventive creativity,’ especially as a skill set that could be learned, practiced, and honed, was not an idea to which I had given a lot of thought. So although learning about the activities and understanding what will be physically happening in our new space was valuable, it was the other aspects of our training that helped me to really understand the potential that Spark!Lab holds for altering perceptions and empowering the young people who visit the Museum.

During training we learned about many different inventors; inventions which have changed the course of history; and inventions which have made our lives a little easier in subtle ways. I spent the next few weeks seeing inventions everywhere. For instance, I sat at my desk and couldn’t help but notice that each of the items in front of me represented an idea from an actual person who saw a problem in need of a solution. And I don’t think I was the only one. My colleague Lesley Ann Beck came back to the second half of the training with a story about opening a pizza box and realizing that someone, somewhere, had gotten so frustrated with squished pizza and cheese stuck to lids, that they invented a small, round piece of plastic to keep the box lid from denting in, saving the pizza from damage. Once we started thinking about inventions, we couldn’t stop.

Spark!Lab under construction at the Berkshire Museum - a space which took inventive thinking to develop.

Spark!Lab under construction at the Berkshire Museum – a space which took inventive thinking to develop.

As construction of our Spark!Lab space in the Museum takes shape, this new lens has allowed me to see how our architects and staff have used inventive thinking to create a space that has to adapt to different needs, different audiences, and changing activities. It’s exciting to have a space for Spark!Lab that is the result of the creative inventiveness we’re trying to instill there.

We also had a discussion about ways to reinforce inventive thinking in kids, which gave me the chance to think back to my childhood and especially to my father, who built my sisters and me a workbench and encouraged us to create using wood scraps from his own projects. For years I used a Walkman held together by a wood nail because he loved to fix things instead of throwing them out. I thought about the pulley system he had rigged for our birdfeeder, which made it easy to fill but hard for squirrels to get to. I realized that my dad is one of those people who travels through the world with the eyes of an inventor. I also realized that not everyone has a person in his or her life to model and encourage these traits – but that by opening this space and staffing it with trained facilitators, our Museum could play that role for many.

You might now be asking, what do you mean when you say “the eyes of an inventor”? In the training, I wondered that too, and for me the best answer came from one of our facilitators, Michelle DelCarlo, Spark!Lab National Network Manager. She described inventors as people who encounter a problem and react by thinking “I can make this better.” With the mindset of an empowered inventor, problems become sources of motivation, not roadblocks or excuses to give up. So with that thought, I can’t wait to be a part of Spark!Lab because, really, what a wonderful world we could live in if each of us approached our days with inventors’ brains – not just seeing the problems, but feeling confident in our ability to solve them.

Spark!Lab will provide a space for young people in the Museum's community to think like inventors.

Spark!Lab will provide a space for young people in the Museum’s community to think like inventors.



Road Report: discoveries in Denver

We’ve all had this experience right? You have a favorite museum that you visit all the time. Then one day, you hear from staff about all the behind-the-scenes work they did to bring something amazing to the museum floor, and you gain a whole new perspective and appreciation of their work.

I had this delightful experience this week. Being from Colorado, I’ve visited the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS) many times with my family growing up. But I was fortunate to attend one day of the Mountain Plains Museum Association (MPMA) Conference in Aspen this week, and heard two staff from DMNS talk about two very different programs that revealed another dimension of their contributions to the community.

Kirk Johnson, former chief curator (and now director of the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian) gave the keynote talk at the MPMA Conference about their Snowmastodon Project, a massive and utterly unique discovery of Ice Age fossils at Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village in the Colorado Rockies.

National Museum of Natural History director Kirk Johnson, digging for mastodon bones in Colorado.

National Museum of Natural History director Kirk Johnson, digging for mastodon bones in Colorado.

In 2010, a bulldozer driver working on an expansion of the Reservoir uncovered bones of a juvenile mammoth. Years later, having tapped an army of volunteers including local school teachers from the Aspen area and world-renowned Ice Age scientists, the Museum recovered over 6000 bones from 50 different species from the site including Ice Age horses, a camel, mastodons of all ages, and a giant bison. There are no other comparable sites at this elevation (over 6000 feet), and the diversity of the mammals represented is extraordinary.

The fossils are now cleaned and preserved, and are in top-rate storage or on view for the benefit of scholars and the public. And the finishing touch? Just this week, the Museum installed a 19-foot bronze sculpture of a mastodon (which would have dwarfed a modern-day elephant by the way). Here’s a timelapse video of its installation.

Later in the afternoon, I sat in on an excellent session with Andréa Giron from the Museum’s Visitor Insights Department (and a Affiliations Visiting Professional alumna). Andréa discussed all the ways the Museum has researched its Latino audiences in particular, and the ways they are honing their programming to attract this important audience. Why? Because the Museum wants its visitation to mirror the demographics of its community (as we all do!), and can boast Latino visitation that is slightly higher than the national average as a result of their efforts. Andréa shared some great ideas such as:

Staff makes sure kids feel right at home at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Staff makes sure kids feel right at home at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

1) crowdsource translation of your materials so they actually make sense to your audience. Google Translate just doesn’t capture nuance!

2) Think about your family membership category. Latino audiences in particular tend to visit in multi-generational groups of 6 or more. DMNS created a Family Plus membership to respond.

3) Language can sometimes be a barrier. Andréa surveyed DMNS staff and found a range of Spanish-speakers, including security and facilities staff, who now wear buttons on the floor offering help to visitors in Spanish. (She also found unexpected speakers of Dutch and ASL experts as well!)

I am always inspired by the great work of our Affiliates, especially when I have the privilege to hear it first-hand from the colleagues doing it. Bravo DMNS! Can’t wait to bring my family back on my next visit to Colorado.

Jennifer Brundage is a National Outreach Manager in Smithsonian Affiliations.

Road Report: The Biomuseo Grand Opening in Panama

National Outreach Manager Alma Douglas is on the road in Panama this week celebrating the grand opening of the new Frank Gehry-designed Biomuseo (which opened on September 30, 2014). Dr. Matthew Larsen, Sharon Ryan and Beth King of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute joined in celebrating. While on her travels, she shared some great photos of the opening ceremony!


The colorful, Frank Gehry-designed museum which tells the story of Panama’s biological diversity from the formation of the isthmus of Panama over three million years ago.


Maria del Pilar Aroseman de Aleman, president of the Biomuseo gave opening remarks and introduced the new president of Panama Juan Carlos Varela.  President Varela acknowledged the long history (more than 100 years) of the Smithsonian in Panama and the special relationship the Biomuseo has with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the research and scholarship that the Institute has made available to the Panamanian people. Bruce Mau and the team of exhibition designers were also in attendance.  At a gala later that evening, Dr. Matthew Larsen, presented the Biomuseo with a Certificate of Affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution.



While in Panama, Alma had meetings with Dr. Larsen, STRI director, and with Public Programs Director Sharon Ryan at Punta Culebra, one of STRI’s education sites, and toured the exhibitions.  Not the best photo, but these are fossils found in Panama in a new exhibit by STRI at the Biomuseo.


And this is Sharon Ryan getting a tour of the Biomuseo with Alma.


And finally, everyone enjoying the Panamarama exhibit, a three-story projection space with ten screens will immerse the visitor in an audiovisual rendering of the natural marvels that compose all of Panama’s ecosystems.


Keep checking our blog for more Road Reports from Affiliateland!

The car of tomorrow… today (at an Affiliate in Pennsylvania)

Smithsonian Affiliations would like to thank Nancy Gates, Director of Marketing & Publicity at the Antique Automobile Museum of America Museum in Hershey, PA for this guest post.

Photo courtesy of the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum

Image courtesy of the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum

The enthusiasm and creativity that propelled Preston Tucker and his vision for the Tucker automobile is something that has captured many hearts.   Now, an extensivethe world’s largest- collection of 3 Tucker vehicles and other Tucker automobilia have found their new home at the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum [AACAM] in Hershey, Pennsylvania from the David Cammack Collection.

Mr. Cammack, an avid Tucker collector, passed away in 2013 and provided his extensive Tucker Collection to the AACA Museum.  His desire was to have this collection open to the public, and the AACA Museum is honored to be the caretakers of this collection.


A close-up look inside a Tucker automobile. Photo courtesy of the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum.

The Cammack collection includes three 1948 Tucker vehicles, the factory Tucker test chassis, thousands of engineering drawings and blueprints, original Tucker parts, several engines as well as other artifacts and displays.   The vehicles include Tucker #1001 – the first ‘production’ prototype; Tucker #1022; and Tucker #1026 – the only existing Tucker built with an automatic transmission.

A total of 51 Tuckers were built by hand in Chicago, of which 47 are known to still exist.  (Even the Smithsonian has one.) Preston Tucker and his story were detailed in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1988 film, Tucker: The Man and His Dream which certainly helped bolster the public’s intense fascination with the “Car of Tomorrow.”

The Tucker collection is being housed permanently in a dedicated 5,200 sq. ft. gallery that showcases the cars and chronicles Preston Tucker’s life and history.   AACAM will host a Grand Opening on October 8th to debut Phase 1 of the exhibit, and will continue to provide additional interactive elements to enhance the exhibit over time.

“The AACA Museum intends to educate our guests about Tucker’s process and determination to create something special,” stated Mark Lizewskie, Executive Director.   “We listened carefully to input from Mr. Cammack and his family, and we were quite pleased to learn that it mirrored our vision.  The end result needed to be something that would complement the stunning displays that are already on view throughout the Museum.  Being a permanent display, we knew the Cammack Tucker Gallery had to be fantastic right from the start.”

Preston Tucker’s family, including grandson John Jr. and great-grandsons Mike and Sean Tucker, has also endorsed the project, expressing their willingness to act as historical advisors.  Sean Tucker was elated to be a crucial part of the exhibit.  “The effort being put forth by the AACA Museum team in the presentation of the Cammack Tucker collection is not only an honor to the Tucker family but also to the man who had an amazing passion to preserve the history of the Tucker story,” exclaimed Sean Tucker.  “As a member of the Tucker family it is truly a privilege to serve as a historical advisor to this exciting endeavor.”

Take a drive through history!  Tickets for the grand opening are available by calling 717-566-7100 ext. 100 or online at

Preston Tucker's business card.  Photo courtesy of the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum.

Preston Tucker’s business card. Photo courtesy of the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum.


Click here to read more about the Tucker in Smithsonian Magazine and to see a video with collector David Cammack.

kudos affiliates! october 2014 accomplishments

Congrats to all Affiliates on your recent accomplishments!

With a historic gift from Drs. Nicholas A. and Dorothy M. Cummings of $3.5 million – following an earlier $1.5 million gift – the Center for the History of Psychology has its future secured and will be renamed the Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology. The multimillion dollar gift will allow the Cummings Center to expand its museum and construct a dedicated research space and offices for visiting scholars and staff. It also will fund an endowment to support a full-time associate director position, enabling the director to focus on fundraising and advancing the Cummings Center’s reputation.

Lowell National Historical Park is one of 65 national parks selected to receive a 2014 Ticket to Ride grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. The grant supports the programming and bus fees for 600 Nashua School District fifth graders to the Tsongas Industrial History Center (TIHC) to participate in the “River as a Classroom” program and explore the Merrimack River’s ecosystem by boat and or land.

The Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) has approved funding for two grants to The Ellen Noël Art Museum. The museum will received a $5,000 grant through the Arts Create program, and a $1,000 grant through the Arts Respond Project. The Arts Respond grant will support the ongoing collaboration with ECISD known as Fine Arts Connection. For over 20 years, this program has provided thousands of young students an opportunity to visit the Museum, tour the galleries and participate in hands on activities. These tours are a major consideration during the planning of the fall exhibit schedule and combine core subject matters with the arts, helping educators to meet the TEKS K-12 standards. Arts Create is in support of general operating for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced the grant recipients for their Museums for America and National Leadership Grants for Museums programs including the following Affiliate awards:
Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona – Tucson, AZ
Award Amount: $150,000
The Arizona State Museum will complete conservation treatment of 320 ethnological baskets of high scholarly significance and interest to the museum, scholars and researchers, tribal community members, and the general public. Grant funds will support the purchase of archival quality materials and conservation supplies as well as the hiring of a part-time specialist conservator and recent conservation graduate who will work with the museum’s conservators to treat and stabilize the baskets.

Denver Art Museum – Denver, CO
Award Amount: $150,000
The Denver Art Museum will implement critical environmental improvements in an existing storage facility in the final phase of a project to renovate and upgrade the facility. The project will improve current storage conditions for textile art objects, maximize the use of space in storage allowing for consolidation of textile art, and improve curatorial, conservation, and collections management accessibility and safe handling conditions to meet the increased demands of rotations, programs, and exhibitions in the expanded Textile Art Department.

Denver Art Museum – Denver, CO
Award Amount: $148,000
Denver Art Museum will develop participatory programs co-designed by the museum’s education staff and local creative entrepreneurs to respond to the challenge of rethinking traditional forms of audience engagement. “Test Kitchens” will be spaces that provide activities tied to art to engage the creative community, and “Pop-Ups” will be spaces in galleries with participatory activities that respond, extend, or react to the gallery where they are located. The project encourages dialogue among visitors and artists, deepening the visitor experience and positioning DAM as a catalyst for creativity.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science – Denver, CO
Award Amount: $149,940
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science will re-house and enhance collections management of the museum’s North American Plains Nations Clothing and Accessories Collection to improve stewardship and access for this high-priority collection. The museum will purchase and install new storage cabinets and supplies, fabricate customized mounts for each of the 1,441 objects, and reorganize the collection following Plains Nations cultural designations. As part of the re-housing process, staff will inventory, document, digitally photograph, and re-label the objects. This comprehensive project will address the long-term physical preservation for this significant collection, increase access for monitoring and research, strengthen intellectual control, and create new public outreach and community building opportunities.

Mystic Seaport Museum – Mystic, CT
Award Amount: $150,000
Mystic Seaport Museum will develop an introductory video and projection globe–two critical multimedia pieces for its upcoming “Voyaging in the Wake of the Whalers” exhibit that will explore America’s historic and contemporary relationship with whales and whaling. The exhibit will help visitors and staff expand the conversation beyond condemning past whaling practices to understanding the forces that drove the industry, how perceptions about whales changed over time, and how human actions continue to impact whales. This project will help the museum raise public awareness about the role the whaling industry played in the development of the nation’s multiethnic make-up, domestic economy, global impact and encounters, and further promote thought about the nation’s whaling heritage, and how it continues to shape communities and culture.

National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium – Dubuque, IA
Award Amount: $149,322
The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium will create “Boat Works,” a new exhibit and educational program demonstrating the history and skills of engine assembly. The unique exhibit experience will feature the operational Iowa Marine Engine & Launch Works, a 1915 machine shop, in order to interpret the machinery, tools, and equipment that was necessary for this skilled work. To support the exhibit programming, the museum will recruit, train, and evaluate volunteer interpreters to demonstrate various activities within the machine shop. Through this exhibit, visitors will learn all aspects of boat building, including the manufacture of marine engines, the building of wooden boats, the shaping of iron in the blacksmith shop, and the construction and launch of large iron and steel hull vessels.

Kentucky Historical Society – Frankfort, KY
Award Amount: $149,060
The Kentucky Historical Society will conduct a comprehensive inventory of its artifact collections. The effort will include making digital photographs of each object, conducting baseline condition assessments, and updating collections management records. The project will enhance the stewardship of the museum collections by accounting for the location of all items, rehousing and reorganizing the material, and establishing which objects may need more thorough conservation attention. Newly created digital images will allow the staff to increase the accessibility of the collection by adding to the historical society’s object catalog which currently features over 12,000 items in a searchable database.

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture – Baltimore, MD
Award Amount: $69,674
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture will hire a curatorial graduate student intern, create a postdoctoral fellowship in African American history, and establish a professional development fund that will allow staff at all levels to take advantage of training programs relevant to their work as museum professionals. In collaboration with the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), the postdoctoral fellow will experience hands-on learning in curatorial practice and collections; research and write articles that focus on topics in African American history, museum collections research, and upcoming exhibitions; and host two public talks that highlight civic and cultural engagement as related to his or her museum research. The graduate student intern and postdoctoral fellow will develop valuable career skills, and the professional development fund will enhance the ability of the museum staff to present information about the lives of African Americans in Maryland.

B & O Railroad Museum – Baltimore, MD
Award Amount: $91,200
B&O Railroad Museum will design and develop a permanent exhibit focusing on railway safety, the history of rail safety, and the individuals who keep railways safe. Through the use of life-size dioramas, historic artifacts, photos, archival documents, and interactive learning stations, the exhibit will be an educational tool for visitors to learn about the evolution of railroad safety and the role of organized labor, proper ways to engage rail systems, and gain an understanding of the safety tools and signs as well as the jobs of different railroaders. The exhibit will also be incorporated as a mandatory visit component for school groups utilizing the museum’s History Passport Program, a free admission program for students.

USS Constitution Museum – Boston, MA
Award Amount: $150,000
The USS Constitution Museum will develop a research-based, hands-on exhibit providing visitors of all ages the opportunity to learn about the origins of the “USS Constitution.” Intergenerational audiences will engage in participatory activities and learn through the lens of the people who dreamed, designed, built, launched, and outfitted the ship in the 1790s. The integrated exhibit and program project will expand the museum’s capacity to serve families by creating a memorable, engaging, and informative exhibit and integrated programs. The project will spark a cross-disciplinary appreciation for the ship’s innovative design and construction, including the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) concepts inherent in America’s history, and foster emotional and personal connections.

Michigan State University Museum – East Lansing, MI
Award Amount: $65,110
Michigan State University Museum will improve the storage environment for 28,527 vertebrate specimens that are presently housed in substandard or unsafe conditions. The specimens include both fluid-preserved and dry collection items, many of which are currently difficult to access. The museum will purchase cabinetry and archival supplies; transfer fluid-preserved specimens to approved flammable liquid cabinets; install archival boxes and drawer liners for dry collections; rehouse the dry specimens into new museum-quality cabinets; produce shelf, drawer, and cabinet labels for the rehoused specimens; update the storage locations of rehoused specimens in the collections database; install a temporary public display featuring the collections stewardship activities; disseminate information about the project; and evaluate the overall effort. This will rectify the current substandard conditions, mitigate risks of deterioration to specimens, and improve access to and management of the collection.

American Jazz Museum – Kansas City, MO
Award Amount: $133,050
The American Jazz Museum will hire a registrar to enhance the accessibility of the museum’s collections and create four semester-long paid internship positions focusing on collections and education. The registrar will be tasked with responsibilities related to collections care and management of special projects in the collections department, including ensuring safe and proper handling, transportation, exhibition, storage, and documentation of permanent collections and loans. To ensure the success of each intern, the museum will develop a sound, three-way partnership between the museum, the students, and the colleges or universities they attend. The interns will be recruited from University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Kansas, and Kansas State University and will work on projects that increase the accessibility of the museum’s collections and offer valuable job experiences to the students.

Museum of the Rockies, Montana State University – Bozeman, MT
Award Amount: $71,972
The Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University will create a new field trip program for schoolchildren in kindergarten through twelfth grade to keep museum education and informal learning experiences at the forefront of standards-based education for Montana’s schools. The project will increase the museum’s capacity to reach more students each year, create guides for teachers and students, and increase the number of Montana State University student-led field trip programs. Results of this research will be shared with other informal STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education programs statewide to increase the quality and relevance of all informal education experiences available to Montana schoolchildren.

Springfield Museum of Art – Springfield, OH
Award Amount: $23,889
The Springfield Museum of Art will develop a model for creating sustainable, audience-focused public programs through a project called “It’s Your Art Museum–A Model for Community Involvement.” The museum will hire a part-time museum educator and engage the services of a consultant who will conduct community focus groups and work with museum staff and volunteers to develop a model that can be used by staff, volunteers, and interns. Upon completion, this project will improve the quality of the museum visitor experience by presenting learning experiences for different ages and styles of learners that have been developed with community input.

Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico – San Juan, PR
Award Amount: $23,010
The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico will develop and implement “Art and Technology,” which will provide learning opportunities to at-risk youth in the San Juan metropolitan area by integrating the museum’s exhibits and collections as a platform for learning activities and dynamic thinking. Through lessons on digital media, photography, and art aligning with academic standards, students will acquire technology and problem-solving skills, language proficiency and communication skills, the ability to better interact with peers, and enhanced information skills. At-risk youth will be able to use the museum as an innovative learning facility with free art and technological resources to develop their skills to learn, create, and share with their peers their work in a safe environment.

Children’s Museum of the Upstate – Greenville, SC
Award Amount: $43,491

Children’s Museum of the Upstate will partner with the Greenville County Human Relations Commission and a local bank to provide family financial literacy sessions for low-income families titled “Finances for the Family.” These sessions will include a series of four workshops, a lessons learned discussion, and an exhibit challenge that will connect the museum’s growing focus on financial literacy to a communitywide effort to address economic inequality and improve financial stability for low-income families. By bringing its resources and early childhood educational expertise to bear on the challenge of financial literacy for low-income families, the museum will improve participating families’ prospects for the future and help build a stronger and more vibrant community as a whole.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science – Dallas, TX
Award Amount: $150,000
Perot Museum of Nature and Science will expand its museum-based professional development offerings for Dallas-area teachers by launching, testing, and evaluating a scalable Perot Museum STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Teacher Institute and Mentor Program. Participating K-12 teachers will attend a weeklong, intensive “Summer Academies at the Museum” designed to measurably improve the quality of formal science instruction in public, charter, private, and parochial schools by creating and sustaining a collaborative formal and informal STEM learning community. The museum aims to increase teachers’ knowledge of science content as well as their competence, confidence, creativity, and consistency in science instruction through this program, and ultimately increase interest and engagement among their students in STEM subjects.

The Museum of Flight – Seattle, WA
Award Amount: $19,163
The Museum of Flight will re-house and catalog its aviation manual collection, which includes 14,000 manuals relating to military aircraft, commercial aircraft, general aviation aircraft, pilot instruction, aircraft operation, engines, landing gear, and other aircraft accessories. The museum will rehouse the manuals in archival containers for long-term preservation and fully catalog each manual. The additional details added to the catalog records will enable researchers studying aviation, military and technical history, and technical design to more easily search and view records of the collection. This project will also provide an established framework for the addition of more manuals as the museum acquires them.

Wisconsin Veterans Museum – Madison, WI
Award Amount: $31,757
Wisconsin Veterans Museum will digitize and catalog 1,700 images including ambrotypes, tintypes, cartes-de-visites, gemtypes, cabinet cards and photo albums produced during the war, as well as images of Civil War veterans taken after the war. The project will include the development of metadata standards, evaluation of previously digitized material, and the development of an online searchable database. The Civil War image collection represents the highest priority for digitization because of the condition of material in the collection, the high level of research interest, and its historical significance. The project will provide the public with increased accessibility and a portal to a fully cataloged, searchable digital database of the Museum’s processed Civil War image collection.

National Medal for Museum Service Recipients

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences – Raleigh, NC
Award Amount: $5,000
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is the state’s most visited museum and the largest institution of its type in the southeastern region of the U.S. Visitors can observe real scientists at work through floor-to ceiling glass walls, and take part in an extensive range of exciting programs. Each year, more than 35,000 visitors attend the museum’s BugFest, the nation’s largest family-friendly event exploring the world of insects and other arthropods.

Achievements and Recognition
The Mountain-Plains Museums Association (MPMA) announced the winners of its 2014 Awards including History Colorado taking home top honors for Black Sunday Object Theater in the Exhibit Technology category.