Young Historians, Living Histories- Today’s Stop: Cleveland, OH!

Special thanks to Paula Lee, Smithsonian Affiliations intern, for this guest post. This is the fourth of a five-part blog series she is writing as part of the Young Historians, Living Histories (YHLH) collaboration with the Asian Pacific American Center and our Affiliate network.

Local Cleveland newspaper ad- how students were recruited!

Local Cleveland newspaper ad- how students were recruited!

In Cleveland, students began an early session of preliminary interviews because practice after-all makes perfect. Dr. John Grabowski, Senior Vice President of Research and Publications of Western Reserve Historical Center (Cleveland, OH), sought out partnership with local Asian Indian American community, the Asian Indian Heritage Project (AIHP).  WRHS and AIHP, having had a previous history of partnerships, rekindled their alliance and worked to produce an advertisement that was placed in two local newspapers, India International and The Lotus for recruits based off short essays. Six highly dedicated and intelligent youth from the Asian Indian community were selected to represent the Northeast Ohio population.

Read more about the students’ films at CAAM Fest here.

Interviews held inside the Western Reserve Historical Society Library utilizing the tall windows as natural lighting for filming

Interviews held inside the Western Reserve Historical Society Library utilizing the tall windows as natural lighting for filming

Students were paired and interviewed successful doctors, community leaders (founder of AIHP Mr. Paramijit Singh) and social workers gathering a riveting collection of stories in the duration of their hour-long interviews. The museum provided its Research Library to create a professional theme for the filming to take place, while interviewees dressed in traditional Indian clothing as a reminder of their culture in the midst of relocation and adaptation in America.  When they weren’t asking for help editing footage through Dr. Grabowski or Jane Mason, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, students would take the camcorders and complete the editing as home projects.  Each student dove into the project with such passion and enthusiasm, they even gathered at the museum on their own over Thanksgiving break to continue without pause!

In a follow up call with Marketing Assistant Alyssa Purvis, I was informed that that the AIHP held a banquet selling raffle tickets to raise funds for the next set of students eager to continue with the project having already received inquiries.

“The students are a huge driving force behind the continuation of this project; they keep meeting others within their community and wanting to preserve their stories.” Their efforts “have had a ripple effect, on their families and entire Indian community as a whole in Northeast Ohio.

Through all those involved in Young Historians, Living Histories, I amongst many others have had a chance to discover how proactive these youth are when it comes to using these community resources. It is amazing to see how well the youth are responding to this form of research and discovery.

As the Asian Indian Heritage Project mantra goes, we hope our accomplishments “Illuminate the Past, Light the Future”!

Dr. John Grabrowski Senior President of Marketing and Research and Jane Mason Vice President, with the 6 participating YHLH students

Dr. John Grabrowski Senior President of Marketing and Research and Jane Mason Vice President, with the 6 participating YHLH students

Young Historians, Living Histories- Today’s Stop: Honolulu, HI!

Special thanks to Paula Lee, Smithsonian Affiliations intern, for this guest post. This is the third of a five-part blog series she is writing as part of the Young Historians, Living Histories (YHLH) collaboration with the Asian Pacific American Center and our Affiliate network.

pa.2As we travel west to hear from our Affiliates at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor (Honolulu, HI) we take flight almost literally, with those who once navigated overseas when aerial travel was a rare and exciting introduction to history. Shauna Tonkin, Director of Education at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, connects us with Curtis Joe, immediate nephew of Chinese-American aviator and stunt pilot, Tom Gunn and Pan Am Japanese-American flight attendants, Mae Takahashi and Aileen Sodetani.

Tonkin partnered with Chris Facuri, Digital Media Teacher at Aliamanu Middle School, enabling the oral histories collected and edited throughout the school year to be incorporated into students’ curriculum. Participating students in the class took a field trip to visit the museum to meet Joe, Sodetani and Takahashi, where the entire group received a historical tour before sitting down for interviews. The two flight attendants live locally in Honolulu while Joe flew out from San Francisco to be a part of this project. All were very appreciative and realized the value of sharing the experiences that they’ve endured with younger generations. In response, the interactions with the pioneers made the experiences and stories come alive for the students studying them, activating their interests and courage to solicit knowledgeable questions.

Ford Island, where the museum is located is in the middle of Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, HI. On December 7, 1941, Japanese aircraft led a surprise attack initiating World War II. This led to a hard time for both Americans and Asian Americans, because the following year over 150,000 Japanese were ordered into internment camps although 62% of them were American citizens.

“The program served to be education, dynamic and responsive due to the nature of its interactive learning environment” observed by cooperating teacher Chris Facuri. Sparking the curiosity and interests of the youth was an important experience for Tonkin as she empathized with the difficulties of 1st generation children and their journey towards finding homage and respect for their culture while adapting to American influence. Tonkin emphasizes that this collaboration has “instilled a greater appreciation for diversity and culture of the Asian American Pacific experience. The oral histories collected barely scratched the surface.” She said, revealing her excitement towards starting new projects.

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Students capture footage of Curtis’ interaction with youth of YHLH during a field trip tour to Pacific Aviation Museum

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Students take a tour of the museum to learn about Pacific Aviation history

 

Curtis Joe, nephew of Tom Gunn, Chinese Aviator of the Pacific Ocean sitting in for an interview

Curtis Joe, nephew of Tom Gunn, Chinese Aviator of the Pacific Ocean sharing the stories of his childhood

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Students take a tour of the museum to learn about Pacific Aviation history

Take Off with Shuttle Programs

The era of the space shuttle may have drawn to a close, but shuttles are finding new life in education at museums across the country. The retirement of the shuttle fleet presents unique educational and collaborative opportunities for a greater community of organizations to explore space history through STEM programs.

The Smithsonian and Smithsonian Affiliations community represent, in collections and educational programs, the entirety of the U.S. Space Shuttle Program, from its inception, through the history of its flights, to the commemoration of its triumphs and tragedies.  The National Air and Space Museum is home to Discovery, Smithsonian Affiliates California Science Center hosts Endeavour, and The Museum of Flight displays a full scale test shuttle to its visitors.  Several more Affiliates have significant collections related to the shuttle program; five are home to Challenger Learning Centers.

As so many Affiliates are working to interpret space history and the shuttle program, we’re facilitating projects to bring this group together to encourage sharing information and materials. To begin, we’re hosting a session at the Mutual Concerns of Air and Space Museums conference, April 11-14, 2014. In this session, three museums will present case studies demonstrating unique exhibition and educational plans for the retired space shuttle fleet with the goal of sharing experiences and resources that would benefit other museums interested in using the space shuttle program in their educational offerings.

California Science Center will discuss plans for the new facility that will house Endeavour and the immersive experiences intended to encourage creativity and innovation. The Museum of Flight will share the hands-on experience (not possible with decommissioned orbiters) that visitors have when they climb into the three-story full-body trainer at the museum. The National Air and Space Museum will talk about the installation and exhibition of Discovery at the Udvar-Hazy Center. We hope a lively discussion at Mutual Concerns will lead us to future collaborations. We’d like to hear our Affiliates ideas on how to connect: should we support a trip to Washington or connect digitally? Is this a topic that would resonate with museum visitors or spark imaginative school programming? Please contact us to take part, or join us June 23-25, 2014 at the Smithsonian Affiliations conference to continue the discussion.

Affiliates in the news!

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate (Greenville, South Carolina)
Article- Children’s Museum partners with Smithsonian: Partnership helps museum expand reach, focus on STEM growth
The Children’s Museum of the Upstate has been named a Smithsonian Affiliate, becoming the only children’s museum in the nation to partner with the century and a half old institution that serves as custodian of a large swath of cultural and historical heritage.

Photo gallery- http://www.greenvilleonline.com/viewgal/?Avis=BS&Dato=20140206&Kategori=YOURUPSTATE05&Lopenr=302060077&Ref=PH

Greensboro Historical Museum (Greensboro, North Carolina)
Montagnard teens tell stories in Smithsonian-funded documentary
The film was made through a grant to the Greensboro Historical Museum from the Smithsonian Affiliates and the Asian Pacific American Center. The staff at the historical museum reached out through church sponsors to find Montagnard teenagers, convened about a dozen of them to discuss what kind of story they wanted to tell about themselves, put video cameras in their hands and then set them loose to interview each other.

Schiele Museum of Natural History (Gastonia, North Carolina)
Smithsonian traveling exhibit on ants opens at Gastonia’s Schiele Museum
It’s an intricate, highly regimented insect society that conducts business out of sight from most humans. A new traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution that opened Saturday at Gastonia’s Schiele Museum of Natural History explores this diverse world.

Fun social media opportunity coinciding with Titanoboa exhibit. Photo courtesy University of Nebraska State Museum.

Fun social media opportunity coinciding with Titanoboa exhibit. Photo courtesy University of Nebraska State Museum.

University of Nebraska State Museum (Lincoln, Nebraska)
Replica of giant snake slithers into Lincoln for exhibit expected to scare, inspire visitors
The collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Florida Museum of Natural History and University of Nebraska State Museum is expected to be a hit. “It will be very popular with families and with the students — everyone likes a good scare,” said Cheryl Washer, registrar and project director for the Smithsonian traveling exhibit service.

The University of Nebraska State Museum has been named an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.
“The State Museum’s new designation as a Smithsonian Affiliate builds on our long-standing research collaborations with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History,” said Priscilla Grew, director of the museum. “Three of our curators are Smithsonian research associates, and the Smithsonian’s national scarab beetle research collection has been on long-term loan to the State Museum for many years.”

Titanoboa, world’s largest snake, replica comes to Morrill Hall
Titanoboa is coming to Lincoln. The 48-foot-long replica of the world’s largest snake will be featured at the University of Nebraska State Museum in Morrill Hall starting Saturday. The exhibit is part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and will be open through Sept. 7.

World’s largest snake replica slithers to Lincoln
UNL paleontologist Jason Head helped bring the Smithsonian exhibit to Nebraska. He is the world-renown snake expert who, on a video conference five years ago, helped researchers identify the beast from a fossil. The titanoboa was uncovered in a Colombian coal mine.

Smithsonian exhibit makes its way to Lincoln
Cheryl Washer of the Smithsonian Institute has been traveling with exhibits for more than twenty years. She’s the one responsible for getting Titanoboa to look her best before the exhibit opens up to the public. “When I get to go to the museum to see the reaction of the staff, if I get to see the visitors,” Washer said. “This is an exhibit that’s not only educational but a lot of fun. And that’s a joy.”

 National World War II Museum (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Monuments Men’ Records Hit National Gallery of Art, The Smithsonian
A permanent “Monuments Men Experience” is being developed at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. It’s scheduled to open in 2016.

Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.)
JANM Joins Smithsonian National Youth Summit on Freedom Summer
Approximately 200 students will be at JANM to participate in the National Youth Summit by joining in the conversation and hearing from Tamio Wakayama, a Nisei Japanese Canadian who joined the American Civil Rights Movement as a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art (Elmhurst, Illinois)
Lizzadro Museum exhibits ‘showy’ Smithsonian jewelry
They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but Dorothy Asher took explicit care to look for other gem stones when cultivating the Lizzadro Museum’s current “Modern Designer Jewelry from the Smithsonian” exhibit.

This is a replica of the Apollo 11 space suit. While the space suits were life-giving, remarkable engineering feat in space, they are too fragile for the earth’s atmosphere. The originals from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum do not travel.

This is a replica of the Apollo 11 space suit. While the space suits were life-giving, remarkable engineering feat in space, they are too fragile for the earth’s atmosphere. The originals from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum do not travel.

Tampa Bay History Center (Tampa Bay, Florida)
Exhibit explores space through astronaut clothing
The latest exhibition at Tampa Bay History Center explores space through astronaut clothing. The History Center’s “Suited for Space” opened in February 1st and will be on display through April 27.

What to Wear? The History and Future of Spacesuits
The issue of “what to wear?” takes on an extra dimension of life and death when it comes to space travel…We recently had a chance to see the past, present and future of space suit technology in the Smithsonian Institutions’ touring Suited for Space exhibit currently on display at the Tampa Bay History Center in Tampa, Florida.

Crowdfunding + Tweetups. Yes. Those are real things.

And museums are using them in new and unique ways to raise money and engage new audiences. In 2013, the Freer|Sackler Gallery launched its first major crowdfunding campaign “Together we’re one” to support Yoga: The Art of Transformation. Using crowdfunding, the museum asked ordinary citizens to help fund the exhibit. In the end, the museum raised more than $170,000, well above its goal.

tweetup1At the National Museum of American History, National Air and Space Museum and National Museum of Natural History social media practitioners are engaging new audiences in person and online by hosting Tweetups (sometimes called socials) for enthusiasts who want to learn more about Smithsonian collections, programs and exhibits. Partnering with other organizations like NASA and the National Holocaust Museum, the Smithsonian reaches new audiences through the personal tweets from their most avid audiences. During the #docsocial tweetup in January 2014, the small event—about 25 tweeps—resulted in almost 24 million impressions on Twitter. (Impressions are similar to newspaper delivery—you know how many newspapers were delivered but not how many were read, but the potential is there!)

As we plan our 2014 Affiliations National Conference, we want to know who among our amazing Affiliate network have had successes in crowdfunding and tweetups? We’re planning two sessions during our conference about both topics and would love to include Affiliate insights. Have you funded a program or exhibit through online giving? Have you expanded your reach using Tweetups as a tool? We want to know. And if you’re one of our amazing Affiliate innovators, we want to include you in our conference. Email Elizabeth Bugbee to share your successes (and failures too!).

In addition, we’ve started a Social Media @SIAffiliates Facebook group. We want to create a community for our Affiliate network to get to know each other and share ideas with each other. Please join today!

Join us at the 2014 Affiliations National Conference June 23-25 in Washington, D.C. The Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference is for current Affiliates only. If you are interested in becoming an Affiliate, or have an application in progress and would like to attend the Conference, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee for more information.

Latino Young Ambassadors + Affiliates = next generation of leaders

The Smithsonian Latino Center’s Young Ambassadors Program (YAP) is a national program for graduating high school seniors aimed at fostering the next generation of Latino leaders in the arts, sciences, and humanities via the Smithsonian Institution and its partners. YAP is a college preparatory and leadership program encouraging participants to explore various academic and career opportunities through the lens of the Latino experience.

young-ambassadors-program-sealStudents are selected to travel to Washington, D.C. for a week-long seminar at the Smithsonian, followed by a four-week  internship in museums and other cultural institutions in 17 cities across the United States and Puerto Rico, including 10 Affiliates.

Do you know a Latino teen who aspires to be a leader in the arts, sciences or humanities? 

Who? Graduating high school seniors with a commitment to the arts, sciences, or humanities as it pertains to Latino communities

What? Week-long, all-expenses paid training and leadership seminar and a four-week internship with a $2,000 program stipend

Where?  Washington D.C. and internships in 17 cities across the U.S. and Puerto Rico

When? June 22-August 1, 2014

Why? Opportunity to explore various career paths, embrace your own cultural heritage, and gain practical and leadership skills and intellectual growth

Application deadline: April 7, 2014

YAPFor more information, to view the promotional video, and to apply visit: http://latino.si.edu/programs/youngambassadors.htm

With questions: Email SLCEducation@si.edu

 

 

And thanks to the 2014 YAP Affiliate partners!
Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix, AZ)
California Science Center (Los Angeles, CA)
Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, CA)
Chabot Space and Science Center (Oakland, CA)
Miami Science Museum (Miami, FL)
Adler Planetarium (Chicago, IL)
Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (San Juan, PR)
Fort Worth Museum of Science and History (Fort Worth, TX)
International Museum of Art and Science (McAllen, TX)
The Museum of Flight (Seattle, WA)