On the Road Again with 101 Objects


Dr. Kurin uses a 3D printed replica of Lincoln’s Top Hat during his talk about his book at the Sullivan Museum and Library. Photo credit: Sullivan Museum

Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, Richard Kurin, helped kick-off our 20th anniversary year at the Sullivan Museum and History Center (Vermont) in September and he’s on the road again sharing stories from his recent book, The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects, with Affiliates across the country. Since 2013 he has visited 11 Smithsonian Affiliates and will travel to two more in January and February 2016.

On January 11, Kurin visits History Colorado in Denver. As an expert storyteller, Kurin tells the story of the nation through some well-known treasures and unexpected objects that inspire learning and curiosity in everyone. He noted, “using objects to tell the story of the nation presents a great opportunity. Rather than learning history by memorizing names and dates, objects have a way of conveying historical times and events in a dramatic but tangible way.”


The very first stop on the “101 Objects” book tour was at the National Museum of American Jewish History. Photo credit: NMAJH

On February 16, he will visit the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh where he will continue to “WOW” visitors with stories about the Star-Spangled Banner, Abraham Lincoln’s Hat and less-well-known objects like Harriet Tubman’s hymnal and Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine.

And keep a lookout! Dr. Kurin often travels with 3D printed replicas of some of the treasures in the books. If he uses one, snap a photo and tag us at #SIYN20 and share with us! In the meantime, enjoy these photos of Dr. Kurin’s travels through Affiliateland speaking about his book.


Dr. Kurin traveled to the West coast and visited the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Seattle in 2014 for a gallery talk about the book. Photo credit: NW MAC


I Am Psyched! Pop-Up Museum Explores Contributions of Women of Color in Psychology

Many thanks to guest author Cathy Faye, PhD, assistant director at the Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology at the University of Akron for this post!

Museums have the power to present us with unfamiliar and interesting places, spaces, things, ideas, and people. Sometimes, these things are new to us, things we haven’t seen before. Sometimes, we are seeing a new interpretation of something that is otherwise familiar. In both cases, museums show us not only what is, but what is possible. When we learn something new about the world, the boundaries of our places and spaces expand, and we see ourselves fitting into them in new ways.

High-school students explore exhibits at the Museum of Psychology at the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology. Archives of the History of American Psychology, The University of Akron

High-school students explore exhibits at the Museum of Psychology at the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology. Archives of the History of American Psychology, The University of Akron

In 2016, a new pop-up museum experience in Washington, DC will work with this idea of using the past, present, and future to expand our ideas of what has been and what is possible for women and girls of color in the field of psychology.

I Am Psyched!

I Am Psyched! is a collaboration between the American Psychological Association, The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology (a Smithsonian Affiliate), and Psychology’s Feminist Voices. Designed as part of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Day Live! initiative, I Am Psyched! focuses on illuminating the past, present, and future of women of color in the field of psychology. Historically, psychology has been dominated by white men. However, the period following World War II and the Civil Rights Movement, women of color entered the field in greater numbers, leaving inspirational stories and paving the way for a more diverse and inclusive psychology.

I Am Psyched! explores these stories and celebrates the legacies of these women through a pop-up museum exhibit, a live-streamed conversation hour with groundbreaking women psychologists, and on-site and virtual learning activities.

The pop-up exhibit, to be installed at the American Psychological Association’s Capitol View Conference Center in Washington, DC, will feature film, sound recordings, images, artifacts, and letters that tell the fascinating story of how women of color have and continue to contribute to psychology.

Alberta Banner Turner, 1909-2008, Archives of the History of American Psychology, The University of Akron

For example, the exhibit will feature the story of Alberta Banner Turner, who received her doctoral degree in the 1930s–the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. from Ohio State University. Throughout her career, Turner fought for racial equality and spoke out loudly against racial injustice.

Turner’s story is just one of many that will be explored through interactive learning stations, where visitors can explore the history of women of color in psychology and participate in activities that encourage reflection on issues of race, gender, and ethnicity in the social and behavioral sciences.

Museum Day Live! Event

The pop-up museum will be launched on March 12, 2016 for the Smithsonian’s Museum Day Live! event. On Museum Day, several prominent women psychologists will lead a conversation hour, which will be recorded and livestreamed. Recognizing that March 12, 2016 is also National Girl Scout Day, we will design activities for participating girl scouts to earn their own Museum Day-related merit badge by interacting with the exhibits in various ways. We are excited to be able to highlight the rich history and path-breaking contributions of women of color to psychology to inspire the next generation of psychologists.



kudos Affiliates! December 2015-January 2016

Wow!  Congratulations to these Affiliates on their recent accomplishments.  What a way to start a new year.



Lilly Endowment awarded a $7.5 million grant to Conner Prairie (Fishers, IN). $6 million of the grant will be used to bolster the Lilly endowment; the rest will be used to renovate the historic Chinese House, enhance summer camp programs, and hire additional fundraising staff.

The Riverboat Development Authority has awarded $50,000 to the Putnam Museum (Davenport, IA) for The Magical History Tour exhibit scheduled for February 2017.

Union Station, Kansas City (Kansas City, MO) announced that Science City had received a $250,000 grant from the David Beals Charitable Trust to enhance exhibits about human health. In addition, Science City recently received an international award for visitor experience from the Association of Science-Technology Centers.

Six contemporary Arab American artists from a broad range of disciplines will participate in a new artist residency program after the Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI) received a $50,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge. The artist residency program will enlist artists that demonstrate the multiplicity of contemporary arts production by and about Arabs and Arab Americans.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced $21.8 million in grants for 295 humanities projects, including the following Affiliate recipients:

  • Ohio History Connection (Columbus, OH): $12,000
    Project Description: The digitization of community materials and support for public programs that will deepen the historical record documenting Ohio’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
  • Black Archives of Mid-America, Inc.: $12,000
    Project Description: The digitization of community photographs, letters, employment records, artworks, and artifacts pertaining to the African American experience in Kansas City, Missouri, during the early 20th century. In cooperation with the American Jazz Museum (Kansas City, MO) the project will also offer public lectures by area scholars and musicians about the history of Kansas City in the Jazz Age and Great Depression and would sponsor screenings of films held by the Jazz Museum, including the documentary Women in Jazz.
  • ACCESS (On behalf of the Arab American National Museum): $12,000
    Project Description: A digitization event, open to the general public, to gather personal collections relating to the history of Dearborn, Michigan, and a community oral history event. That event will be followed by a community-focused community storytelling and spoken word event, which will highlight the cultural history and contributions of notable Dearborn residents.
  • African American Museum in Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA): $12,000
    Project Description: A community event to explore Philadelphia’s African American history through community photographs contributed by members of the public, as well as programming to highlight photography at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. The project will include workshops on family history and photographic preservation, lectures and a film screening of the documentary, Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People.
  • Birthplace of Country Music (Bristol, TN): $6,000
    Project Description: A preservation assessment of a country music collection consisting of photographs, archives, and audiovisual materials. The collections provide an important resource for scholars, community members, and visitors and are currently used for research, in exhibitions, and for public programs, including an upcoming Ken Burns documentary on country music.

In addition, NEH awarded $162,242 to the Florida International University (Miami, FL) for a Humanities in the Public Square project to fund a series of public events, programs, and conversations addressing the environmental threat posed to Miami from rising sea levels.

The National Endowment for the Arts awarded $27.7 million to support 1,126 projects in the first round of FY 2016 funding, including the following Affiliate projects:

  • Denver Art Museum (Denver, CO)-$70,000
    To support the exhibition “Women of Abstract Expressionism.” The exhibition will feature more than 50 paintings by women Abstract Expressionist painters active during the 1940s and ’50s. Artist quotes, a short documentary film, related programs, and an illustrated catalogue will help the public understand the role these women played in the Abstract Expressionist movement.
  • HistoryMiami (Miami, FL)-$20,000
    To support the Miami Street Culture Project. HistoryMiami will conduct fieldwork to identify and document the communal recreational and occupational traditions found on the streets of Miami’s various communities. These traditions will include artistic expressions such as murals, graffiti, displays of street vendors, and parades, as well as decorations found on cars and bicycles. The documentation – including interviews, photographs, and artifacts – will be assembled into an exhibit that will share and interpret these traditions with the larger community.
  • Robert W. Woodruff Arts Center, Inc. (On behalf of High Museum of Art) (Atlanta, GA)-$50,000
    To support the exhibition “Al Taylor: What Are You Looking At?,” and an accompanying catalogue. The exhibition, featuring the work of the late American artist Al Taylor (1948-99), will include approximately 100 objects, drawings, and prints, many made of commonplace materials such as hangers, broomsticks, and plastic bottles. Educational programming for all ages will complement the exhibition.
  • Lowell National Historical Park (Lowell, MA) -$35,000
    To support the Lowell Folk Festival. The festival will celebrate its 30th year showcasing master folk artists. Performances of traditional music such as Appalachian bluegrass, Portuguese Fado, and Irish reels will be offered alongside traditional dance, crafts, and ethnic foodways.
  • International Storytelling Center (Jonesborough, TN)-$20,000
    To support Storytelling Live!, a seasonal teller-in-residence program. Master artists representing a broad range of storytelling traditions from the U.S. and abroad will conduct week-long residencies. In addition to storytelling performances, the artists will offer workshops and present special programs designed to serve seniors and youth.
  • Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Cody, WY)-$20,000
    To support the catalogue “Enduring Legacies: Indian Art from the Paul Dyck Collection.” The catalogue will feature 150 images of objects from the Paul Dyck Plains Indian Buffalo Culture Collection, long considered by scholars to be one of the most comprehensive assemblages of pre-reservation and early reservation art.
  • Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix, AZ) -$10,000
    To support performances by violinist Rachel Barton, and associated violin master classes intended to serve lowincome and minority youth.


The Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, CA) and Tampa Bay History Center (Tampa, FL) have received accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums.

Springfield Museum of Art (Springfield, OH) has won a statewide award, and received national and state recognition for its current exhibit, “Authentic Narratives: Ohio’s Regionalists, 1915-1950.”  The Museum earned the RUBY Award, awarded by the Ohio Travel Association and Ohio Magazine.

A four billion year-old meteorite which plunged into a house in metro Atlanta was officially recognized and named by the international Meteoritical Society with the assistance of the Smithsonian Institution during a ceremony at the Tellus Science Museum (Cartersville, GA). The 295 gram meteorite was officially named “Cartersville” in honor of the city in which it landed. It was classified as ordinary Chondrite L5 meteorite, according to Smithsonian officials, having low iron-nickel and a level 5 degree amount of deformation on a scale of 1-7.

Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, MI) Curator of Folk Arts Marsha MacDowell has been named a fellow of the American Folklore Society, demonstrating outstanding accomplishments and making important contributions to the field of folklore.

John E. Herzog, founder of the Museum of American Finance (New York, NY), received the International Federation of Finance Museums (IFFM) Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the field of financial literacy.

UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures (San Antonio, TX) Executive Director, Angelica Docog, has been named the recipient of the 2015 Constellation Stars Award sponsored by the San Antonio Women’s Chamber of Commerce. The award goes to women who have demonstrated advocacy, connection and empowerment.


The Bakken Museum (Minneapolis, MN) has hired Minnesota native Michael Sanders to replace its longtime director David Rhees, who retired in September. Rhees stepped down after 23 years overseeing the growth of the museum, which was created by Medtronic founder Earl Bakken to showcase his collection of pacemakers and historic medical devices that used electricity.

Affiliates in the news: Happy New Year edition!

Congrats to these Affiliates making news!  If you have a clipping highlighting a collaboration with the Smithsonian or with a fellow Affiliate you’d like to have considered for the Affiliate blog, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee.

Conner Prairie (Fishers, IN)
Women’s Volunteer Group Achieves $1 Million Milestone In Raising Funds To Support Conner Prairie
At its Annual Meeting today, the Conner Prairie Alliance announced it has raised $1,077,123 for the museum since the group was founded in 1984.

Astronauts Thomas Stafford, left, and James Lovell speak Wednesday during a news conference on the 50th anniversary of the Gemini 6 flight at the Oklahoma History Center. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Astronauts Thomas Stafford, left, and James Lovell speak Wednesday during a news conference on the 50th anniversary of the Gemini 6 flight at the Oklahoma History Center. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma History Center (Oklahoma City, OK)
NASA heroes mark 50th anniversary of first manned rendezvous in space, speak at Oklahoma History Center
The mission was the first manned rendezvous of two spaceships. The capsule from the mission is displayed at the history center, where it is on long-term loan from the Smithsonian Institution.

Four NASA heroes to visit Oklahoma City on Wednesday
Former astronauts Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jim Lovell, Alan Bean and Tom Stafford will visit the Oklahoma History Center on Wednesday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Gemini 6 flight and rendezvous in space with Gemini 7. The mission represented the first manned rendezvous between two spaceships in space.

Greensboro Historical Museum (Greensboro, NC)
Travel Channel show to feature Greensboro museum, Dolley Madison dress
Hart said she is excited for the museum to once again get national exposure for the country’s best collection of Dolley Madison artifacts. The Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery had borrowed it in 2012 for its “1812: A Nation Emerges” exhibition.

Rebel, Jedi, Princess, Queen: Star Warsâ„¢ and the Power of Costume

Rebel, Jedi, Princess, Queen: Star Warsâ„¢ and the Power of Costume

Denver Museum of Art (Denver, Co.)
Original costumes from ‘Star Wars’ film series coming to Denver Art Museum
“So many of us have warm memories and a fascination associated with the Star Wars films, and it’s really the characters that maintain this longstanding connection,” said Stefania Van Dyke, interpretive specialist of the DAM. “Our unique presentation will give a look at the inspiration and nuanced creative processes of designers and artisans.

At The Denver Art Museum, Costumes See You Will
The Force is coming to Denver in the form of costumes and design as “Star Wars and the Power of Costume” exhibit comes to the Denver Art Museum.

‘Star Wars’ exhibit coming to Denver – with original Darth Vader, Leia costumes
The Denver Art Museum Wednesday morning announced it will present “Star Wars and the Power of Costume,” an exhibition of more than 60 costumes from all seven Star Wars films, from Nov. 13, 2016 to April 2, 2017.

‘Star Wars’ Is Coming To The Denver Art Museum
The film, due out on Dec. 18, marks the seventh in the blockbuster series. So the time seems right for the Denver Art Museum to announce an exhibition based on the franchise.

On the eve of what could be the most-awaited Star Wars film premiere of all time – Star Wars: The Force Awakens officially opens in theaters nationwide on December 18 – the Denver Art Museum just announced an out-of-this-world prize.  A showy Smithsonian-curated exhibit, Star Warsâ„¢ and the Power of Costume, will feature costumes and artifacts culled directly from the source of the Force: the archives of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

(Denver Art Museum website for the exhibition)

Jim Bruner, left, chairman of the Board of Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, shakes hands with Richard Kurin of the Smithsonian Institution, right, as Scottsdale Vice Mayor David Smith looks on. (submitted photo)

Jim Bruner, left, chairman of the Board of Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, shakes hands with Richard Kurin of the Smithsonian Institution, right, as Scottsdale Vice Mayor David Smith looks on. (submitted photo)

Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West (Scottsdale, AZ)
Scottsdale museum officially becomes Smithsonian Affiliate
Richard Kurin, the Smithsonian Institution’s Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, presented the Certification of Affiliation at a private event attended by numerous museum board members, Scottsdale Vice Mayor David Smith, Barbara Barrett, former U.S. ambassador to Finland, and Gay Wray, Smithsonian national board member.

Local Museum gets BIG Cred
Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West was recently certified a Smithsonian Affiliate museum, making it a recognized partner with the world’s largest museum and research complex. It is one of the youngest organizations ever to become a Smithsonian Affiliate.

Museum of American Finance (New York, NY)
Herzog honored with Lifetime Achievement Award in Beijing
John E. Herzog, vice president of the Fairfield Museum and History Center and founder of the Museum of American Finance, received the International Federation of Finance Museums (IFFM) Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the field of financial literacy on October 30.

Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ)
A Long Overdue Retrospective for Kay WalkingStick Dispels Native Art Stereotypes
Her 1983-1985 Cardinal Points from the collection of Phoenix’s Heard Museum is in the exhibition and blends the four-directional cross, the compass directions, and the coloration of the male cardinal (the bird) and of Catholic cardinals. “There’s this double meaning to the title,” WalkingStick says.

Measuring 48 feet long and weighing in at 2,500 pounds, the massive predator Titanoboa cerrejonensis is coming to Seattle. ©2012 SNI/SI Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Measuring 48 feet long and weighing in at 2,500 pounds, the massive predator Titanoboa cerrejonensis is coming to Seattle.
©2012 SNI/SI Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Schiele Museum of Natural History (Gastonia, NC)
‘Monster Snake’ slithers into The Schiele Museum of Natural History
A massive snake is now calling The Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia home. Well, at least a life-size replica of the serpent is. The Titanoboa, a prehistoric snake from the South American rain forest, has been extinct for 60 million years

Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Cody, WY)
Center of the West Reopens Smithsonian Firearms Exhibit
Continuing the Center’s relationship with the Smithsonian, this is the second loan from the National Firearms Collection. The Center’s 2013 exhibit originally opened with 64 firearms; the new loan retains 42 arms from the original loan and adds 8 new objects.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West reopens Smithsonian firearms exhibit
The exhibit, titled “Journeying West: Distinctive Firearms from the Smithsonian,” is now on display. The exhibit features 50 objects, including a video of the Smithsonian’s gun vault.

Firearms exhibit re-opens in new spot at museum
“In 1876, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History established the National Firearms Collection – now grown to nearly 7,000 objects – in honor of the American Centennial,” Hlebinsky added. “From the Smithsonian Channel, this exhibit includes a video of the Smithsonian’s actual gun vault, which visitors are sure to find fascinating.

Virginia Museum of Natural History (Martinsville, VA)
Can you dig it? Hastings can
Hastings, the Assistant Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Virginia Museum of Natural History, was one of three researchers who discovered the Titanoboa.

Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, CA)
Museum Of Latin American Art Receives AAM Accreditation
“Accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums is a great honor and an important milestone for MoLAA as the museum prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2016,” MoLAA president and CEO Stuart A. Ashman said in a release.

Poster, Gib acht sonst “Be Careful or Else”, 1929–30. Joseph Binder, American, b. Austria, 1898–1972, designer Österreichische Zentralstelle für Unfallverhütung, Vienna, publisher Ferdinand Kehlborn, Vienna, printer Offset lithograph The Wolfsonian–FIU

The Wolfsonian-Florida International University (Miami, Florida)
When “Danger” Is Art’s Middle Name: A new exhibit looks at the inspiration that comes from the clash of glory and catastrophe
The image is one of roughly 200 works in a new exhibit, “Margin of Error,” now open at Miami’s Wolfsonian museum at Florida International University in Miami Beach (the Wolfsonian is also a Smithsonian affiliate.) Through graphic and decorative art, photography, painting, sculpture, industrial artifacts and ephemera, the show explores cultural reactions–ranging from glorifying to terrifying–to major innovations in Europe and the U.S. between 1850 and 1950, including coal mines, steamships, airplanes, electricity, railways and factories.

20 years in your neighborhood!


Twenty years ago, during the 150th anniversary celebration of the Smithsonian Institution, Secretary I. Michael Heyman announced the creation of a national outreach program that would extend the reach of the Smithsonian collections to communities, museums and research organizations across the nation. To fulfill the Smithsonian’s mission for the “increase and diffusion of knowledge,” Smithsonian Affiliations was created to provide access to Smithsonian collections and vast resources. The program’s goal was to make sure those who cannot travel to Washington, D.C., could experience and enjoy the Smithsonian in their own neighborhoods.

At the end of its first year, Smithsonian Affiliations welcomed 21 museums as Affiliates. Today, the program has established partnerships with more than 200 organizations in 45 states, Puerto Rico and Panama.

This month begins our series of highlighting the Smithsonian in Affiliate communities. We’ll be posting blogs, sharing photos on social media, inviting Affiliate guest authors to share their stories of being an Affiliate as well as Smithsonian guest authors sharing their history with Affiliates. We’ll be continuing this series through October 2016, so follow us along on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram and this blog. We hope you’ve experienced the Smithsonian in YOUR neighborhood!

A gift to Smithsonian Affiliations will enhance our efforts to reach Americans in their own communities. Donate to the I. Michael Heyman Smithsonian Across America Fund today. 

Are you a Smithsonian Affiliate? Contact us (affiliates@si.edu) for the logo and guidelines.

About Smithsonian Affiliations’ 20th Anniversary

About Smithsonian Affiliations