Kudos Affiliates!! May 2019

Congratulations to these Affiliates on their recent accomplishments! Do you have kudos to share? Please send potential entries to Aaron Glavas, GlavasC@si.edu.

FUNDING

The Cosmosphere (Hutchinson, KS) received a $500,000 grant from the Sunderland Foundation of Kansas City to fund the CosmoKids Discovery Area of the Hall of Space at the Cosmosphere. CosmoKids Discovery Area is scheduled to open early in 2020 and will include STEM-based interactives and space where families can learn through interacting together.

Science Museum Oklahoma (Oklahoma City,OK) announced that Schlumberger will provide a matching grant of $90,000 to help renovate the museum’s energy exhibit, Energy Quest. Energy Quest will feature more than 2,000 square feet of space and provide an immersive environment to explore the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) associated with energy production in Oklahoma.

Capital improvement funds of $600,000 were released to the Kona Historical Society (Kealakekua, HI) for the construction of The Kona Museum Gallery. The two-story, 1,360 square-foot building has been designed to blend seamlessly into the historic buildings and landscape surrounding it and will include an exhibit area, retail area, storage, and restrooms.

The Center for Jewish History (New York City, NY) received a $2.5 million matching grant from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, to make photographs, primary documents, and other archival material detailing the history and living legacy of Jews in the Diaspora more accessible to the public.

LEADERSHIP CHANGES

After 12 years of leading the Putnam Museum & Science Center (Davenport, IA) through some major changes, growth, and exhibits, president/CEO Kim Findlay plans to retire June 30. The Putnam’s fiscal year starts July 1, and Findlay hopes to transition with a new CEO in place by mid-June.

5 Questions With Dr. Matt Shindell

What do we love more than helping you navigate the Smithsonian? Sending someone from the Smithsonian to your neighborhood! Our people are our greatest resource and when new curators join the Smithsonian family, we like to share their stories with our network.

In this edition, we spotlight Dr. Matt Shindell, curator in the Space History Department at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, who has written a new book, The Life and Science of Harold C. Urey, scheduled to be released in the October 2019.

Harold Clayton Urey was an American physical chemist whose pioneering work on isotopes earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1934 for the discovery of deuterium. He played a significant role in the development of the atom bomb, as well as contributing to theories on the development of organic life from non-living matter.

Matt Shindell portraitTo understand more about Urey,  we asked five questions of Dr. Shindell.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be interested in your area of expertise.

I was always interested in science when I was a kid. I found science museums and books about space fascinating. When I went to college, I thought that I would become a scientist. But I soon discovered a related field called the history of science and found that I enjoyed exploring science’s past even more than I enjoyed science itself. I ended up pursuing a Ph.D. in history – something my younger self would never have predicted. My first big project in history of science was about the history of Mars exploration, in which I asked the question, where did the methods we use to explore other planets come from? A lot of these methods came from the Earth-based sciences of geology and geochemistry. This led me to the topic of my new book, the chemist Harold C. Urey. Urey was one of the first geochemists to devote his research program to the study of the Moon and planets. This brought him into the small group of scientists who worked with NASA on its lunar exploration program, including the Apollo missions to send humans to the Moon. But he didn’t start out as a planetary scientist. He had already had a long and distinguished career – including winning the Nobel Prize for the discovery of deuterium (heavy hydrogen) – by the time the Space Age began. I wrote this book as an exploration of how and why Urey decided to focus his later career on the evolution of the solar system.

Harold Urey book coverWhat have you enjoyed most about writing this book? What has been an unexpected discovery, if any?

As I spent time researching in Harold Urey’s personal papers, I discovered that he had a very interesting past that hadn’t really been explored by other historians. He was born into a very poor, rural, and religious family. His father was a minister in the German Baptist Brethren church – today known as the Church of the Brethren. When Urey was born at the end of the 19th century, the church was still very much a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch organization. Their style of dress and agricultural way of life was a lot like what we today associate with the Amish church. Urey’s parents grew up on small family farms in Indiana. And, at least during his childhood, this is the life that Harold Urey lived, too. It was a life full of prayer and religious observance. In his later life, Urey didn’t talk much about this past. However, during the Cold War, when he found himself full of anxiety about the state of the world and the potential destruction of nuclear war, the maintenance of religion became very important to him. When asked to speak publicly, Urey would tell his audiences about the amazing discoveries of science, but also would argue that it was vital to retain the moral teachings of the traditional religions. I found his desire for science and religion to coexist very interesting, and this became one of the major themes I tried to trace throughout the book – including in Urey’s lunar work.

What sparked your interest in him and why is it important to capture his story?

I first became interested in Harold Urey because he had participated in so many big moments in American science. He worked as a chemist in Philadelphia on explosives during World War I, he then went to graduate school at the University of California where the chemists and physicists were arguing about the structure of the atom. This interest in atoms took him to Niels Bohr’s Institute in Copenhagen after he graduated, and then he came back to the US and made his Nobel Prize-winning discovery of deuterium. His big discovery cemented his reputation as one of the world’s leading physical chemists. So when World War II broke out and the physicists stepped forward with plans for an atomic weapon – prompted by their fear that the Nazis were already working on such a weapon – it was Urey who ended up managing part of the operation to purify the uranium-235 fuel for that weapon. After the war, Urey was jaded and not interested in carrying on his pre-war research program, and he instead turned to studying the Earth, Moon, and planets. This eventually brought him into contact with NASA, and he became involved in the lunar science program connected to Apollo. Because he participated in so many important moments of 20th-century science, I believed that following his career would allow me to make connections between these moments that historians often treat as separate and distinct. I also saw in his life story a good example of what it meant to be an “American” scientist; I tried to focus in the book on the ways in which Urey constructed his professional identity in the context of two world wars and a Cold War, during which the definition of what it meant to be a good American shifted. And I also looked at how he struggled with a religious identity that marked him as different from his peers, but that nonetheless remained important to him throughout his life.

What would you like to share with Affiliates? 

I would like to share this story of a pioneering scientist, his place in the dramatic story of the growth of American science in the 20th century, and his struggle to balance scientific modernity with his own religious past.

What is your next project and what are you looking forward to with it?

For my next project, I am attempting to write a history of Mars exploration that focuses on the work done by humans here on Earth to explore a faraway planet on which they will never set foot. Robots will be a part of this story, too, but I really want to put the focus on the people behind the work of the rovers. I am looking forward to making connections between different historical periods of Mars exploration – from telescopes, to spacecraft, to rovers large and small. I am also looking forward to imagining what future exploration may look like – and whether or not it will involve humans on Mars.

Interested in bringing Dr. Shindell or other Smithsonian scholars to your organization? Contact your National Outreach Manager!

coming up in Affiliateland in May 2019

Happy Spring!

ILLINOIS
Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar Dr. Richard Kurin will give a talk on the History of America in 101 Objects at the Peoria Riverfront Museum in Peoria, 5.2.

NATIONWIDE
11 Affiliates will collaborate with the National Museum of American History to present a National Youth Summit on Woman Suffrage: The Ballot and Beyond on 5.21. Thanks to the Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI); Cerritos Library (Cerritos, CA); Conner Prairie Interactive History Park (Fishers, IN); the Durham Museum (Omaha, NE); Heritage Farm Museum and Village (Huntington, WV); History Colorado (Denver, CO); International Storytelling Center (Jonesborough, TN); Ohio History Connection (Columbus, OH); The Witte Museum (San Antonio, TX); Upcountry History Museum (Greenville, SC); and UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures (San Antonio, TX).

TEXAS
The Frontiers of Flight Museum will open the Art of the Airport Tower exhibition from the National Air and Space Museum in Dallas, 5.13.

Kudos Affiliates!! April 2019

Congratulations to these Affiliates on their recent accomplishments! Do you have kudos to share? Please send potential entries to Aaron Glavas, GlavasC@si.edu.

FUNDING

Science Museum Oklahoma (Oklahoma City, OK) announced that Schlumberger will provide a matching grant of $90,000 to help renovate the museum’s energy exhibit, Energy Quest. Energy Quest will feature more than 2,000 square feet of space and provide an immersive environment to explore the science, technology, engineering, and math associated with energy production in Oklahoma.

The Baltimore Orioles announced plans to honor the legacy of Hall of Famer Frank Robinson during the 2019 season by donating $20,000 to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture (Baltimore, MD) to highlight the achievements of African Americans throughout our nation’s history.

Public Service Co. of Oklahoma announced a $250,000 grant from the American Electric Power Foundation to help the Stafford Air & Space Museum (Weatherford, OK) reach its Legacy Campaign goal. The money raised during the campaign will fund a planned 18,000-square-foot expansion of the museum. Plans include expanding existing exhibit galleries, the addition of new galleries, and renovations to STEM classrooms and work areas.

The Detroit Tigers and the Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI) announced a special event- Arab American Night. The special night will take place on Aug. 6 at Comerica Park in Detroit. The evening is sponsored by Tigers partner Saad Wholesale Meats and $3 from every ticket sold as part of the promotion will be used to support the museum.

Sunderland Foundation has awarded Union Station, Kansas City, Inc. (Kansas City, MO) a multi-year grant of $1.5 million in support of Science City’s Early Learning Expansion Project.  The programmatic footprint will fill more than 35,000 square feet and include multiple exhibit zones and interactive experiences to spark curiosity and creativity in Kansas City’s youngest learners.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

A small yet mighty new dinosaur was recently discovered thanks to the work of Lindsay Zanno, head of paleontology at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and her team. The new dinosaur — Moros intrepidus, which means “harbinger of doom” after the Greek god Moros — is a relative of the much larger Tyrannosaurus rex, and is the oldest Cretaceous tyrannosaur species discovered in North America.

Warren Washington, a senior scientist from National Center for Atmospheric Research, managed by University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (Boulder, CO), won the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, considered the “Nobel Prize For The Environment.” He will share the honor and the $200,000 award, with climate scientist Michael Mann, director of the Earth Systems Science Center at Pennsylvania State University.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced 30 finalists for the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service including two Affiliates-El Pueblo History Museum (Pueblo, CO), part of History Colorado, and Orange County Regional History Center (Orlando, FL). The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for community service.

LEADERSHIP CHANGES

Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals (Hillsboro, OR) announced Board Member Garret Romaine will serve as interim director. Previous director Julian Gray stepped down and will continue at the museum as a curator and exhibition planner.

The Arab American National Museum announced Dr. Diana Abouali will become the new director of the museum in April. Dr. Abouali becomes the third director of AANM.

The Connecticut Historical Society, has named Robert Kret, former director of The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, as the museum’s new CEO. Robert will begin his position in May.

75th Anniversary of D-Day Smithsonian Material Culture Forum Webcast

Please join us for a special webcast of the Smithsonian Material Culture forum to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day. From its grand strategy to the personal stories of individual soldiers, the history of D-Day remains a captivating and rich story. To usher in the 75th anniversary of the battle, the Smithsonian offers a series of highly perceptive presentations in its 112th Material Culture Forum. “Forgotten Voices, Forgotten Objects” presents new avenues of historical inquiry, highlighting objects in the Smithsonian and non-Smithsonian collections as well as the research of experts on the topic. RSVP for the webcast here.

The speaker schedule follows:

112th Meeting of the Smithsonian Material Culture Forum

75th Anniversary of D-Day:

Forgotten Voices, Forgotten Objects

Monday, May 13, 2019, 4–6 p.m. EDT

INTRODUCTION
Michelle Delaney, Senior Program Officer for History and Culture, Smithsonian Office of the Provost and Under Secretary for Museums, Education, and Research and Todd Kinser, Chief of Exhibit Planning, Smithsonian Exhibits

WELCOME
Susan Ades, Director, Smithsonian Exhibits

MODERATOR
Richard B. Frank, a lawyer and military historian, has written several books and articles on the Pacific Campaign of World War II, including Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle (1990), Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japan Empire (1999), and MacArthur (2007).

Speakers will give lightning talks on a variety of topics, followed by Q&A.

Kate Clarke Lemay, Ph.D

Historian/Director of Portal = Portraiture + Analysis

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Coordinating Curator, Smithsonian Women’s History Initiative

Topic: “Gratitude, Trauma and Repression: D-Day in French and American Collective Memory”

Description: This presentation will focus on personalizing the memory of D-Day: how do memorials create official versus vernacular/local/personal memory? How does material culture inform memory? Whose responsibility is it to maintain memorials? Who gets remembered? Who gets forgotten?

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Frank A. Blazich, Jr., Ph.D

Curator, Modern Military History

National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

Topic: “The Magic Boxes of D-Day: How One Humble Invention Helped Make Operation Neptune Possible”

Description: How technology can be simple but when employed in an innovative fashion, also transformative.

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Laura Oviedo, Ph.D, ABD

Smithsonian Fellow, Division of Armed Forces

National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

Topic: “Belonging in War and Nation: Latina/os & World War II

Description: This presentation highlights the experiences of Latinos in D-Day and discusses the significance of Latina/o participation during World War II.

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Image credit: Master Sgt. Wallace B. “Jack” Jackson of the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion retrieved these objects from the Normandy beachhead to remind him of D-Day. He collected three rocks and carefully inscribed each “D-Day June 6, 44.” He also collected an ammunition shell casing and a German-manufactured package of bandages. Collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Krewasky A. Salter, Ph.D

(Guest) Associate Curator

National Museum of African American History & Culture,
Smithsonian Institution

Topic: “African Americans, D-Day and World War II”

Description: This presentation will highlight African Americans on D-Day, using a few select objects from the D-Day invasion currently on display at NMAAHC. It will also emphasize other African American experiences during World War II.

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Rebecca Head Trautmann

Project Curator, National Native American Veterans Memorial

National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution

And  Herman J. Viola, PhD.

Senior Advisor, National Native American Veterans Memorial, and Curator Emeritus, Smithsonian Institution

National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution

Description: As part of its NMAI Veterans Memorial project research, this presentation will feature the story of Charles Norman Shay who served at Normandy and has been honored with a memorial overlooking Omaha Beach and some of the other stories of Native American service connected to D-Day.

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Megan Harris

Reference Specialist, Veterans History Project

Library of Congress

Topic: “I Hardly Know Where to Start”: Personal Narratives of D-Day within Veterans History Project Collections

Description: This presentation will include a discussion of two unique items00a scrapbook and a personal diary—submitted by D-Day veterans Felix Adams and Homer Hall to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.

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Greg Elder

Chief Historian, Office of Corporate Communications

Defense Intelligence Agency

Topic: Intelligence Support to Operation OVERLORD

Description: Intelligence and counterintelligence played a critical role in the successful D-Day landings. German spies in Britain were captured and turned, codes were broken, operatives collected information behind enemy lines, aerials surveillance provided visibility in German troop movements and fortifications, and a successful deception campaign pointed the Germans to false landing sites. Without the accumulation of information and insight into German operations, the D-Day landing may have ended in disaster.

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Image credit: National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

Jeremy R. Kinney, Ph.D

Curator, Aeronautics Department

National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

Topic: Flak-Bait: A Story of Survival from World War II

Description: American aircrews flew the Martin B-26B Marauder bomber named Flak-Bait on more missions than any other American warplane during World War II, which included three times on D-Day.

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Shannon Perich

Curator, NMAH Photographic History Collection

Topic: Exploring Robert Capa’s Iconic D-Day Photographs

Discussion: Revisiting what we know and value about some of the

most well-known photographs of the historic landing on Omaha

Beach.

5:30—6:00      Q&A—Moderator: Richard Frank, Historian

The Material Culture Forum was organized in 1988 with a mission of maintaining the sense of a scholarly community throughout the Smithsonian museums, libraries, and research and cultural centers.  The Forum considers topics from the vast world of objects that the Smithsonian collects, preserves, studies, and presents.

the Moon is rising in Affiliateland in April 2019

Great events at Affiliates as spring starts blooming!

NORTH CAROLINA
The National Air and Space Museum has loaned three Apollo-related artifacts for the exhibition One Giant Leap: North Carolina and the Space Race opening at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, 4.5.

WASHINGTON
Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission exhibition, organized by the National Air and Space Museum and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, will open at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, 4.13.

ILLINOIS
As part of the Smithsonian Year of Music, the DuSable Museum of African American History will host A Celebration of Ella!!, a tribute event honoring the music and legacy of Ella Jenkins. At 94, Jenkins is one of the most revered singers and songwriters of the past century, with dozens of albums released through Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, in Chicago, 4.13.

PENNSYLVANIA
A protest armband from the 1960s, on loan from the National Museum of American History, will be part of the The Vietnam War: 1945-1975 exhibition at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, 4.13.


NEW YORK

Katherine Ott, curator at the National Museum of American History, delivers the last talk of the Questioning Identity lecture series, Poking at Normal: Museums and the History of Real People  at the Rockwell Museum in Corning, 4.24.

WASHINGTON, D.C.
Teens from five Affiliate communities will visit Washington with museum staff and parents, to meet with Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton and participate in person in the final meeting of the Secretary’s Youth Advisory Council. Thanks to the Rockwell Museum, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the Arab American National Museum, and the Upcountry History Museum, for helping us to include national teen voices in the work of the Smithsonian over the last two years!, in D.C.,  4.24.

IOWA
Smithsonian Affiliations Director Myriam Springuel and National Outreach Manager Aaron Glavas will participate in the affiliation announcement at new affiliate, the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids, 4.26.

MASSACHUSETTS
Astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory will present the April talk Moon Race: The U.S.-Soviet Competition to Put a Human on the Moon as part of the year-long Moon Landing in Context lecture series at Framingham State University in Framingham, 4.27.