Congrats to the new class of Affiliate Visiting Professionals!

(This is an excerpt of a longer article in the Spring 2019 edition of The Affiliate newsletter)

2018 class

The 2018 Visiting Professional class.

In October 2018, a group of 10 Affiliate colleagues from around the country convened in Washington, D.C., for a two-week, transformative experience at the Smithsonian. They were selected to participate in the Smithsonian Affiliations Visiting Professionals Program (VPP), a unique professional development opportunity for mid-level museum staff at Affiliate organizations. With generous support from The Getty Foundation, the cohort focused on a single topic — using digital technologies to broaden access to art collections — and added a leadership and personal development component to the curriculum.

Participants were selected from Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, Alabama); Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, California); Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, California); Museum of the African Diaspora (San Francisco, California); Peoria Riverfront Museum (Peoria, Illinois); Schingoethe Center of Aurora University (Romeoville, Illinois); Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, Michigan); American Jazz Museum (Kansas City, Missouri); The Rockwell Museum (Corning, New York); and Springfield Museum of Art (Springfeld, Ohio).

They represented various departments within their organizations and agreed that discussions about workplace challenges made a significant impact on them, especially since it’s often not the thrust of academic degrees. “The leadership piece was so important — how to build allies, how to communicate, managing change, even being a good follower,” mused Charles Woods, educator at Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. “My biggest takeaway was understanding that you can lead from wherever you are.”

People smiling at a table

The 2018 VPP class hard at work at the Smithsonian Affiliations office.

Each participant came to the VPP with a specific organizational objective. Aspirations were high for all participants, but the program taught the cohort how to take achievable action steps and think about iterating over time. “When I came, I had no idea what to expect,” said Erin Shapiro, curator at the Springfield Museum of Art. “But now, I think we have a high chance of success for our project. I don’t say that lightly. Everybody here recognizes that this will be beneficial. I feel fortunate to have participated. The Smithsonian Affiliations team did a fantastic job. It’s an important program.”

With the support of The Getty Foundation, Smithsonian Affiliations will host a second cohort in 2019. We’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate and welcome the 2019 class from the following Affiliate organizations:

Jewel Clark, Heard Museum (Phoenix, Arizona)

Susan Bolaños, Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, California)

Melanie Tran, California State Railroad Museum (Sacramento, California)

Melissa de Bie, History Colorado (Denver, Colorado)

Tasha Caswell, Connecticut Historical Society (Hartford, Connecticut)

Teresa Stenstrup, National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

Elizabeth Barrett Sullivan, Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, Michigan)

Kendra Newhall, Montana Historical Society (Helena, Montana)

Nicole Markham, International Tennis Hall of Fame (Newport, Rhode Island)

Katie Staib, Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (Spokane, Washington)

Congratulations! We’re excited to meet them all and can’t wait for the collaboration to begin!

Smithsonian Year of Music: Add Your Events!

The Smithsonian Year of Music is an Institution-wide initiative to increase public engagement, advance understanding, and connect communities in Washington, D.C., across the nation, and around the globe. The Smithsonian Year of Music highlights and shares our vast musical holdings, bringing together our resources in history, art, culture, science, and education.

Smithsonian Affiliates can have their music-related activities (performances, music releases, exhibitions, workshops, educational programs, lectures, films, and conferences) included with the Smithsonian listings.  Please submit your listings to affiliates@si.edu with the following information to join the celebration.

  • Title of event
  • Description
  • Date & time
  • Photo
  • Price and ticket link (or if free, that as well)
  • Website link

 

Kudos Affiliates!! August 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 Nissan Foundation awarded $740,000 in grants to 30 nonprofit organizations for its 2019 grant cycle. The grant recipients and projects include:

Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI) ($10,000)- Arab American Arts Festival and Community Development/Placemaking

San Diego Museum of Man (San Diego, CA) ($10,000)-Making San Diego Safe for Human Differences

Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, CA ($30,000)-School Visits Program

The Dubuque Museum of Art (Dubuque, IA) announced it has received several grants in support of its operations, educational programs, and a project to digitize its permanent collections:

$23,065 from the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, to carry out a three-year project to photograph and digitize nearly 2,500 works of art and upgrade its collections management software to increase public access, encourage scholarship, and foster engagement with its growing collection of American art;

$10,000 from the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, to support the museum’s operations and programs through June 30, 2020;

$9,259 from the Dubuque Racing Association to upgrade the museum’s server and to make other key technology upgrades;

$2,500 from ITC Midwest to fund K-12 arts education and field trips, building art skills into the 21st century, and creating more inclusive, affordable and culturally diverse programming.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno pauses to look at the childhood home of Theodor S. Geisel.

The Dr. Seuss Foundation contributed a major gift to begin work on the Ted’s House and Innovation Center project. This will transform the childhood home of Dr. Seuss author Theodor S. Geisel and incorporate it into the Springfield Museums (Springfield, MA). The Innovation Center will focus on family, community, and environments of innovation and creativity, and use multimedia, multi-lingual resources to help visitors engage in an entertaining and exciting exploration of Geisel’s childhood, his home and neighborhood, and the many influences Springfield may have had on his art and writing.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanic Gardens (Staten Island, NY) received a $1 million allocation from the Staten Island borough’s council members for infrastructure and HVAC system upgrades at the facility.

Ball Brothers Foundation awarded $10,000 to Conner Prairie Museum (Fishers, IN) to support 60 visits to Delaware County, IN, schools to bring history and science programming to students and teachers.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) announced the winners of the 74th annual Leadership in History Awards, the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. The winners include:

Conner Prairie Museum and Asante Children’s Theatre received the Award of Excellence for Giving Voice: African-Americans’ Presence in Indiana’s History.

History Colorado (Denver, CO) for the History Colorado Collections on view in Silverton, Colorado.

Montana Historical Society (Helena, MT) for project Montana and the Great War.

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA) for the We Can Do It: WWII Traveling Exhibit Outreach Project.

Judy Rand with her award winning script for the special exhibit Underwater Beauty at the Shedd Aquarium.

Congratulations to Judy Rand, winner of the 2019 American Alliance of Museums’ Excellence in Exhibition Label Writing competition for Shedd Aquarium‘s (Chicago, IL) special exhibit Underwater Beauty. Sponsored by AAM’s Curators Committee in cooperation with the Education Professional Network (EdCom) and National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME). The competition recognizes outstanding label writing that’s “clear, concise, and captivating…a combination not easily achieved.”

LEADERSHIP

The Board of Trustees of the Springfield Museum of Art announced the appointment of J.D. Beiting as Interim Executive Director. Mr. Beiting replaces Ann Fortescue, who departed for McAllen, Texas. Mr. Beiting will serve as Interim Executive Director for a period of three to six months or until the permanent successor is announced.

Cathy Green has been named executive director of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum (Manitiwoc, WI). Green served as interim director the past six months after the resignation of previous director Rolf Johnson. She had previously served as deputy director and chief curator of the museum throughout 2018.