Pandemic Perspectives

The National Museum of American History is launching an engaging series of free virtual colloquium presentations that combine questions raised by the current pandemic with explorations of historic objects in the national collections. Topics to be explored include Voting During a Pandemic and How Your Ancestors Had Fun at Home While Quarantining. Curators and historians will virtually share objects, using them as a springboard to dialogue.

Colloquium schedule (each program to be held via Zoom 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM)

Affiliates, if you would like to invite your audiences or stakeholders to join, please email affiliates@si.edu to register your interest.

Online Programs in 2020:

  • September 29, 2020: Fear and Scapegoating during a Pandemic
    Moderator: Alexandra Lord, Chair and Curator, Division of Medicine, National Museum of American History
  • October 6, 2020: Pandemic Pursuits: How Your Ancestors Had Fun at Home While Quarantined
    Moderator: Arthur Daemmrich, Director, Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History
  • November 3, 2020: Voting During a Pandemic
    Moderator: Peter Liebhold, Curator, Division of Work and Industry, National Museum of American History
  • November 24, 2020: Finding Comfort in a Pandemic: Chocolate, Alcohol, Bread, Pizza, Sushi, and other Comfort Foods
    Moderator: Peter Liebhold, Curator, Division of Work and Industry, National Museum of American History
  • December 1, 2020: How Are Museums and Governments Collecting Around COVID-19?
    Moderator: Alexandra Lord, Chair and Curator, Division of Medicine and Science, National Museum of American History
  • December 15, 2020: Looking Good on that Zoom Call: Cosmetics, Personal Care, Clothing, and Decoration of Space
    Moderator: Arthur Daemmrich, Director, Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History

Online Programs in 2021

  • January 5, 2021: Racing for Vaccines
    Moderator: Arthur Daemmrich, Director, Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History
  • January 19, 2021: Mask Up!
    Moderator: Peter Liebhold, Curator, Division of Work and Industry, National Museum of American History
  • February 2, 2021: Race and Place: Yellow Fever and the Free African Society in Philadelphia
    Moderator: Alexandra Lord, Chair and Curator, Division of Medicine and Science, National Museum of American History
  • February 16, 2021: Essential Workers: Prestige Versus Pay
    Moderator: Alexandra Lord, National Museum of American History, Chair and Curator, Division of Medicine and Science

If you are interested, please email affiliates@si.edu or contact your National Outreach Manager directly.

Kudos Affiliates!! September 2020

Congratulations to these Affiliates on their recent accomplishments during some very trying times! Do you have kudos to share? Please send potential entries to Aaron Glavas.

FUNDING

The Durham Museum (Omaha, NE) received a $5,000 grant from Cooper Foundation as part of a cycle of Rapid Response COVID-19 grants.

Humanities Nebraska awarded grants to 73 organizations including Durham Museum-$10,000, Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum (Ashland, NE)- $7,500 and University of Nebraska State Museum (Lincoln,NE)-$3,500 as part of a COVID-19 response initiative.

Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI) was one of fifty regional arts and culture organizations to receive $10,000 in relief funding as part of a grant program administered by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and CultureSource.

Mass Humanities distributed more than half a million dollars in coronavirus relief funding, to more than 100 libraries, museums, art galleries, cultural centers and other nonprofit organizations throughout Massachusetts including $10,000 to the Springfield Museums (Springfield, MA).

Maine Initiatives awarded $516,920 to grassroots organizations responding to COVID-19 which included a grant to the Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, ME).

The African American Museum in Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA) received a $50,000 grant from Pennsylvania Council for the Arts to help pay for staff salaries, facility costs and fees for artists or contractual personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded a series of CARES Act economic stabilization grants to support essential operations at more than 300 cultural institutions across the country including the following Affiliate projects:

Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ)-$87,121-The retention of seven staff members to develop digital tours of the museum’s signature exhibitions.

Arizona State Museum (Tucson, AZ)-$71,699-The retention of seven staff members to preserve and catalog two dendroarchaeology collections at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, one that derives from the U.S. Southwest, and the other, from the Aegean.

History Colorado (Denver, CO)-$175,000-The retention of six jobs to work with community partners and the public to collect oral histories from the Hispanic, Latino, and Chicano populations of Colorado about their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Connecticut Historical Society (Hartford, CT)-$45,049-Continued employment for the seven members of the historical society’s education department to expand distance learning programs and develop K–12 curriculum and learning activities.

Adler Planetarium (Chicago, IL)-$298,908-Retention of six staff positions to further digital engagement with humanities collections and sustained development of a crowdsourced transcription platform.

National World War II Museum (New Orleans, LA)-$200,000-Retention of up to nine salaried staff positions within the Education and Access Division of the National World War II Museum to support existing digital content and programming, and increase access to collection materials through digitization of correspondence and oral histories.

USS Constitution Museum (Boston, MA)-$232,468-The retention of ten positions to launch the All Hands Online Virtual Exhibit and develop digital field trips and education programs for summer camps, school groups, and families.

Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA)-$299,953-Retention of humanities staff to interpret the English and indigenous people’s impact on the New England landscape for “Seeds of Change: Transforming the Landscape of Seventeenth-Century” project.

Springfield Museums (Springfield, MA)-$141,300-The retention and creation of fifteen positions to rehouse, digitize, create online access, and incorporate into exhibitions the archives of the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, which contain correspondence, photographs, and other documentation of its Gilded Age art collection.

Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI)-$165,532-The retention of nine staff members who would enable the museum to transform its educational resources and exhibitions to an online delivery system in order to sustain and increase access to Arab American collections and services.

Durham Museum (Omaha, NE)-$175,000-Employment of 12 staff across four departments, as well as eight
summer interns, in order to preserve museum collections and enhance digital programs.

Las Vegas Natural History Museum (Las Vegas, NV)-$32,107-The retention of six staff members to develop online programming and on-site programs for re-opening.

Center for Jewish History (New York, NY)-$298,500-The rehiring of two employees, and restoration of hours and salaries for 21 other core staff, who would ensure ongoing and expanded access to sources held by the nation’s largest repository of archival materials on Jewish-American history and culture.

City Lore, Inc. (New York, NY)-$132,000-The retention of four staff members to create an archive on the coronavirus in New York City.

National Jazz Museum in Harlem (New York, NY)-$43,500-Retention of a senior scholar to curate the museum’s online content including, Harlem Speaks: Jazz for Curious Listeners, and Jazz for Curious Readers online public programming.

Ohio History Connection (Columbus, OH)-$292,560-The retention of 10 staff members in the Ohio History Connection’s Cultural Resources Division to prepare collections for a large-scale move to a new storage facility and to create online content with collections pertaining to the state’s history and its residents.

High Desert Museum (Bend, OR)-$191,920-Retention of seven staff members to develop virtual tours and programming based on the museum’s collections.

Upcountry History Museum (Greenville, SC)-$19,297-Two staff members for an in-progress project to move the permanent collection from an at-risk location to a new storage space that adheres to collection stewardship guidelines.

International Storytelling Center (Jonesborough, TN)-$219,109-Retention of seven staff members to develop a new storytelling platform enabling scholars, students, educators, and the public to access ISC’s digital archives project-Resilience through Story: Advancing the Power and Possibilities of the Humanities through Online Storytelling.

Burke Museum (Seattle, WA)-$107,812-The retention of three staff members to develop educational programing and community collaborations to promote understanding of Native American culture.

Thanks in part to Affiliates, the Smithsonian is on a Summer Road Trip

A new 40-page activity booklet for young explorers.

Summer vacations may look differently this year, but families can still have fun no matter where they spend the summer. With its new 40-page activity booklet, Summer Road Trip, the Smithsonian invites kids and their families to follow their curiosity through a variety of activities that can be done at home, on the road, at a campsite, in the backyard… or wherever they let their minds wander.

Developed and distributed in collaboration with USA Today, the Summer Road Trip invites students to explore puzzles and games, make art and identify wildlife among other hands-on activities. Travelers can follow the tracks of Monarch butterflies, invent new modes of transportation, create a mini-exhibit of objects in their homes, or create a gallery of artworks, all inspired by Smithsonian exhibitions, programs, collections and research.

Smithsonian Affiliates proved to be key partners in helping the Institution to distribute the printed booklets in their communities. As anchors in cities and towns across the nation, Smithsonian Affiliates energized their local networks of school districts, youth organizations, housing partners, recreation centers and more to offer these free resources to students in all corners of their communities. Through Affiliates, the Smithsonian was able to distribute over 20,000 additional booklets. THANK YOU to all the Affiliates below for your help in sharing our educational resources with kids nationwide.

Download your free Summer Road Trip here. (Adults are welcome to use it too by the way.)  Share your “souvenirs” and pictures with us at #SmithsonianEDU. Have fun and bon voyage!

Booklets were distributed in 20 states, thanks to:

Playing with the Smithsonian’s Summer Road Trip booklet at the Oklahoma History Center. Credit: Oklahoma History Center

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, Los Angeles, CA
History Colorado, Denver, CO
HistoryMiami, Miami, FL
Peoria Riverfront Museum, Peoria, IL
Conner Prairie, Fishers, IN
Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort, KY
National World War II Museum, New Orleans, LA
Framingham State University, Framingham, MA
Springfield Museums, Springfield, MA
American Jazz Museum, Kansas City, MO
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC
University of Nebraska State Museum, Lincoln, NE
City of Las Cruces Museum System, Las Cruces, NM
National Atomic Testing Museum, Las Vegas, NV
Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati, OH
The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology, Newark, OH
Oklahoma History Center, Oklahoma City, OK
African American Museum of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Children’s Museum of the Upstate, Greenville, SC
South Dakota State Historical Society, Pierre, SD
Birthplace of Country Music Museum, Bristol, TN
City of Austin-Parks & Recreation, Austin, TX
Witte Museum, San Antonio, TX

New Benefit: Smithsonian Voices

We want to help share your story! Smithsonian Voices is a blog on Smithsonianmag.com, the online version of Smithsonian magazine. Millions of visitors browse the content online per month and learn about science, history, art, popular culture, and innovation. The blog shares the unique voices that make up the Institution and now will include our Affiliate partners. A new blog—Smithsonian Affiliations Voices—is in development specifically for our Affiliate partners.

Smithsonian Affiliates are currently the only organizations outside of the Smithsonian invited to join the hundreds of scholars, researchers, and curators telling stories about their work. Smithsonian Voices content doesn’t have to have a Smithsonian connection—although having one is encouraged. Here, we want to provide a platform for our Affiliates and feature the incredible work they are doing every day, how they are engaging their communities, and demonstrate the importance of our Affiliate network in reaching broader and more diverse audiences.

As we finish developing the page, we invite our Affiliate partners to submit story ideas to be be featured on our page. Visit  the Smithsonian Voices blog page to get ideas and see how other Smithsonian units are telling stories.

Are you interested in sharing a story on our Smithsonian Affiliate Voices page? Contact Elizabeth Bugbee for guidelines and more information- BugbeeE@si.edu. 

Affiliates Shine During the Pandemic

The world we knew two months ago has changed because of COVID-19 but our Affiliates continue to exemplify their purposes during unprecedented times.

HEEDING THE CALL

As the need for more personal protective equipment (PPE) has increased, Affiliates have stepped to the front to create equipment and supplies for the medical profession:

The Pinhead Institute (Telluride, CO) has turned its 3D printers to create 45 prototype face shields for the Telluride Regional Medical Center and the San Miguel County’s COVID-19 antibody test site. After delivering the initial batch, staff at the medical center provided feedback to improve the design.  The Pinhead team will make 50 face shields a week once they get production streamlined.

Adler Planetarium (Chicago, IL) has re-tooled their 3D printers to make 40 face shields a day for first responders on the South and West sides.

University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL) is using industrial blending machines to make hand sanitizer. Scholars are also collaborating to design and make personal protective equipment to distribute to healthcare systems across Illinois.

Ellen Noel Art Museum (Odessa, TX) is using 3D printers to produce face shields and splitters that are used for ventilators as part of the West Texas 3D COVID-19 Relief Consortium.

RESEARCH

KingFisher, a state-of-the-art machine that helps animals thrive at the Shedd Aquarium (Chicago, IL) is being used to help humans fight the coronavirus outbreak. The instrument was loaned to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Chicago lab, where it’s being used to confirm the presence of the virus in patients. Samples are loaded into the KingFisher machine, which purifies and amplifies the viral RNA before the results are analyzed. After the samples are analyzed, scientists can determine if there is evidence of COVID-19.

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science (Miami, FL) is contributing to global scientific research efforts to fight COVID-19 by enabling access TO its powerful, state-of-the-art Frost Planetarium computer servers for Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing researchers for use in the critical Rosetta@home (R@h) project from the University of Washington. The R@h project is looking to help accurately model important coronavirus proteins and predict their three-dimensional shapes. The collective computing power provided will assist academic research groups worldwide as they model protein structures.

The Cheyenne supercomputer will be used for research into the COVID-19 virus. Image courtesy of Carlye Calvin, UCAR.

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (Boulder, CO) is joining the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium by providing the NCAR-operated Cheyenne supercomputer to scientists across the country who are working to glean insights into the novel coronavirus that has spread worldwide. Researchers are mounting a massive effort to learn more about the behavior of the virus, such as transmission patterns and whether it is affected by seasonal changes, even as they work toward the development of treatments and vaccines.

Adler Planetarium is letting researchers use the planetarium’s computer servers to help construct models of the COVID-19 proteins to help develop a vaccine.

ACTS OF KINDNESS
Affiliates have made significant contributions in other ways.

The Durham Museum donated 10 boxes of gloves and more than 50 masks to the Nebraska Medical Center. Photo Credit: Durham Museum

Durham Museum (Omaha, NE), U.S. Space and Rocket Center (Huntsville, AL), The Health Museum (Houston, TX), Denver Museum of Nature and Science (Denver, CO), Perot Museum (Dallas, TX), and Cincinnati Museum Center (Cincinnati, OH) donated organizational supplies to local medical facilities. Donations included face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, gloves, face shields, Tyvek suits, booties, biohazard bags, alcohol wipes and other cleaning materials.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (Merritt Island, FL) donated more than $10,000 worth of food, including a variety of produce and meat, to the Central Brevard Sharing Center to help assist the community during the coronavirus outbreak.

 

SUPPORT
Affiliates have turned their buildings into spectacular blue to honor those on the front lines:

San Diego Museum of Man bathed its tower in blue light and projected a “Thank You” slide as part of the #LightItBlue #LightItUpBlue movement to honor doctors, nurses, essential workers and everyone on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight. Photo Credit: SDMM

Union Station, Kansas City, Inc. in a spectacular blue light display to salute the healthcare community and first responders in the spirit of KANSAS CITY STRONG. Photo Credit: David Rainey

Kudos Affiliates!! March 2020

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

Springfield Museum of Art (Springfield, OH) received a $500,000 pledge from Speedway LLC to open its Art Invites capital campaign. The museum is now reaching out to the public to help bring in the final $1.2 million needed to fulfill the campaign goal. The funds raised will be used to tear down the oldest parts of the museum building, while increasing the educational space, which will double in size.

Mars Wrigley announced that the Forrest E. Mars, Jr. Chocolate History Research Grant is being awarded to five institutions across the U.S. and Canada in the areas of research and chocolate programming, including George Washington’s Mount Vernon (Mount Vernon, VA). The grant will be used to create professional development workshops and field trips designed to reach 40 teachers and 600 students in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). A unit entitled Chocolate and Trade: The Americas will be developed in collaboration with DCPS to support and enhance the current 6th grade social studies curriculum. Students will learn about the history of chocolate.

Citizens Bank of Kansas will provide scholarships to eight students to experience hands-on STEAM learning at a camp offered by the Cosmosphere (Hutchinson, KS). Scholarship winners will attend the Cosmosphere’s Mars Academy Camp, a four-day, three-night camp where students will focus on building a habitat for another world, understand and overcome the challenges of gathering resources necessary for life, and practice skills like operating robots and drones. The camp activities culminate in a team mission to orbit Earth. In addition, The MAAM Foundation is offering scholarships to qualifying students to attend the 2020 Cosmo Camps. These multi-day resident camps are focused on STEM-based educational experiences with a focus on aviation, aerospace, and space activities.

Framingham State University (Framingham. MA) was awarded $26,667 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as part of the fiscal year 2020 Partnerships Matching Funds Program to improve trails in Ashland. The money will be used to replace a drainage pipe, regrade pathways and improve storm water runoff treatment.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $750,000 over two-years to the Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI) for its landmark Artists + Residents program. Artists + Residents enlists national and international artists whose work centers on the complexities of Arab and Arab American representation and expression. Funds from the grant will be used to support residencies with a wide range of focuses and mediums and will include everything from artist talks and workshops to large-scale productions and exhibitions.

AWARDS & STAFF RECOGNITION

Robert C. Clark, President and CEO of Historic Annapolis, was awarded a 2020 Maryland Preservation Award in the Category of Outstanding Individual Leadership. Photo courtesy Historic Annapolis.

Historic Annapolis (Annapolis, MD) announced that Robert C. Clark, its President and CEO, was awarded a 2020 Maryland Preservation Award in the Category of Outstanding Individual Leadership. The Maryland Preservation Award Program, now in its 45th year, recognizes outstanding efforts in historic preservation, including education, restoration, and revitalization projects, as well as organizational and individual leadership. Mr. Clark was recognized for his effort in elevating the profile and visibility of historic preservation and cultural heritage programs in Annapolis.

The Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA) received two awards at the annual Public Relations Society of America Pittsburgh Renaissance Awards.  Their submission for the successful #MoonBox campaign (implemented during the final month of Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission, an exhibition by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) won the first-place Renaissance Award for Best Social Media Campaign of 2019. They also won an Award of Merit (second place) for the entire Destination Moon exhibit integrated marketing campaign that helped draw more than 100,000 visitors to the History Center during the exhibit’s four-month run.

LEADERSHIP

Marta Mabel Pérez, has been appointed as the new Executive Director of the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (Santurce, Puerto Rico). Marta Mabel has been part of the MAPR’s team since 2005 when she founded, and managed for 12 years, the innovative Artist Assistance Program (PROA), a project of liaison with the artistic community in Puerto Rico. She recently served as the interim Executive Director for the museum.

The trustees of the Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, ME) announced the selection of Christopher Newell as its new Executive Director and Senior Partner with Wabanaki Nations. Newell is a professional museum educator and a proud citizen of the Passamaquoddy Tribe. He has served since 2015 as Education Supervisor for the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center (also a Smithsonian Affiliate) where his team created educational experiences.