Interview with Brent Glass

NMAH 

Dr. Brent Glass, Director of the National Museum of American History, updates Affiliates on the renovation of the Museum, new features and exhibitions to be unveiled at their reopening later this year, and what it was like to be on the Colbert Report.  Check out the timeline below (or read the transcript).  Click here to access the video (you’ll need quicktime.  and don’t worry – it takes a few seconds to load).  Thanks Brent!

@ 18 seconds: Welcome to Affiliates
@ 38 seconds:
Discussion of renovation and architectural changes
@ 1:41: Pr
eview of the new Star-Spangled Banner gallery
@ 3:23: Exhibitions in the works for the renovated Museum
@ 4:44: What will Affiliates see this summer on the hard hat tour?
@ 5:30: What was it like being on the Colbert Report?!
@ 6:30: Final thoughts for Affiliates              

Butterflies

butterfly  Smithsonian staff are all aflutter (pun intended) about the new Butterfly Pavilion at the National Museum of Natural History.  We’re really excited about sharing this amazing new space with Affiliates this summer at the conference.  

Officially titled “Butterflies and Plants: Partners in Evolution,” the accompanying exhibition on co-evolution paves the way for the lush tropical experience that is the pavilion itself.  Museum staff provide a handy pictorial guide to the butterflies inside, and it’s very easy for visitors to get up close and personal… often, a butterfly will land on a shoulder or hand!  More importantly, visitors can see the interrelationship between the insects and plants, observing butterflies’ & their long tongues (proboscis) sucking out nectar or juice from the pieces of fruit available, before going on to pollinate other plants.     

The butterflies arrive in Washington in their cocoons (sorry, chrysalides) from farms around the world, and are displayed in a case inside the pavilion.  Watching them emerge is another cool part of the experience, as is the inspection all visitors go through upon leaving, to make sure no “hitchhikers” leave the space.  It’s sure to be a not-to-be-missed Washington experience, so sign up now!  or, click here for more pics.  Enjoy! 
 

Interior of pavilion    Closeup    Blue butterfly       

 

IMLS training graphic

Shaping Outcomes

shaping outcomes.gif 

Are you familiar with this course offered through IMLS?  Several SI staff had the opportunity to participate in a training session about this approach yesterday, and it was a real eye-opener.  Here’s an example –

In a typical project, you get an idea.  You plan the program, budgeting resources and costs, and argue successfully for modest funding.  You offer the services and monitor the results. 

Using Outcomes Based Planning and Evaluation, planning of the program includes defining what success will look like for the specific target audience, and how you will evaluate that outcome based on measurable indicators.  It makes you realize the difference between outputs and outcomes, outcomes being so much richer in terms of demonstrating long-term impact on your audience.  And that’s the key – the goals are centered on the end user, the specific target audience, be they African Americans in Chicago, 8th graders on a tour to DC, or 20-somethings with stereotypes on Asians (all actual Smithsonian examples which came up.)

Much of this content may sound like common sense, or like every strategic planning book you’ve ever read.  Many of the methodologies are the same.  But I would recommend this approach nonetheless… the online course is free, and is peppered with really wonderful case studies

Especially interesting to me was to see how often the goals I identified were institutional goals, rather than audience goals – the opposite of the Shaping Outcomes objective.  Whether the audience I defined were Affiliate organizations themselves, or the audiences they serve, our goals at Affiliations are the same – that they can access, appreciate, and be transformed by the Smithsonian, the national museum that they support through their tax dollars.  When that happens, it’s as good for us as it hopefully is for the audience.  Maybe that’s not so bad?! 

Affiliations National Conference 2007 and Affiliate Feedback

The Smithsonian Affiliations Conference commenced on June 5 last week after three days of meetings, tours and receptions in Washington, DC.

When it was all said and done, there were  91 staff members representing 61 Affiliates attended the conference. Registrants came from 29 states, Panama, and Puerto Rico. 

Altogether, 40% of our 153 Affiliates were represented by at least one staff member, and 74% of our locations (39 states, DC, Panama, and Puerto Rico) were represented.  25 Affiliates, or 41% sent more than one staff member, there were four Affiliates who sent either three or four staff members each.Attendees had their choice of touring among four different Smithsonian facilities.  In the formal program there were 30 presenters among 12 sessions. 

In addition, Smithsonian staff from at least 30 museums and units throughout the Institution participated in the Smithsonian Resource Fair, designed to introduce staff and resources to the Affiliate network.
 

Feedback from Affiliates at the “Open Mic” session on June 5:

Shawn Parker – Heritage Harbor Museum Providence RI : thanks for connecting us with other Affiliates, returning phone calls, setting up meetings

Sarah Henrich – Headley-Whitney Museum :Offering a traveling exhibition of Haydar Hatemi – an Iranian artist who paints in the 16th century tradition with prospectus availableLisa Girolami : Millard Sheets Gallery Pomona, CA: Needs traveling exhibitions of short durations – for the 4 weeks when LA County Fair is happening – short time, but gets 1.8 million people through the gallery;proposed a traveling exhibition created by Affiliates for Affiliates or if a 4-week loan is possible, let her know

Kate Schureman : Peoria IL – Lakeview Museum What is happening with search for new Secretary? And how will this affect Affiliates?

Lawrence J. Pijeaux : Birmingham National Civil Rights Museum –New affiliate : thank you to Harold and his staff

Nancy Bell : VA Museum of Natural History – ask for the elevator speech on what it means to be an Affiliate:“Long-term partnership between SI and Affiliate museums and organizations  to bring SI outside DC and allow people to experience SI in their own communities without having to travel to DC – establish that long-term partnership”

Suggestion: Harold Closter director, should send  a letter  to Affiliates 2-3 times a year to place in newsletters as a personal message to members -Ohio Affiliate

Suggestion : at conference, have peer groups get together to identify issues within their museums and with Affiliates Suggestion – post on Affiliations Web site a list of traveling exhibitions that are available from Affiliates Suggestion – Post confernece participants on the Affiliate only web site – get list of conference participants ahead of time – have each participant list the current challenges of their museum and little bios – then could contact people ahead of time – Lider Sucre Museum of Biodiversity

 

Suggestion: people are hungry for anything from SI – identify a small group of objects from each museum – put together a catalog of these objects (already conserved and with traveling crates and therefore, ready to go) for Affiliates to tap into in order to borrow

SITES: Why areAffiliates not given preferential treatment for SITES exhibitions and how can Affiliations assist with this?  

 

2006 National Conference

It has been a little over a month since our memorable annual National Conference. All the Affiliations staff members would like to thank the Affiliates who were able to join us to commemorate our 10 Year Anniversary. Here are some pictures for your enjoyment!

Smithsonian Resource Fair

 100_2815.JPG     

Office of Exhibits Central Tour

   Caroline 096.jpg 

Congressional Reception

 2006-13295.jpg     

10th Anniversary Reception

  Caroline 011.jpg    

Exhibits office tour 2002

2006 Conference Photos

OEC 024.jpg This year’s conference photos can be found online at Kodak.com.

 OEC 024.jpg

OEC TOUR