kudos, affiliates! june 2010

Despite the economy, there are many bright spots to celebrate in Affiliateland this month.  Great job everyone!

The Leo Baeck Institute (LBI) at the Center for Jewish History (New York City) recently signed an agreement with the German Foreign Ministry, to receive $3 million over 2010 – 2013 for “New Acquisitions Preservation Project”, allowing for the cataloging of significant new historical material pertaining to the survivor population of refugees from Nazi Germany.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati) will have a new gallery housing a permanent exhibit on contemporary slavery, thanks to a generous gift from Lois and Richard Rosenthal. The new gallery space, comprising approximately 3,000 square feet, will open as the “Lois and Richard Rosenthal Gallery of Contemporary Slavery” in October and will feature the “Invisible: Slavery Today” exhibit on modern forms of slavery — the first of its kind in the world.

The PNC Foundation has awarded the African American Museum (Philadelphia), $75,000 to support Lens Legacy, a video project seeking to record personal stories.

Heritage Preservation announced the Atomic Testing Museum (Las Vegas) has been chosen to participate in Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Collections Assessment Program for 2010.  The program assists museums by providing funds for specialists to identify the conservation needs of their collections and recommend ways to correctly improve collections conditions.

The Montana Historical Society (Helena) has been selected to receive a “Connecting to Collections Statewide Planning” grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  The $40,000 grant is designed to assess the status of cultural heritage collections in the state and develop recommendations to ensure the ongoing preservation of these collections. 

The Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing) and Arizona State Museum (Tucson) are two of 33 museums nationally to receive a 2010 Conservation Project Support grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The MSU Museum receives a $149,316 grant to purchase and install “space-saver” (high-density) storage units and supplies for newly acquired collections, which include textiles and masks, as well as accompanying letters and documentation. Arizona State Museum receives $147,043 to treat 700 archaeological and ethnological ceramic vessels from its Southwest collections.

Conner Prairie (Fishers, Indiana) received the 2010 Pinnacle Award for the program “1859 Balloon Voyage Exhibit Launch” from the Hoosier Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) recognizing Indiana’s best and brightest communicators for work completed in 2009.

conference extra! FREE mobile media workshops for Affiliates

mobile-learning-instituteThe Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies (SCEMS), with sponsorship from Pearson Foundation and Nokia, is offering free mobile media learning workshops June 16- 18, 2010 after the Affiliations National Conference.  Affiliates are the first to have the opportunity to sign up to attend these free day-long mobile media learning workshops.  Extend your conference stay with these bonus workshops!

Click here to register

Leadership Summit Digital Media
Wednesday, June 16
10 am to 4:00 pm
Free to Affiliates 

The summit brings leaders in digital media together with school and museum decision makers. Participants will explore current research and effective practices in the educational use of social networks, cell phones, and social-media-based games and applications.  They will engage in digital media activities, view short media presentations, and discuss digital media in their own context and its potential to bring new life to learning.

Mobile Learning Workshop
Thursday, June 17, and Friday, June 18
10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Free to Affiliates

Learn to use digital media to engage young people with the tools they are already using in their lives outside of school. You’ll create media projects based on Smithsonian resources-digital tours, podcasts, wikis, and more. During the workshops, participants will collaborate with content experts from the Smithsonian and digital media experts from Pearson Foundation and Nokia to create new approaches for reaching today’s students.  The programs will make it possible to test and share how to use mobile technology in a museum setting.

Kudos, Affiliates! May 2010


Great news from Affiliateland… way to go!


Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, Michigan) will be a partner in the Biocomputational Evolution in Action Consortium (BEACON). A partnership between five U.S. universities, BEACON will be a five-year, $25 million research center exploring the intersection of computer and biological sciences, with a focus on the processes and results of evolution. The MSU Museum will assist in delivering educational outreach programs for schools and the general public through exhibits and virtual outreach (teleconferencing) programs.


The Putnam Museum (Davenport, Iowa) has reached an agreement with the city of Davenport through a real estate deal to receive $995,000 over three years. The money will be used for ongoing operating expenses.


Hy-Vee Inc. has made a $100,000 contribution to the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium (Dubuque, Iowa) to help fund the museum’s new Great Rivers Center. Hy-Vee’s gift will be used to fund the Water Cycle exhibit in the Great River Center’s RiverWORKS Gallery, an interactive museum-within-a-museum for children and families.

The Ford Foundation’s new Supporting Diverse Art Spaces initiative is giving $250,000 to the Wing Luke Asian Museum (Seattle, Washington), the country’s only pan-Asian-American museum, for marketing, a website upgrade, music events and other activities. The Foundation believes its initiative will revitalize local economies by promoting strong cultural environments, noting that support for the arts is even more vital in the current economic downturn.

For the first time, the Center for Jewish History (New York, New York) was awarded a grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities through its Fellowship Programs at Independent Research Institutions initiative to support fellowships devoted to advanced study and research in the humanities. The Center was awarded $169,200 to support (over three years) 12-month fellowships for distinguished scholars in Jewish studies.

 The African American Museum in Philadelphia (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) has been awarded a $150,000 grant from Save America’s Treasures to preserve its extensive photographic and film-based collections of several hundred thousand items.  The funds will enable the Museum to purchase new collections management software and provide internet access to a portion of the collection.  Greater access will also promote cooperation and collaboration with other museums, scholars and researchers.


Well done!  Do you have an accomplishment to share?  Leave a comment and let us know.

SITES’ quarterly corner


 Spring has sprung here in Washington, DC and we can’t help being drawn outside to experience the sights, scents, and sounds of nature. But you can bring nature indoors for your visitors through a selection of SITES exhibitions that explore our natural surroundings.

Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants

What we normally think of as pests are actually highly organized and industrious creatures. Learn about ant behaviors in this fun and informative exhibition featuring macro photographs, a cast of an ant nest, and a touchable ant model. A highly popular exhibition developed by the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum, The Hidden Life of Ants will soon embark on a national tour.

Contact: Minnie Micu Russell | 202.633.3160 | russellm@si.edu

Snow-covered ponderosa pine, North Rim.  Photo by Jack Dykinga.

Snow-covered ponderosa pine, North Rim. Photo by Jack Dykinga.

Lasting Light: 125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography

Ever been to the Grand Canyon? If not, you can still behold the majesty of this great American landmark through this exhibition of contemporary and archival photographs.

Contact: Ed Liskey | 202.633.3142 | liskeye@si.edu

Green Revolution

How can your visitors be more eco-friendly and what impact would such actions have on the environment? This unique exhibition is both “green” in content and delivery – we provide the design files, graphics and fabrication plans, and YOU build the exhibit. SITES thereby reduces its carbon footprint and YOU get to reduce, reuse and recycle materials from old exhibits.

Contact: Shavonne Harding | 202.633.3138 | hardings@si.edu

Transitions: Photographs by Robert Creamer

Photographer Robert Creamer used a flatbed scanner as his camera in this exhibition of large-scale images, revealing flowers and natural specimens in striking detail and depth. Only one booking period is left, so don’t miss out! Available June 12 – August 22, 2010.

Contact:  Ed Liskey | 202.633.3142 | liskeye@si.edu

The White House Garden

You’ve probably read about First Lady Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden on the South Lawn, but there’s so much more history to America’s oldest continuously landscaped garden. Learn about the development of these grounds from the 1790s to the present through reproductions of historic and contemporary photographs, maps, and correspondence.

Contact: Minnie Micu Russell | 202.633.3160 | russellm@si.edu

Rock the Green Revolution gives visitors helpful tips for how they can reduce their carbon footprints.



how will you commemorate the Civil War’s 150th anniversary?


Winslow Homer's 1862 Study of a Drummer, in the collection of the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.

Here at Affiliations, we’ve been hearing about all kinds of plans to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.   Thinking about borrowing artifacts?  Looking for a speaker for a conference or public program?  Wonder what kinds of exhibitions other museums are organizing?   Here’s what we’ve heard so far from inside the Smithsonian and around the Affiliate network.


For the Smithsonian, the best and first stop to view the vast and manifold collections on this topic is the Civil War@Smithsonian website.  There, artifacts from several Smithsonian museums are grouped under such topics as Slavery & Abolition, Soldiering, Life & Culture, Leaders and Abraham Lincoln, among others.  (The site even talks about the various ways that the Smithsonian itself was involved in the Civil War.) 


And speaking of Lincoln, you’ll find a treasure trove of resources (and possible speakers) at the Lincoln Online Conference site, sponsored by the Center for Education and Museum Studies.   Here, Smithsonian scholars discuss a wide range of issues related to our 16th President from Lincoln’s Air Force to Mathew Brady’s photographs. 


For even more ideas on programming or group tour itineraries, turn to the Smithsonian Associates’ Civil War Studies site.  You can also sign up here for the Civil War Studies enewsletter for up-to-date program information and original essays exploring all facets of the War.  Want to hear about the largest stash of money ever discovered?   Invite American History numismatics curator Richard Doty to talk to your audiences about confederate currency, and show a few examples from our collection.


If you’re an art museum, don’t despair – you might be interested in what the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum is planning to commemorate the War.  Better Angels of Our Nature: Art During the Civil War and Reconstruction will examine the impact of the Civil War and its aftermath on visual arts in America.   Information on commemorative exhibitions at the Portrait Gallery will be posted soon so watch out for that.


And how about in Affiliateland?  Many Affiliates are already planning commemorations of their own.  Here are some of the plans we’ve heard about so far:


–          the Frazier International History Museum (Louisville, KY) is planning a Civil War symposium, update to its permanent exhibition, & a traveling show called My Brother My Enemy

–          the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar (Richmond, VA) is partnering with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Alabama) on a 2011 Civil War Conference

–          the American Textile History Museum (Lowell, MA) is organizing a traveling exhibition on Civil War textiles

–          the Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA) will be one of three sites to host a major Civil War exhibition and will produce two publications on photography and the role of African Americans in the Civil War, as part of PA 150,  a major statewide commemoration  

–          the African American Museum in Philadelphia (PA) has already opened the Audacious Freedoms exhibition which explores the Underground Railroad, African American soldiers in the Civil War, and other topics

–          B & O Museum (Baltimore, MD) is planning a Civil War Railroading exhibition and symposium.


What are you planning?  Leave us a comment and let us know.

Kudos, Affiliates! March 2010

Way to go Affiliates!

Smithsonian Affiliations received $9,100 from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee to support a “blended learning” webinar on Universal Design in collaboration with the American Association of Museums.

 Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center (Hutchinson, Kansas) received a grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Travel and Tourism Division. The $60,600 grant will help leverage an additional $208,020, to develop the center’s new interactive exhibit “Investigate Space”, moving audiences from the past to the future of space exploration.

Strategic Air and Space Museum (Ashland, Nebraska) was awarded a $200,000 Community Block Grant from Cass County to begin renovation projects at the museum.

The Getty Foundation has awarded a $3.1 million grant to support a massive, Southern California-wide series of exhibitions. The money is going to 26 regional institutions including the Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, California) to support their roles in the program that celebrates 30 “thematically linked” exhibitions — that showcase postwar art in Southern California.

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation announced that the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation (Akron, Ohio) has been awarded $25,000 towards the development of a new national Camp Invention flagship curriculum aimed at engaging children in entrepreneurship as well as innovation.

The Exelon Foundation donated $250,000 to the African American Museum in Philadelphia (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) to support educational outreach and audience development, including the creation of study guides and brochures, staffing costs, and exhibitions.