kudos Affiliates!

As we closed out 2009, it’s nice to see some bright spots ringing in the New Year!  We’d like to acknowledge the following Affiliates for their hard work and success.

Smithsonian Affiliations received $8,000 from the Smithsonian Latino Center to support research trips for the curatorial staff of the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (San Juan, Puerto Rico), with the goal of organizing future exhibitions featuring Smithsonian artifacts.

The North Carolina Humanities Council has awarded $7,500 to the North Carolina Museum of History (Raleigh, North Carolina) for an expansion of the exhibition “Standing on a Box: Lewis Hine’s National Child Labor Committee Photography in North Carolina.” In addition, State Employees’ Credit Union Foundation has provided $500,000 to benefit the museum’s new SECU Education Center. The museum has also received a 2009 Creative Award from the North Carolina Museums Council for its Bits of History podcast series.

Museum of Arts and Sciences (Macon, Georgia) received a $10,000 grant from College Hill Corridor to hold “Art of the Hill” a spring break day camp.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, North Carolina), is the recipient of a $4 million grant from the State Employees Credit Union Foundation to support the Museum’s SECU Daily Planet centerpiece of the planned Nature Research Center.

Through state grants and local donations The Hermitage (Nashville, Tennessee) will begin a $1 million facelift to repair weather damage and wear and tear.

The Challenger Space Center (Peoria, Arizona) was awarded $50,000 from the Tohono O’odham Nation in September 2009 for a grant which will be primarily used for two new exhibits, the Gemini 8 and PlayMotion. The grant money will also help bring objects from the Smithsonian to the center for the Gemini 8 exhibit. 

National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium (Dubuque, Iowa) received a $500,000 earmark for exhibit fabrication and installation as part of the FY 2010 Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill. The museum also has received a $1.23 million grant from Iowa River Enhancement Community Attraction & Tourism program to complete an outdoor plaza for their new museum expansion project.

Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, Michigan) received a $40,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the Great Lakes Folk Festival.

Joe B. Keiper has been named Executive Director of the Virginia Museum of Natural History (Martinsville, Virginia).

Mid-America Science Museum (Hot Springs, Arkansas) was awarded $286,036 from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to fund a two year planning process aimed at improving the museum’s operations and exhibits.

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services recently announced the latest recipients of their Smithsonian Community Grant program, supported by MetLife Foundation including two Affiliates:

  • Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, Alabama) was awarded $4,500 to develop a teacher workshop, guest speaker, and advertising and promotion of programming related to the themes of 381 Days: The Montgomery Bus Boycott Story.
  • The Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future (Dallas, Texas) received $4,600 to fund a visit from Queen Nur, and create a gallery guide insert and marketing materials for events related to the themes of Freedom’s Sisters.

Three Smithsonian Affiliates were recipients of MetLife Foundation’s Museum and Community Connections program grants. The grants were awarded to 15 museums for exhibitions, artist residencies, and other programs that extend their reach into diverse communities.

  • Buffalo Bill Historical Center (Cody, Wyoming) ($70,000)
    For the Splendid Heritage: Perspectives on Native American Art exhibit and accompanying family days, lecture series, and artist residencies.
  • Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, California) ($50,000) 
    For Mixed: Portraits of Multiracial Kids exhibit featuring portraits, hand-drawn statements, and stories of multiracial children in the United States.
  • Wing Luke Asian Museum (Seattle, Washington) ($50,000) 
    For the Asian Pacific Islander American Art Making: Explorations in Identity and Community initiative, which includes exhibits and corresponding public programs and workshops.

looking for something?

Romare Bearden, Bopping at Birdland (Stomp Time), from the Jazz Series. 1979. Smithsonian American Art Museum

Romare Bearden, Bopping at Birdland (Stomp Time), from the Jazz Series, 1979. Smithsonian American Art Museum

Imagine you’re a curator at the American Jazz Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Kansas City, Missouri.  You’re putting together a future exhibit and trying to find objects to include that are both new and fresh while complementing your collections.  How do you begin to explore what the Smithsonian might possibly have to contribute to this project?   Instead of having to search each individual collection at the Smithsonian you can now utilize the Collections Search Center where over 2 million object records from across the Smithsonian are catalogued.

A quick search on “Jazz” yields over 1,600 documents throughout the Smithsonian.  Perhaps you’re looking for something artistic, like any of Romare Beardon’s Jazz Series paintings, housed at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  Maybe you’re looking for some classic photographs of Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, or Ornette Coleman which can be found in the National Portrait Gallery.   The Postal Museum’s collection of stamps may lead you to illustrate how jazz is commemorated in this country through the issue of stamps depicting famous jazz musicians like Ella Fitzgerald or Duke Ellington.  Even the collections of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries could lead you to some materials on the life of jazz legend Nina Simone.  One of the best aspects of this search capability is that it may lead you to museums you might not have thought would have jazz-related collections.   For example, the Hirshhorn Museum’s collections focus on modern and contemporary art and sculpture, but there you find a fantastic portrait of Big Joe Turner, a blues singer from Kansas City.

Within minutes of searching the Smithsonian’s vast collections utilizing this one-stop searching environment, you have found sculptures, paintings, drawings, photographs, interviews, sound recordings, sheet music, stamps, medals, letters and correspondence – all pertaining to jazz and legendary jazz performers.

So… try it out!  And let us know what you find.

Included in the Collections Search Center are records from the following Smithsonian units:

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
National Air and Space Museum
National Museum of American Indian
National Museum of Natural History
National Portrait Gallery
National Postal Museum
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Archives of American Art
Archives of American Gardens
Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Human Studies Film Archives
National Anthropological Archives
Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Smithsonian Institution Libraries
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory – Chandra X-ray Observatory

Thanks to Christopher Teed, Program Coordinator at the Visitor Information Center in the Smithsonian Castle for this guest post.

mark your calendars in 2010

calendar_icon-300x3003Just a few important dates Smithsonian Affiliations staff wants to make sure are on your calendars in 2010. Mark your calendars now so you don’t miss out on these great opportunities in the coming New Year!

Recommend an intern at your museum for the Affiliations Intern Partnership Program, deadline for summer 2010 is January 15, 2010. There’s no better way to help a student build their resume and get hands-on experience at the same time! Past students have worked on projects ranging from festival planning with the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage to collections care at the National Postal Museum. Read one past intern’s story here. Email Elizabeth Bugbee, BugbeeE@si.edu, for more details.

Stop by and say hello if you’re in Los Angeles for the AAM conference May 23 – 26, 2010. Smithsonian Affiliations will be hosting a reception at the Japanese American National Museum May 25 from 6 – 8 p.m. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet up with Smithsonian colleagues, celebrate our L.A. Affiliates, and network with each other.

Further your professional development by applying for the Affiliations Visiting Professionals Program, deadline for Fall 2010 is June 4, 2010. Looking to research collections for an upcoming exhibition at your museum? Need advice on exhibition design? Or do you want to know how to evaluate what visitors think of your museum? We have it all at the Smithsonian! With 19 museums, 9 research centers, and the National Zoo, there’s an expert at the Smithsonian waiting to collaborate with you. Email Elizabeth Bugbee, BugbeeE@si.edu, for more details.

Join your fellow Affiliate and Smithsonian colleagues at the Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference, June 13- 15, 2010. We’re tackling Grand Challenges together this year and want you to be part of it. As the Smithsonian implements its new Strategic Plan, be the first to see how you can take part. And, back by popular demand will be Funders Speed Dating. Keep checking your inbox for more conference updates!

what’s new at SITES

SITES Quarterly Corner | www.sites.si.edu


Be the first to host these new interdisciplinary exhibitions from SITES: 

X-ray Vision:  Fish Inside Out

an image from X-ray Vision: Fish Inside Out

an image from X-ray Vision

 Go Fish! 

Hook visitors of all ages with a show that celebrates the perfect marriage of art and science with spectacular, one-of-a-kind x-radiographs–X-ray Vision: Fish Inside Out {formerly titled Ichthyo}. 

Laid out in evolutionary sequence, the exhibition’s startlingly beautiful digital x-rays deepen our scientific understanding of the incredible diversity of fishes. With over 40 framed photographs, X-ray Vision reveals how the study of fish skeletons, fin spines, and teeth help scientists tell one species from another and understand evolutionary development.  A full color picture of the specimen is featured on every label.  Created using the latest digital x-ray technology, the delicacy and exquisite detail of the images tell these sea creatures’ wondrous secrets.  Tour begins August 2010.    


Remembered Light:  Glass Fragments from World War II

a work by Joseph Distefano in Remembered Light

a work by Joseph Distefano in Remembered Light

In 1944 and 1945, Army chaplain Frederick A. McDonald visited more than two dozen churches and synagogues destroyed by war and collected broken pieces of stained glass from their ruins.  For 55 years, McDonald dreamed of creating a memorial window as a symbol of survival, hope and peace from the broken glass.  In 1998, he shared the story of the stained glass remnants with friends and the McDonald Windows project was born.  Over the course of eight years, 25 windows were created by stained glass artists from all over the world.  Using a broad range of artistic interpretation and incorporating the colorful shards, each window is inspired by McDonald’s powerful stories and personal reflections on the lessons of war.


Remembered Light includes 25 remarkable glass art installations, several mural-size photographs, text panels, and engaging graphic elements.  Together, they create a vivid monument to preserving memory and celebrating peace.  Tour begins October 2011.


Long May She Wave:  A Graphic History of the American Flag

Noted graphic designer and collector Kit Hinrichs’ childhood show-and-tell of his family’s Civil War-era thirty-six star flag sparked his lifelong fascination with the Stars and Stripes.  Over the last 40 years, Hinrichs has amassed more than 5,000 flag-related objects- from quilts and clothes to posters and political pins, Native American beadwork, and, of course, historic flags. 


Long May She Wave, featuring selections of Hinrichs’ collection, will provide visitors with a thoughtful reexamination of the flag- not just as a symbol of pride, but also as a successful, high-impact graphic element used by artists, corporations, and activists to publicize their products and views.  From whimsical wind-up toys to serious protest art and political propaganda, the hundreds of flag-embellished artifacts shed light on social milieus of the time, reminding viewers that even familiar symbols can have deeper meaning.  An art exhibition for history lovers, Long May She Wave is a brilliant visual journey through our patriotic past.  Tour begins June 2012.

And don’t forget about SITES’ Community Grant Program, offering funding for public programs to accompany SITES’ exhibitions.  Deadlines have recently changed;  proposals are now due on the first day of May and November.

bravo affiliates! kudos for december ’09 / january ’10

In these tough times, it’s nice to see some bright spots.  We’d like to acknowledge the following Affiliates for their hard work and accomplishments.

The Museum of Arts and Sciences (Macon, GA) received a $10,000 grant from College Hill Corridor to hold a spring break day camp at Tattnall Square Park.

Ellie Donovan has been named Executive Director of Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA). Donovan has been associated with the museum since 1974, including serving as acting executive director since March. 

Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, MI)earned the 2009 Dorothy Howard Folklore and Education Prize from American Folklore Society (AFS) for their publication “Folk Arts in Education: A Resource Handbook II,” a resource for educators to bring young people in touch with their communities, their ethnic identities and the authentic cultural expressions of their own families.

An anonymous $6 million donation to the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art (Biloxi, MS) will fund construction on the Center for Ceramics, the fourth largest of the Frank Gehry buildings planned for the site.

Western Heritage Center (Billings, MT) received a $29,000 grant from the Montana Tourism Infrastructure Investment Program to replace an old boiler and install humidity control equipment.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, NC) received a $4 million grant from the State Employees Credit Union Foundation.  The grant will fund the centerpiece of the Museum’s planned Nature Research Center – a three-story multimedia program area for announcing key environmental issues and recent scientific discoveries.

Strategic Air and Space Museum (Ashland, NE) has been awarded a $200,000 federal grant through the Community Development Block Grant program. The money will be used for the repair and upgrade of various building projects.

The Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA) announced its accreditation by the American Association of Museums.

Wisconsin Maritime Museum  (Manitowoc, WI) won three Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards for their documentary  “Lost and Found: Legacy of USS Lagarto,” about the submarine, built in Manitowoc during World War II, that was lost in the Gulf of Siam (now Thailand) and rediscovered in 2005.

bravo all!

adiós to a good friend

Juan explains an exhibition concept during the Developing Exhibitions workshop in Washington, DC, June 2009

Juan explains an exhibition concept during the Developing Exhibitions workshop in Washington, DC, June 2009

It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Juan Pastoriza, a good friend and long-time collaborator with Smithsonian Affiliations.  Juan passed away on November 10, and will be greatly missed by his many colleagues, friends and family.

Juan was the director of the Museum and Center of Humanistic Studies at the Universidad del Turabo in Gurabo, Puerto Rico.  Recognizing a need for professional museum studies training on the Island, Juan worked with the Smithsonian to create a 4-part series of week-long workshops, leading to a certificate in Museum Studies.  Spanning collections care, public programming, exhibition development, and administration, Juan’s work touched scores of museum professionals in Puerto Rico, who went on to staff the Island’s museums, cultural organizations and municipal arts councils. 

Starting in 2002, the Smithsonian began sending its staff to Puerto Rico to lead and teach classes.  The entire Smithsonian was represented through these workshops, from curators to conservators, educators to administrators.  In some summers (2006 and 2009), Juan led a group of his peers to Washington, to go behind-the-scenes at the Smithsonian to experience museum practice first-hand.  In 2008, Juan worked with the Smithsonian to explore federal funding programs, attracting representatives from the NEA, NEH, IMLS, NSF, and the National Park Service to Puerto Rico, to discuss the details of writing successful federal grants.  Regardless of the location or topic, it was clear that Juan was committed to training the next generation of Puerto Rican museum professionals, and in the process, inspired his colleagues at the Smithsonian to be the best examples we could be.

The director of Smithsonian Affiliations, Harold Closter, offered these words of dedication, read at Juan’s memorial service on November 17 at the Universidad del Turabo:

Dear friends and members of the Pastoriza family,

We are deeply saddened by the news of Juan’s passing and reach out to all of you with our sympathies, compassion and love.  Juan touched our hearts and minds in ways that have changed us all, and in ways that we will never forget.  With a disarming smile and a gentle manner, he challenged us to be better teachers, better museum professionals, and better people.

The Smithsonian Institution owes Juan Pastoriza a great debt of gratitude for conceiving and organizing the annual Museum Studies Certificate program at the Universidad del Turabo.  The program was more than an academic exercise.  It was Juan’s way of preserving the heritage and traditional culture of Puerto Rico, a heritage he loved deeply and worked so hard for, by utilizing the resources of the Smithsonian to help train a new generation of Puerto Rican museum professionals. Through Juan, we had the privilege of working with the best and the brightest – museum staff, artists, community leaders, and passionate students.  Juan’s genius was to create an environment that eliminated the distinction between teacher and student.  Through Juan, we came together in a great circle of friendship and mutual learning. Juan and his students were often our teachers; from them learned as much as we imparted.

Each of us has strong memories of Juan – of his kindness, of his commitment, and of his probing mind.  He never stopped questioning and pushing us to unlock doors – doors that we couldn’t even name — that would make our work accessible and more useful to him and his students.  Because of Juan we have grown professionally and personally, and for that we shall be forever grateful.

A person like Juan is a gift that one experiences, if one is lucky, once in a lifetime. We were fortunate to receive this gift.  We know that Juan can never be replaced and we will miss him dearly.  He was a blessing whose presence enriched our lives and whose work will live on through all the people he touched. 

Adiós a nuestro amigo y hermano.  May your spirit continue to inspire us to honor the heritage and culture of your people, and the beauty and humanity of all people, everywhere. 

All of Juan’s Friends and Admirers at the
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, DC