your exhibit here

Anacostia Community Museum

Anacostia Community Museum

The Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum would like to host a traveling exhibition from May through August 7, 2011, to accommodate an exhibition space of 2,500 square feet.

The exhibition should address contemporary community issues in the urban setting and include engagement of a local community in its development. The content may address any of the following:  neighborhood histories; family histories and family life; the built environment and community development; cultural encounters and demographic changes; craft and creativity in community life; leisure and recreation; spirituality, worship and religion in community life; cultural and ethnic encounters; impact of globalization on communities and neighborhoods.

Please contact Sharon Reinckens at or 202-633-4838 for further information.

Dive into Deep Space

A glimpse at the Black Holes exhibition.

a glimpse into the Black Holes exhibition

Black holes are regions in space with gravity so powerful that nothing can escape, and where time and space are warped beyond our understanding. A new traveling exhibition from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics will guide visitors on a journey to the edge of these strange objects to discover how the latest research is turning science fiction into fact, challenging our notions of space and time in the process.

Created by educators and scientists at the Center for Astrophysics (CfA), Black Holes: Space Warps & Time Twists is an exploration of the most mysterious and powerful objects in the universe. It opened at the Boston Museum of Science, and is now available to travel.

Project director Mary Dussault explains, “In this exhibition, we wanted to use the inherent fascination of black holes as a compelling vehicle to engage museum visitors in the larger story of how scientific discovery works–and how science is connected to human curiosity, imagination and culture.”

The interactive stations in the 2,500-square-foot exhibition address a number of questions:

    What is a black hole?
    Where are they?
    How do we find black holes if they are really black?
    What would happen if you were sucked into one?

One station allows visitors to experience their own black hole adventure. Using one of three “excursion pods,” visitors will embark on a fantasy “adventure vacation” to the black hole at the center of our own galaxy. As they make their way toward this “deep space dive,” travelers explore the phenomena around the black hole, including warped space, the slowing of time, and the dangerous magnetic fields and radiation that could leave them stranded on their cosmic adventure.

The exhibition is being traveled by the Association of Science – Technology Centers, and is available to Smithsonian Affiliates at the members’ price. Affiliates also receive exclusive access to CfA staff, including a special lecture from a Smithsonian scientist working with the Chandra X-ray Observatory (the world’s best black hole hunting machine); and the opportunity to collaborate with educators from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory to offer a special teacher workshop to their local school-based audiences, among other programming. 

Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics is a joint collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory. CfA scientists, organized into six research divisions, study the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the universe.

behind the scenes with african animals


Annmarie Garden staff chat with curator Bryna Freyer in the storage area of the National Museum of African Art

Annmarie Garden staff chat with curator Bryna Freyer in the storage area of the National Museum of African Art

One of the favorite parts of my job is when an Affiliate director says, “do you think we could get a tour of that new exhibition?”  It gets even better when the curator on the tour says, “and I have more objects like this in storage;  let’s take a look.”   Yeah!

I was fortunate one morning last week to find myself in this very situation.  Stacey Hann-Ruff, the director and Melissa Winslow Langley, the curator of exhibitions at Annmarie Garden and I were touring the National Museum of African Art’s really fantastic new exhibition, Artful Animals with its curator, Bryna Freyer.  The show is about how African artists use images of domestic and wild animals to create striking works of art.  The show is grouped around the type of animal (leopards, birds, snakes, elephants, dogs, etc.)  It is striking to see the same beast portrayed in different ways across various media.  (I think Melissa’s favorites were the weights.)  Observation of the animal’s conduct and distinct behaviors carry messages in performances, stories and proverbs that are captured by and through the works.  As per the exhibition’s website, “the approximately 125 works capture not only the physical characteristics of animals but also the many ways that animals, from spiders to leopards, act out our human shortcomings and successes.”

It’s that 125 number that is key, because the object list originally started out at around 400!  This meant of course, that lots more amazing artifacts were in storage.  We got to see additional, stunning works – from street paintings on wood to tall equestrian sculptures to a variety of hats featuring animal parts (like porcupine quills.)

An animal mosaic in fabric, behind the scenes at African Art

An animal mosaic in fabric, behind the scenes at African Art

The exhibition will be up until February 2010, and is well worth a visit (even if you don’t go behind the scenes!)

Who will be chosen? The decision is yours.

Rendering for the future Only in America gallery.

Rendering for the future Only in America gallery.


Thanks to Ilana Blumenthal, Public Relations Associate at the National Museum of American Jewish History, for this guest post.


My first vote is going to the Marx Brothers. That’s an easy one. Their quick wits and dry humor have filled both my childhood and adulthood with laughter, and to me, humor is one of the greatest contributions one can make to society. I can’t forget Richard Rodgers or Stephen Sondheim. At the age of 27, I have found that their music and words have taught me more about the world, history and human nature than textbooks ever could have and with much more color and passion. Additionally, I have lived my life as a committed Zionist, so Golda Meir or Henrietta Szold also make my list of the top 18 American Jews that I feel have made the biggest contribution to society. Who will make yours?


The National Museum of American Jewish History launched a website,, that asks the public to help select who will be included in our Only in America® Gallery/Hall of Fame, which will be a signature component of the core exhibition when the new Museum opens in November 2010. Situated on the first floor of the Museum, the gallery will examine the choices, challenges and opportunities that have been faced by a remarkable group of American Jews on their paths to accomplishment through featuring major film productions, original artifacts, and an interactive database.


Visitors to the website will have the opportunity to vote on a list of 218 candidates in the fields of Arts and Entertainment; Business and Philanthropy; Literature; Performance; Politics, Law and Activism; Religion and Thought; Science and Medicine; and Sports. Participants can also cast write-in votes. Voting ends Thursday, August 6, so hurry.


Irving Berlin. Levi Strauss. Steven Spielberg. Albert Einstein. Rebecca Gratz. Sandy Koufax. Molly Picon. Which Jewish Americans should be recognized in a major museum exhibition? The National Museum of American Jewish History is inviting you to tell us what you think. Let us know.


The Museum is constructing the new 100,000–square-foot, five-story building on Independence Mall in Philadelphia. It is dedicated to telling the still-unfolding story of Jews in America, who embraced freedom with its choices and challenges as they shaped and were shaped by our nation. The Museum envisions its new home as a place that welcomes all people, inviting them to discover what they have in common with the Jewish experience in America, as well as to explore the features that make this history distinctive.




Which one will you choose? 

Which one will you choose?





Textile Revolution!

What do sheep and baseballs have in common?

Textile Revolution: An Exploration through Space and Time

Textile Revolution: An Exploration through Space and Time exhibition entrance




This is one of the many intriguing questions answered in the new permanent exhibition, Textile Revolution: An Exploration through Space and Time at the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts.

On June 19, the Museum cut the ribbon on their own revolution.  Having been closed for two years, the Museum reopened with updated, interactive displays that tell the history of American textiles, up to the present.  “Most people have no idea how their lives are shaped by textiles – far beyond the clothing they wear,” said Jim Coleman, the Museum’s President and CEO.  Indeed, the exhibition moves the visitor though spinning yarn in the home in pre-industrial times (hence, where we get the term “spinster“) to contemporary textiles that encompass cars, high-performance bicycles, and “sharkskin” suits worn by Olympic swimmers.

Carbon fibers woven into a high-performance bicycle frame.

Carbon fibers woven into high-performance bicycle frames.

Lowell Mayor “Bud” Caulfield called the renovated Museum “a jewel in Lowell’s cultural landscape.”    Through its innovative approach to illuminating the history of textiles and the importance of textiles to the scientific, medical, aeronautic fields and beyond, the Museum is truly a jewel in America’s cultural landscape.  With tens of thousands of textiles spread across at least 6 Smithsonian museums, we can’t wait to get started collaborating with the Museum to enhance the story through our Affiliate partnership.

Kudos to the Museum – its staff, board, donors and supporters – on a job well done!

Museum stakeholders cut the ribbon to the new Museum and permanent exhibition.

Museum stakeholders cut the ribbon to the new Museum and permanent exhibition.


The Museum really knows how to celebrate!

The Museum really knows how to celebrate!



The Other 90% in Atlanta

Thanks to Louise Shaw, Curator, Global Health Odyssey Museum, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for this guest post.

Photo credit: Jim Gathany, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As curator of the Global Health Odyssey Museum at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] in Atlanta, I had the challenging and exciting task of designing and installing Design for the Other 90%. This traveling exhibit was curated by Cynthia Smith of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City, and “features more than 30 projects that reflect a growing movement among designers, engineers, and social entrepreneurs to create low-cost solutions for everyday problems,” targeting 90% of the world’s 6.5 billion people who “have little or no access to most of the products and services many of us take for granted.”

Context is everything.

As one of the world’s leading public health agencies, CDC is committed to achieving true improvements in all people’s lives, and we walk the walk. This explains why the Global Health Odyssey Museum was interested in mounting Design for the Other 90%. At CDC, we believe that poverty, whether abroad or in the U.S., is directly linked to health gaps, disproportionately affecting certain populations, as well as geographic regions. Any effort to improve global health must also holistically address issues of education; shelter; access to water, food, and technology; affordable transportation; economic opportunities; and sustainability.

So, what an opportunity Design for the Other 90% has been. We are engaging with CDC staff members who actually have been deeply involved in the issues brought up in the exhibit, as well as the evaluation and distribution of some of the design objects on display. The exhibit has also drawn tremendous interest from educational institutions such as the Georgia Institute of Technology and Savannah College of Art and Design, and from the entire Atlanta design community.

Because the original installation was mounted totally outside on the CH’s grounds, each host institution was tasked to create a new and unique design plan, and fabricate its own exhibit display elements. We had a great time figuring out how to display objects ranging from a latrine slab used in refugee camps in East Africa to a house for the homeless made by the Atlanta-based Mad Housers to treated bednets. Our entire design and fabrication team really rose to the occasion, using warehouse crates for pedestals, building floor trays to display objects such as water pumps, and even appropriating a piece of 1000-pound concrete as a base for a 12′ solar lamp post!

At the end of the day, by highlighting innovative designs meant to improve the lives of all, we have been able to acknowledge our collective responsibility for both solutions and actions. Like the previous hosts of the exhibit–the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, Canada–we are committed to exploring issues of social change and justice that will allow the world’s populations to live the best lives possible.

To learn more about this exhibition and its travel schedule, visit it online at 
or email Cynthia Smith at