An inspiring exhibition for your neighborhood

"The Healing Power of Art" while on view at the Smithsonian's S. Dillon Ripley Center in 2010.

Thirty-five seconds. That’s all it took to forever change the world for millions of Haitians on January 12, 2010. Now imagine those 35 seconds from a child’s point of view.  

Soon after the devastating earthquake, first lady of Haiti Elisabeth D. Préval called on Haitian artist Philippe Dodard and his fellow artists, as well as psychologists, educators and politicians, to create a safe place for children to express their feelings through art. Operating from converted buses at two sites in Port-au-Prince, Plas Timoun (The Children’s Place) uses the power of the visual and performing arts to bring healing to children, ages 6-10. 

Exhibition works of art in the concourse of the S. Dillon Ripley Center.

The simple works on paper created immediately following the earthquake were dark in color and imagery. Soon after, drawings began to reveal glimmers of hope and healing. The children of Plas Timoun were using brighter colors and depicting the innocence of childhood and their vision for a brighter future, attesting to the resilience of a nation and the power of art. With the help of Plas Timoun, these children will move more confidently toward their future and the lasting reconstruction of Haiti. “This exhibition gives the children of Haiti a chance to present to the world their vision of themselves and of the reconstruction of their country,” said Préval. “Their voices, so well expressed by colors and emotions, reflect our imaginary and social reality as vectors encouraging viewers to think with us of solutions to the problems facing contemporary Haiti.” 

Simple works on paper in "The Healing Power of Art" reveal glimmers of hope and healing.

Nearly 100 paintings and drawings created by Haiti’s young people at Plas Timoun are featured in the exhibition The Healing Power of Art: Works of Art by Haitian Children after the Earthquake, organized by the National Museum of African Art. Now, Smithsonian Affiliates can be the first to host this inspiring exhibition in their own community.  

While several of the artworks depict images relating to death and destruction, they also include illustrations of houses – both standing and damaged – with local architectural features, planes and helicopters reflecting rescue and recovery efforts, as well as colorful Haitian flags, nature scenes, abstract designs and children at play. Drawings by former First Lady Elisabeth Préval, First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, and Second Lady of the United States, Jill Biden who participated in a painting session at Plas Timoun, are included. 

"The Healing Power of Art" at the S. Dillon Ripley Center in 2010.

In addition, the exhibition includes three videos: Thirty Five Long Seconds: Haiti’s Deadly Earthquake, an 18-minute film chronicling the earthquake and its aftermath written and narrated by Mario L. Delatour, and two short video segments, one in which Dodard discusses the concept behind Plas Timoun and the other on a visit to Haiti by Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden. An outstanding beaded Haitian flag, map of Haiti and didactic panels complement the exhibition. 

For more information on booking this exhibition, click here to download the exhibition prospectus.

At the Controls in your neighborhood

"At the Controls" exhibition at the Tellus Science Museum. Photo courtesy Eric Long.

Ever wondered what the cockpit looked like in Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis? Or what the viewpoint was inside the Wright brothers’ 1903 Flyer? Affiliates now have the opportunity to show their visitors an up-close view of some of the most famous cockpits in aviation history. At the Controls, an exhibition created from a book of the same title published by Eric Long and Mark Avino from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (NASM), invites visitors to get a pilot’s point of view through 22 large-scale, color photographs. 

Originally a Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service traveling exhibition, At the Controls completed its five-year tour in 2009 and returned to NASM where it is now being offered exclusively to Affiliates at a special rate. Interested Smithsonian Affiliates will only be responsible for the cost of shipping and insurance – there is no participation fee.  “The exhibition offers a never before seen and very unique perspective of the history of cockpits from some of the world’s most impressive air and spacecraft,” said Long.  

"At the Controls" at Tellus Science Museum. Photo courtesy Eric Long.

The exhibition is currently on view at the Tellus Science Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Cartersville, Georgia, and will close on November 13, 2011, after which time it will be open for additional booking.  

The images are printed on flexible material which can be displayed on lightweight, freestanding structures or on exhibition walls.  Each photograph is labeled with aircraft information and details specific to each cockpit.  Some of the extraordinary aircraft included are the Wright brothers’ 1903 Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, Chuck Yeager’s Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis, John Glenn’s  Mercury Friendship 7, Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, and the Space Shuttle Columbia. 

For more information on exhibition availability, please contact Smithsonian Affiliations National Outreach Manager, Caroline Mah, at or 202-633-5308. 

Exhibition Specifications: 

  • Contents: 22 large-format color digital images with text printed on flexible banner material, freestanding units
  • Size: 130 running feet
  • Crates: 3
  • Weight: 173 kg (382 lb.)
  • Estimated Shipping: For example, recent costs from Washington, D.C. to Cartersville, GA via Fed Ex were approximately $300.   Shipping prices will vary. 
  • Insurance Value: $22,000 ($1,000 per banner). Venues must have adequate general commercial liability insurance or be self-insured.
  • Space Requirements: minimum 700 sq ft.

**Affiliates are responsible for shipping and insurance costs.


A record-breaking sailplane of the 1930s, the Senior Albatross Falcon looks like an otherworldy life form.


SITES in your neighborhood this summer!

Smithsonian Affiliates across the country are bringing Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) exhibitions to their communities this summer. Here’s what’s opening at an Affiliate in the coming months:  

Marine radio messengers on their way to Okinawa, Japan, 1945. Left to right: Private First Class Joe Hosteen Kelwood (Navajo), Steamboat Canyon, AZ; Pvt. Floyd Saupitty (Comanche), Lawton, OK; and Private First Class Alex Williams (Navajo), Leupp, AZ. Courtesy U.S. Marine Corps.

July 23 – October 2, 2011
Wisconsin Maritime Museum (Manitowoc, Wisconsin)
Native Words, Native Warriors
Native Words, Native Warriors
tells the remarkable story of Indian soldiers from more than a dozen tribes who used their Native languages in the service of the U.S. military. Developed with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, this inspiring exhibition was made possible in part thanks to the generous support of Elizabeth Hunter Solomon. Additional support has been provided by the Smithsonian Women’s Committee and the AMB Foundation.

July 30 – October 9, 2011
South Florida Museum and Parker Manatee Aquarium (Bradenton, Florida)
Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants
Small yet abundant, with complex and wildly diverse lifestyles, ants are everywhere, living lives mostly hidden from our view. What if we could see into their world. on their level? What would we learn? What parallels could we draw between them and us? Now, with the aid of a macro lens and the insights of ant expert and photographer Dr. Mark Moffett, SITES and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History present the world of ants.

August 13 – October 16, 2011
The Charlotte Museum of History (Charlotte, North Carolina)
Singgalot: (The Ties That Bind) Filipinos in America, from Colonial Subjects to Citizens
After tracing the first trans-oceanic trade missions between Manila and Acapulco in the 1500s, Singgalot explores the tenuous political relationship between the United States and the Philippines, when Spain ceded the Pacific-island following the Spanish-American War. Rarely seen historical images detail Filipino migration between 1906 and 1935 as Hawai’i sugar plantations, West Coast farms, and Alaskan canneries recruited Asians to join the labor force. When the U.S. government sounded the call to arms in the 1940s, Filipino immigrants answered, serving as infantrymen and earning respect from a grateful nation. Nearly 20 years later, the 1965 Immigration Act hastened a third major wave of Filipinos who would champion major changes in gender equality and class in the Filipino American community and make significant contributions to the fight for civil rights.

Singglot documents the achievements of contemporary Filipino Americans. In 2000, Navy Captain Eleanor “Connie” Mariano, Medical Corps, was promoted to Rear Admiral, the highest military rank occupied by a Filipino American. Courtesy Filipinas Magazine.

Find a Smithsonian Affiliate in your neighborhood here.
Find more Smithsonian traveling exhibitions and programs

conference road trip to focus on community museums

Anacostia Community Museum

Yes, there are Smithsonian museums off the National Mall!  Most Affiliates know about the ones in New York City, but the Institution has another gem of a museum across the river in the Anacostia Community Museum.  Affiliations’ conference participants will be able to experience this resource on a special road trip designed to explore issues of specific concern to community museums.

Opened in 1967, the Anacostia Community Museum documents and interprets the impact of historical and contemporary social issues on communities.  After a narrated tour (on the bus) en route to the Museum, participants will receive a guided tour of the pioneering exhibition, Word, Shout, Song: Lorenzo Dow Turner, Connecting Communities through Language.  This show details the historical journey made by Africans, their language and their music, to the Americas.

Doing the Ring Shout in Georgia, ca. 1930s, from the Lorenzo Dow Turner Papers, Anacostia Museum Archives

Following the tour, Affiliates will sit down with the Museum’s staff to discuss the challenges and opportunities of working at the community level.  The Museum’s curators will also discuss projects underway with potential for Affiliate collaboration, including professional development and the Urban Waterways project.

Hope to see you there!  For information on the 2011 Affiliations’ National Conference, and to register, click here.

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Warriors at the Smithsonian Affiliations Conference

Michelle Delaney signs her book at the exhibition. Photos by Ashley and Aaron Davis of Happy Heart , LLC

In 2006, Michelle Delaney, the director of the Smithsonian’s new Consortium for Understanding the American Experience and a curator of photography at the National Museum of American History, first visited the Buffalo Bill Historical Center (BBHC). She traveled to this Smithsonian Affiliate in Cody, Wyoming, to research her book, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Warriors: A Photographic History by Gertrude Kasëbier. The potential to collaborate was immediately apparent to both the BBHC and the Smithsonian. In 2009, Delaney received a fellowship to research a companion exhibition, which  debuted in Cody at the BBHC in April of 2010.  Now the exhibition has come to the Smithsonian’s International Gallery – just in time for the 2011 Affiliations National Conference!

The exhibition displays photographer Gertrude Kasëbier’s (1852-1934) work which was inspired by a grand parade of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West troupe en route to New York City’s Madison Square Garden.  Kasëbier decided to document the participants and began a project to photograph Sioux Indians traveling with the show. On view are approximately 60 images from her work and artifacts on loan from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center’s collections.

An image from the exhibition by photographer Gertrude Kasebier, National Museum of American History

As part of the Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference, we’re pleased to have Michelle Delaney speak about the exhibition and join us for a tour on Tuesday afternoon, June 14. We hope to see you there!

For information on the Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference, and to register, click here.

Inspiring a Revival in San Antonio

“Above all, cultural organizations affirm the power and potency of art and culture to re-envision possibilities for a decent life and a common dream.”
-Dr. Tomás Ybarra Frausto 

The Museo Alameda in San Antonio, Texas. Photo courtesy of the museum.

Nowhere is this statement more relevant than at The Museo Alameda, a Smithsonian Affiliate in San Antonio, where curatorial advisor Dr. Ybarra-Frausto and colleagues have assembled a collection of historic and artistic magnitude.

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution, “Revolution and Renaissance: Mexico and San Antonio 1910-2010,” explores the evolution of art and culture in Mexico from 1910 through 1968, with particular attention to parallel and related cultural changes in San Antonio in the same years, and triumphantly marks a return to the Museo Alameda’s mission of serving the local community as well as the thousands of tourists who seek a better understanding of this important Southwestern city. 

The exhibition highlights artistic and cultural exchanges between San Antonio and Mexico, and includes over 200 rarely seen paintings, sculptures and folk art objects.  On display is an original signed print of the Plan de San Luis, a manifesto that launched the revolution published in San Antonio, also included are renowned paintings by Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, Maria Izquierdo, Roberto Montenegro and Carlos Merida among others.  “A comprehensive exhibition of Mexican art and culture that illuminates the complexity of the American experience” concludes Dr. Tomas Ybarra-Frausto. 

Dr. Ybarra-Frausto, a distinguished professor of arts and humanities, linguist, foundation executive and educator has devoted much of his professional life to encouraging diverse communities in the United States to better understand and appreciate each other’s art and culture, values and traditions.  He is also well known and highly appreciated at the Smithsonian where he serves as a board member of the Smithsonian Latino Center and advisor to the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). In 1997, he donated his collections of Mexican and Chicano prints to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and his literary archives of the Chicano Movement to the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art.  In honor of years of service to the Smithsonian, Dr. Ybarra-Frausto was awarded the Joseph Henry Medal by the Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents for “exemplary contributions to the Smithsonian Institution.” 

Alfredo Zalce (1908-2003), "The Attorneys (Los Abogados)," 1952, Oil on Masonite, Collection RRC. Photo courtesy Museo Alameda.

“We are proud of the exhibit,” said Rolando Pablos, Chairman of the Museo Alameda, “and most importantly, that the Museo Alameda is on its way to enjoying its rightful, long term place as a gathering center for all to enjoy.” 

We encourage all who visit San Antonio to stop in a see why we are justifiably proud of our Smithsonian Affiliates.

Is the Smithsonian in YOUR neighborhood? Click here to find an Affiliate near you!