Smithsonian Secretary kicks off 2014 Affiliations National Conference

Education and access have always been at the core of all of our work. Our Affiliate network provides countless opportunities for informal learning in local communities across the U.S. through research, scholarship and exhibitions both real and virtual. Many Affiliates have collaborated with the Smithsonian on online national summits for teens, science webcasts, and even collected oral histories all captured for a virtual audience as well as developed as engaging public programs at each organization.

We’ve invited Smithsonian Secretary, G. Wayne Clough, to be our Keynote Speaker at our 2014 Affiliations National Conference* (June 23-25) to share how Affiliates are our partners in tackling a digital world.

“While digital technology poses great challenges, it also offers great possibilities. For the Smithsonian and our nation’s other museums, libraries and archives, today is a time when we can serve the role our founders envisioned for the educational systems of our republic. We can help all the people, not just a few of the people, to understand our culture, the cultures of other countries and life in all its dimensions.”

Join us on June 24 and discover the possibilities when we partner in making our collections more accessible and provide lifelong learning experiences to all of our visitors through innovative digital access.

To read the Secretary’s free book Best of Both Worlds: Museums, Libraries, and Archives in a Digital Age and see a short video, go to https://www.si.edu/BestofBothWorlds. The book is also available for free at iTunes U. Read the full press release for the Secretary’s e-book here.

*The Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference is for current Affiliates only. If you are interested in becoming an Affiliate, or have an application in progress and would like to attend the Conference, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee for more information.

Unearthing Paleontologists in Miami

A special thanks for this guest post to Michelle Beumer, Restoration and Social Action Coordinator at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science in Miami, Florida.

Ever wanted to be a Paleontologist? Last Thursday, over 100 fifth grade students from Goulds Elementary School in Homestead got to experience a day in the life of a paleontologist. Through a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science staff joined Goulds Elementary students for a fossil whalebone scavenger hunt, a live science webcast with Dr. Nick Pyenson, and a question and answer session hosted by the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.

Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science staff member, Ta-Shana Taylor is our very own whalebone expert, and guides the students through their scavenger hunt activity. Photo courtesy Frost Museum of Science.

Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science staff member, Ta-Shana Taylor is our very own whalebone expert, and guides the students through their scavenger hunt activity. Photo courtesy Frost Museum of Science.

To jump-start the immersion experience, students were sent on a mission to hunt for special whale fossils.  Through various stations, students took a trip around the world exploring different fossil-rich locations. Students dug through buckets of sand (not unlike real paleontologists) to find their bone.  Working as a team, students then had to figure out the story of their whalebone in a broader picture by comparing results in each of the five world locations. Then Smithsonian scientist Dr. Nick Pyenson discussed his research on the webcast and showed some of the specimens that be found through his work in Peru, Chile, the eastern United States, Panama, and Vancouver, while answering questions that students from around the country asked via a live chat window. The students from Goulds Elementary learned basic whale anatomy and how that corresponds to our own human anatomy, what whale species are rare and common now versus millions of years ago, and how paleontologists discover and dig up history.

Photo courtesy Frost Museum of Science.

Photo courtesy Frost Museum of Science.

The new Q?RIUS (pronounced “curious”) collection at the National Museum of Natural History will be presented through a series of live webcasts. From January until June 2014, nine live webcasts will air that examine a wide range of scientific topics that are perfect for you and your classrooms to watch, participate in, and enjoy. Each webcast is based on the Next Generation Science Standards and entices students to explore core science concepts through real-world connections.

Explore the topics in the schedule to access a package of classroom activities, lessons, readings and other related resources that support each webcast program.

Join us in our scientific adventures and tune in to watch real Smithsonian scientists talk about their research and answer your questions, live!

Join the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science and the National Museum of Natural History on February 12th to become Bird Detectives with featuring Carla Dove.

Students watching the Q?RIUS webcast from the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy Frost Museum of Science.

Students watching the Q?RIUS webcast from the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy Frost Museum of Science.

Happy 2014 Affiliateland!

prezi22013 was an exciting year for Smithsonian Affiliates. If you saw our recent e-Affiliate newsletter, our Year in Review Prezi took you on a coast-to-coast road trip through a Seriously Amazing year in Affiliate neighborhoods. But there was so much good news to tell we couldn’t fit it all in to one Prezi. So here are some more 2013 Affiliations by the numbers fun facts for you. Happy New Year! We are looking forward to a collaboration-filled 2014 with all of you.

There were 183 Affiliates in 43 states, Puerto Rico and Panama. Nine new Affiliates joined our network in 2013!

Our social media platforms grew and helped us engage with more than 670,000 people  interested in the Smithsonian in their neighborhood:

7,481      Blog Visits (unique visits)

2,175      Facebook Fans

2,818      Twitter Followers

671,178     YouTube views

 12,000   new museum members joined the Smithsonian through the Smithsonian Affiliations Membership Program offered at their local Affiliate.

Our National Outreach Managers helped facilitate 80  new Artifact loans for Affiliates. There are now 1,359 Smithsonian artifacts currently on view in Affiliate communities.

17 Smithsonian exhibits at 20 Affiliates opened in 2013. Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service organized 10 of them for travel. Four of those Affiliates were awarded Smithsonian Community Grants, sponsored by MetLife, to plan programming to go along with the SITES exhibits at their museum.

Our Affiliates hosted 66 Smithsonian speakers and experts in 2013, sharing stories about Citizen Science, DNA an its influence on modern discoveries, Thomas Jefferson’s Bible, the art of boat-building, Elvis, Asian American portraits and much, much more.

In September 2013,  89 Affiliates participated in Museum Day Live!, opening their doors to visitors for free thanks to Smithsonian magazine.

The 2013 Affiliations National Conference was one of our highest attended events in Affiliations history! 119 attendees from 74 Affiliate organizations in 31 states and Puerto Rico joined Smithsonian colleagues in Washington, D.C.  18 Affiliate colleagues participated as panelists, and spoke about topics including digital outreach, 3-D imaging, mobile apps, traveling exhibits, and collaborative fundraising. (Mark your calendars for this year’s conference- June 23-24, 2014!)

Thanks to all of our Smithsonian and Affiliate colleagues who helped make 2013 such a success!

 

Smithsonian X 3D: Revolutionizing how we see things

Recently, the Smithsonian unveiled the Smithsonian X 3D Collection and state-of-the-art 3D explorer. The Smithsonian X 3D Collection features objects from the Smithsonian that highlight different applications of 3D capture and printing, as well as digital delivery methods for 3D data in research, education and conservation. It was featured in a Center for the Future of Museums blog last week as well. Will it revolutionize the way we teach? Perhaps one day soon. But right now it’s certainly transforming the way we see the world one amazing object at a time!

I had a chance to explore the new 3D website and it’s definitely worth registering for an account. Getting an up-close look at the Wright flyer or watching a video describing how the scans were completed is worth it alone, and then add on the ‘tours’ for each object and your creative wheels start turning thinking of how you can share this with everyone you know. All objects in the explorer come with comprehensive guided tours. Each tour tells an interesting story about an object of the Smithsonian X 3D Collection. Tours are similar to PowerPoint presentations, but are always “live”. At any time during a tour, you can interact with everything you see in the viewer. It was pretty easy to get a handle on and after clicking around for a while, I had it down and was zooming in and out to look at details in the Wright flyer.

 

The coolest thing for Affiliates is the potential in the Educators section. In order to make our 137 million object collection more accessible, the 3D team came up with these teachable objects for everyone to explore. Some of our Affiliates are already using 3D technology for educational purposes. In fact, Dr. Herbert Maschner, Director of the Idaho Museum of Natural History, an Affiliate in Pocatello, Idaho, was a panelist in the recent symposium at the Smithsonian. He spoke about his museum’s work in “democratizing science,” scanning collections all over the world, resulting in data sets which can be used by researchers in a variety of disciplines.  The scans result in 3D or electronic files which can now be accessed from anywhere- even by teachers in classrooms, tying the subject matter into school curricula.

One of our National Outreach Managers, Laura Hansen, was able to attend the Smithsonian X 3D conference and said,

“This technology represents a wonderful opportunity for museums.  Models resulting from high resolution scans and printed on a 3D printer can give visitors and students access to objects in unprecedented ways.  Want to study mathematics? How about a scale model of the Parthenon to inspire students?  Wish you could handle a fragile fossil bone to see how an animal moved?  These scans and printed objects can help us think about collections in new ways, making museums repositories of information from the past that can literally shape our future.”

So take some time and explore the new Smithsonian X 3D Collection.  Just another idea from your friends at Smithsonian Affiliations to bring the Smithsonian to your neighborhood!

Have you caught up on Smithsonian news in your neighborhood?

cover2Extra! Extra! Read all about it! The Fall 2013 issue of The Affiliate Newsletter just wrapped up production. In this issue:

West Coast Partner Brings SI to LA

Get a peek at several Smithsonian collaborations at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles that are helping to tell the American story through the Japanese story.

2013 conference attendees participated in hands-on workshops at ImagiNATIONS education space in the National Museum of the American Indian.

2013 conference attendees participated in hands-on workshops at ImagiNATIONS education space in the National Museum of the American Indian.

Connecting Communities, Classrooms, and Colleagues at the 2013 National Conference

A record-breaking 119 attendees from 74 Affiliates attended the 2013 Affiliations National Conference. Check out some conference photos and see what your Affiliate colleagues said about the meeting.

Hanging Out with Elvis in Fort Worth

Guest author Amy Henderson, cultural historian at the National Portrait Gallery, shares her experience visiting Fort Worth Museum of Science and History while the Elvis at 21 exhibition was on display.

Smithsonian EdLab Shares New Twist to Digital Learning

Smithsonian EdLab workshops at four Affiliates demonstrated the power of going beyond the walls of the classroom to create a 21st-century idea of what education can be.

Announcing the I. Michael Heyman Smithsonian Across America Fund

We’re announcing a new fund to support the work of Smithsonian Affiliations in sharing resources with people in their own communities.

2013 Intern Partners and Visiting Professionals

Quick highlights from our four Affiliate staff members and one Affiliate intern during their residencies at the Smithsonian.

Ed Nichols, History Colorado director, and Harold Closter, Smithsonian Affiliations director view Jefferson's Bible before it is displayed at History Colorado (Denver).

Ed Nichols, History Colorado director, and Harold Closter, Smithsonian Affiliations director view Jefferson’s Bible before it is displayed at History Colorado (Denver).

A Conversation with History Colorado

Five questions with History Colorado about the impact of bringing Thomas Jefferson’s Bible to the Denver community.

Smithsonian In Your Neighborhood

A recap of events, exhibitions and programs in Affiliate neighborhoods from May to October 2013.

Visit our ISSUU library for past editions of The Affiliate Newsletter.

What to see at a Smithsonian Affiliate in your neighborhood

It’s the Friday before Thanksgiving break. We’re all excited about seeing friends and family and taking a little break from school and work. So here are a few ideas for including the Smithsonian in your holiday plans from our Affiliate partners across the country:

Midwest

The Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art in Elmhurt, Illinois, hosts Modern Designer Jewelry from the Smithsonian, an exhibition that features jewelry from American Jewelry designers from 1960 to 2009 from the collections of the National Museum of Natural History.

Mid-Atlantic

Take an in-depth look at Pennsylvania’s significant role during the Civil War at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh. In its new major exhibition, Pennsylvania’s Civil War, you can find a tintype camera and portable printing press on loan from the National Museum of American History.

Mountain Plains

Apollo Boilerplate Command Module on loan from the National Air and Space Museum.

Apollo Boilerplate Command Module on loan from the National Air and Space Museum.

More than 21 artifacts on loan from the National Air and Space Museum are on view at the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamagordo. Get an up-close look at an Apollo Boilerplate Command Module and see the training coveralls worn by New Mexico astronaut, Harrison Schmitt, the only scientist to walk on the moon.

If you’re in San Antonio, the Institute of Texan Cultures is currently displaying two exhibitions from the National Museum of the American Indian and organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). Native Words, Native Warriors tells the story of soldiers from more than a dozen tribes who used their Native languages while in service in the U.S. military. Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America celebrates the vibrancy, creativity and history of American Indian skateboarding culture.

New England

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the rich tradition of gathering together at harvest time and celebrating the abundant joys of the season. At Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts, visitors can learn all about the settlement of the Plymouth Colony in the 17th century.

Southeast

Go on safari at the Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia, North Carolina. Fourteen specimens–from a tiny eastern mole to a mountain gorilla–are on loan from the National Museum of Natural History.

The Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, Florida, includes five works of art from the National Air and Space Museum collection in its exhibition Paintings of the Space Age.

The Mennello Museum of American Art in Orlando, Florida, has Earl Cunningham’s painting Seminole Indian Summer Camp on view from the Smithsonian American Art Museum in its Earl Cunningham gallery. 

Seminole Indian Summer Camp, ca. 1963, Earl Cunningham, oil on fiberboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Michael and Marilyn Mennello.

Seminole Indian Summer Camp, ca. 1963, Earl Cunningham, oil on fiberboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Michael and Marilyn Mennello.

West

Arizona State Museum, in Tucson, celebrates the creative work of American Indian directors, producers, writers, and actors during the Native Eyes Film Showcase, in collaboration with the National Museum of the American Indian and many others.

If you’re in California, visit the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles and see I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story. Created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and organized for travel by SITES, the exhibit tells the story of how Asian Pacific Americans have shaped and been shaped by the course of our nation’s history.

Check out the San Diego Air and Space Museum where you can see nearly 30 space-related artifacts on loan from the National Air and Space Museum.

 

Is the Smithsonian in your neighborhood? Find an Affiliate here.

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