Kudos Affiliates!! October 2020

Congratulations to these Affiliates on their recent accomplishments! Do you have kudos to share? Please send potential entries to Aaron Glavas, GlavasC@si.edu.

FUNDING

The Durham Museum (Omaha, NE) received a $25,000 grant from The Iowa West Foundation to develop resources, programs, and projects that focus on economic development, education, place making, and healthy families.

The Nissan Foundation awarded $680,000 in grants to 27 nonprofit organizations for its 2020 grant cycle including awards to:

The NASA in Kansas program received a $2.8 million grant to help continue STEM-based education and research in the Sunflower State. The four-year award from NASA will help fund a consortium of universities and science museums, including the Cosmosphere (Hutchinson, KS).

The International Museum of Art and Science (McAllen, TX) was awarded a Collections Assessment for Preservation grant for $7,000 from the Foundation for the Advancement in Conservation. The funding will be instrumental in providing credible information for long-term planning for collections care and preparing for re-accreditation in 2022.

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission awarded grants to the following Affiliate organizations to support the general operations of the museums:

Putnam Museum and Science Center (Davenport, IA) received a $20,000 Cultural Leadership Partners grant administered by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. The grant will support a wide range of programs and events the Museum and Science Center will provide in the coming year.

New Mexico’s legislative session concluded with a $250,000 allocation for renovations at the Hubbard Museum of the American West (Ruidoso Downs, NM) and $750,000 to the New Mexico Museum of Space History (Alamogordo, NM) for facility and exhibit improvements.

The National Park Service, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, announced $12,800,000 in Save America’s Treasures grants to fund 42 preservation and conservation projects in 26 states including the following Affiliates:

  • Mystic Seaport Museum (Mystic, CT) – $102,000-for the preservation and accessibility to curatorial files.
  • YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (Center for Jewish History), (New York, NY) – $119,433-for the preservation and accessibility for Edward Blank YIVO Vilna Online Collections.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded grants totaling $25,899,000 for museums across the nation to improve services to their communities through Museums for America, and special initiatives-Museums Empowered and Inspire! Grants for Small Museums. Affiliate awardees include:

Museums for America

  • Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI) – $172,000.00-The Arab American National Museum will work with a learning design firm and a museum-focused exhibition design firm to develop, design, and fabricate new components for their children’s gallery spaces. This project will result in four new bilingual, less text-heavy exhibition elements that will allow young visitors in grades K-5 to gain a more balanced perspective on cultural and racial diversity within their communities, as well as an appreciation of the large-scale impact of all immigrant communities on American life.
  • Springfield Science Museum, part of Springfield Museums, (Springfield, MA) – $84,637.00-Museum staff will undergo Disability Inclusion and Universal Design training to redesign and enhance a core multi-use learning space and principle STEM program that can remove physical, cognitive, and social barriers to learning. External evaluators will measure access needs and learning outcomes before and after project upgrades in order to track progress and develop a scalable model of inclusive practice for all the museum’s science programming.
  • Mercer Museum (Doylestown, PA) – $40,000.00-Mercer Museum will conduct a detailed condition survey of 256 windows (including dormers and skylights) located in its original 1916 National Landmark Mercer Museum building. The survey will result in a comprehensive report, with recommendations and methodologies for repair and remediation intended to improve environmental conditions for the exhibited collections.
  • Arizona State Museum (Tucson, AZ) – $122,471.00-The Arizona State Museum will ensure the long-term preservation and accessibility of 50 items including large, handcrafted barkcloth fabrics and woven basketry mats from Indigenous groups in northern Mexico (Pima Bajo, Pipil, Tarahuamara, Tepehuan, Warhio, Yaqui, Tohono O’odham, and Otomi) and the Pacific Islands (Fijian, Hawaiian, Javanese, Melanesian, Philippine, Samoan, and Tongan).
  • Museum of Us (San Diego, CA ) – $249,668.00-The Museum of Us will engage with representatives of the Kumeyaay Nation (Kumeyaay) in a community-driven exhibit and program development process. This project will engage Kumeyaay community members in large forums, focus groups, one-on-one meetings, and written evaluations to accurately capture content for a new exhibit that is self-determined by the community.
  • Adler Planetarium (Chicago, IL) – $248,825.00-The Adler Planetarium will expand access to STEM programs for African American and Latinx Chicago teens through a progressive series of entry-point, introductory, intermediate, and advanced level programs. Students in grades 7-12 will be invited to join teams of scientists, engineers, and educators to undertake authentic scientific research and solve real engineering challenges. In collaboration with schools and community-based organizations, Adler will develop and implement new participant recruitment and retention strategies to reach teens in specific neighborhoods.
  • South Carolina State Museum (Columbia, SC) – $245,239.00-The South Carolina State Museum will improve the stewardship of its collections through a two-year collections inventory and digitization project. The project will result in refined inventory and photography protocols for digitization of collection objects, the implementation of a new collections management system, and the acquisition of a dedicated server to ensure that the database has capacity for future growth.
  • Florida International University (Miami, FL) – $250,000.00-Florida International University will expand the shelving capacity in its Rare Books and Special Collections Library, improve storage conditions for the collection, and improve public access to the collection.
  • National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium (Dubuque, IA) – $206,286.00-The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium will conduct a collections survey and planning project that will build upon previous successful collections stewardship projects and improve the museum’s ability to care for and interpret its historical collections.
  • High Desert Museum (Bend, OR) – $155,280.00-The High Desert Museum will bring together key stakeholders to develop and implement the first High Desert Project, deconstructing the traditional conference structure to create a new approach to engaging broad audiences in dialogue-one that builds on the unique strengths of museums.
  • Connecticut Historical Society (Hartford, CT) – $238,604.00-The Connecticut Historical Society will inventory, rehouse, catalog, and digitize the Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program CCHAP collection which documents the cultural traditions and heritage within the rich diversity of Connecticut’s ethnic and workplace communities.
  • Mystic Seaport Museum (Mystic, CT)-$167,303.00-Mystic Seaport Museum will restore its 1921 fishing schooner-L.A. DUNTON-a National Historic Landmark vessel and one of the last surviving examples of its kind. Progress will be captured on video for podcast and other forms of distance learning to further expand the project reach.
  • Denver Museum of Nature and Science (Denver, CO)-$240,740.00-The Denver Museum of Nature and Science will advance stewardship and public access for 718 objects in its Northwest Coast Collection through collaborative conservation that involves Kwakwaka’wakw, Makah, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Tlingit and Haida tribes.
  • Center for Jewish History (New York, NY) – $52,230.00-The Center for Jewish History will improve stewardship of the 35mm and 16mm motion picture film collections of its five in-house partners: the American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University Museum, and YIVO Institute, as a pilot of a new digitization process.
  • USS Constitution Museum (Boston, MA) – $250,000.00-The USS Constitution Museum will launch a Salute to Service initiative to transform itself into a hub for conversation, connection, and community around military service so the community can see the museum as a trusted space for community engagement, and civilian participants in Salute to Service programs to gain an elevated understanding of military service and family sacrifice.
  • Witte Museum (San Antonio, TX)-$250,000.00-The Witte Museum will improve the conservation and preservation of its paleontology and geology collections to support continued fossil preparation for new fossil finds and acquisitions.
  • Krannert Art Museum (Champaign, IL) – $250,000.00-The Krannert Art Museum will reinstall its collection of ancient Andean art. This reinstallation will transform the ancient Andean gallery into an innovative teaching and research tool that better serves their core constituents and exposes audiences to the historical depth, cultural richness, and contemporary relevance of ancient Andean civilizations.
  • Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA) – $227,272.00-The Plimoth Plantation will develop a suite of educational resources for teachers, students, and the general public focusing on the relationship between the early Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people.

Museums Empowered: Professional Development Opportunities for Museum Staff

  • Ohio History Connection (Columbus, OH) – $249,920.00-The Ohio History Connection will conduct an online professional development program to help the network become better managed, more resilient, and better able to serve the public. Modules will focus on topics such as board development; collections handling; engaging with local communities; and essential museum knowledge for boards, directors, staff, and volunteers from outside the museum field.

Inspire! Grants for Small Museums

  • Dubuque Museum of Art (Dubuque, IA) – $40,975.00-The Dubuque Museum of Art will upgrade its collections management software through a four-phase project that will increase public access to the museum’s collection.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded $52.2 million in grants for 562 humanities projects featuring the following Affiliate initiatives:

  • Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ) – $4,622-The Heard Museum will use the funding for the preservation assessment of a library and archive collection dedicated to Native American art and cultures, covering topics such as Native American fine art, literature, anthropology, and museum studies.
  • Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, CA) – $172,445- The Japanese American National Museum will develop two, one-week workshops -Little Tokyo: How History Shapes a Community Across Generations- for 72 school teachers about the history and culture of Japanese-American immigrants and their place in U.S. history.
  • History Colorado (Denver, CO) – $224,914-History Colorado will digitize 100,000 pages from Colorado newspaper titles, published from 1859 to 1942, as part of the state’s continuing participation in the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).
  • History Colorado (Denver, CO) – $208,808-History Colorado will produce eight 45- to 60-minute podcast episodes about Colorado and Western U.S. history entitled the Lost Highways Podcast Program.
  • Grinnell College (Grinnell, IA) – $6,000-Grinnell College staff will conduct research for a book on the development of the Filipino diaspora in the United States and Europe, as a case study to understand how diasporas evolve.
  • Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA) – $49,200-The Plimoth Plantation will conduct an assessment of the collections and buildings at Plimoth Plantation, which has extensive collections of archaeological artifacts, fine and decorative art, and archival materials.
  • Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, MI) – $9,901-Michigan State University Museum will purchase storage equipment for the Siyazama Project collection, which is housed at the university’s museum and consists of 66 traditional craft works created by South African women as part of an organized art and health initiative during the HIV/AIDS crisis.
  • Center for Jewish History (New York, NY) – $65,500-The Center for Jewish History will provide 12 months of stipend support (1 fellowship) per year for one year and to defray costs associated with the selection of fellows.
  • Museum of Flight (Seattle, WA) – $236,824-Museum of Flight will arrange, describe, catalog, and select the digitization of 170 cubic feet of archival materials and 260 objects from the William P. and Moya Olsen Lear Collection, including correspondence, photographs, model planes, invention prototypes, and 33 audio recordings and 18 films related to groundbreaking discoveries in aviation and radio that span the twentieth century.
  • Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Cody, WY) – $48,933-Buffalo Bill Center of the West will construct a plan for storage spaces at all six of the center’s collecting units to maximize the preservation environment, space efficiency, and access to collections by staff and the public. Center staff would work with a consulting conservator, architect, and engineer to develop the plan.
  • Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (Seattle, WA)-$189,984- Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience will create two one-week workshops for 72 school teachers about the history and culture of Asian Pacific American immigrants in the Pacific Northwest.

The Mary Black Foundation awarded new grants to 19 nonprofits serving Spartanburg County, including $15,000 to Children’s Museum of the Upstate (Spartanburg, SC) to assist with operational costs to provide high-quality learning opportunities for young children in Spartanburg County.

Mid-America Arts Alliance awarded $50,000 to the American Jazz Museum (Kansas City, MO) to assist operational costs and digitizing of their collections.

Oklahoma History Center (Oklahoma City, OK) was awarded a grant through the Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) for personal protective equipment (PPE) to be utilized by the OHC Education Department. The funding has been used to purchase sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer and disinfectant for use by museum visitors and staff, as well as to be included in the trunks for our award-winning Traveling Trunk program.

The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium (Dubuque, IA) received funding from two area foundations to support conservation education and equitable access for Dubuque County residents. Alliant Energy Foundation has awarded the Museum $5,000 towards the expansion of its conservation education live animal outreach program address Iowa bird conservation initiatives and provide teacher workshop opportunities. The McDonough Foundation awarded $2,000 to increase equitable access through the Everybody’s Museum Membership (EMM) program—a free membership program that is open to economically challenged youth and families in Dubuque County, as well as community members with physical and intellectual disabilities.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Mercer Museum & Fonthill Castle (Doylestown, PA) and USS Constitution Museum (Boston, MA) recently received reaccreditations from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).

RANDY PARKER/THE DAILY TRIBUNE NEWS Booth Western Art Museum is named the Best Art Museum in the USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards contest.

The Booth Western Art Museum (Cartersville, GA) was named Best Art Museum in the USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards contest.

The Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society at the Cultural Heritage Center (Pierre,SD) earned an AASLH Award of Excellence for the exhibit “Silent Silos: South Dakota’s Missile Range.”

Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, MI) received the Special Achievement – Excellence in Community Empowerment award for its exhibition – “Finding Our Voice: Sister Survivors Speak” at the 32nd annual Excellence in Exhibition Competition, presented by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).

Framingham State University (Framingham, MA) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign were recognized for their efforts to support diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus with a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award. The award is given by INSIGHT into Diversity, the oldest and largest diversity magazine and website in higher education.

Pandemic Perspectives

The National Museum of American History is launching an engaging series of free virtual colloquium presentations that combine questions raised by the current pandemic with explorations of historic objects in the national collections. Topics to be explored include Voting During a Pandemic and How Your Ancestors Had Fun at Home While Quarantining. Curators and historians will virtually share objects, using them as a springboard to dialogue.

Colloquium schedule (each program to be held via Zoom 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM)

Affiliates, if you would like to invite your audiences or stakeholders to join, please email affiliates@si.edu to register your interest.

Online Programs in 2020:

  • September 29, 2020: Fear and Scapegoating during a Pandemic
    Moderator: Alexandra Lord, Chair and Curator, Division of Medicine, National Museum of American History
  • October 6, 2020: Pandemic Pursuits: How Your Ancestors Had Fun at Home While Quarantined
    Moderator: Arthur Daemmrich, Director, Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History
  • November 3, 2020: Voting During a Pandemic
    Moderator: Peter Liebhold, Curator, Division of Work and Industry, National Museum of American History
  • November 24, 2020: Finding Comfort in a Pandemic: Chocolate, Alcohol, Bread, Pizza, Sushi, and other Comfort Foods
    Moderator: Peter Liebhold, Curator, Division of Work and Industry, National Museum of American History
  • December 1, 2020: How Are Museums and Governments Collecting Around COVID-19?
    Moderator: Alexandra Lord, Chair and Curator, Division of Medicine and Science, National Museum of American History
  • December 15, 2020: Looking Good on that Zoom Call: Cosmetics, Personal Care, Clothing, and Decoration of Space
    Moderator: Arthur Daemmrich, Director, Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History

Online Programs in 2021

  • January 5, 2021: Racing for Vaccines
    Moderator: Arthur Daemmrich, Director, Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History
  • January 19, 2021: Mask Up!
    Moderator: Peter Liebhold, Curator, Division of Work and Industry, National Museum of American History
  • February 2, 2021: Race and Place: Yellow Fever and the Free African Society in Philadelphia
    Moderator: Alexandra Lord, Chair and Curator, Division of Medicine and Science, National Museum of American History
  • February 16, 2021: Essential Workers: Prestige Versus Pay
    Moderator: Alexandra Lord, National Museum of American History, Chair and Curator, Division of Medicine and Science

If you are interested, please email affiliates@si.edu or contact your National Outreach Manager directly.

Kudos Affiliates!! September 2020

Congratulations to these Affiliates on their recent accomplishments during some very trying times! Do you have kudos to share? Please send potential entries to Aaron Glavas.

FUNDING

The Durham Museum (Omaha, NE) received a $5,000 grant from Cooper Foundation as part of a cycle of Rapid Response COVID-19 grants.

Humanities Nebraska awarded grants to 73 organizations including Durham Museum-$10,000, Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum (Ashland, NE)- $7,500 and University of Nebraska State Museum (Lincoln,NE)-$3,500 as part of a COVID-19 response initiative.

Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI) was one of fifty regional arts and culture organizations to receive $10,000 in relief funding as part of a grant program administered by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and CultureSource.

Mass Humanities distributed more than half a million dollars in coronavirus relief funding, to more than 100 libraries, museums, art galleries, cultural centers and other nonprofit organizations throughout Massachusetts including $10,000 to the Springfield Museums (Springfield, MA).

Maine Initiatives awarded $516,920 to grassroots organizations responding to COVID-19 which included a grant to the Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, ME).

The African American Museum in Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA) received a $50,000 grant from Pennsylvania Council for the Arts to help pay for staff salaries, facility costs and fees for artists or contractual personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded a series of CARES Act economic stabilization grants to support essential operations at more than 300 cultural institutions across the country including the following Affiliate projects:

Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ)-$87,121-The retention of seven staff members to develop digital tours of the museum’s signature exhibitions.

Arizona State Museum (Tucson, AZ)-$71,699-The retention of seven staff members to preserve and catalog two dendroarchaeology collections at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, one that derives from the U.S. Southwest, and the other, from the Aegean.

History Colorado (Denver, CO)-$175,000-The retention of six jobs to work with community partners and the public to collect oral histories from the Hispanic, Latino, and Chicano populations of Colorado about their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Connecticut Historical Society (Hartford, CT)-$45,049-Continued employment for the seven members of the historical society’s education department to expand distance learning programs and develop K–12 curriculum and learning activities.

Adler Planetarium (Chicago, IL)-$298,908-Retention of six staff positions to further digital engagement with humanities collections and sustained development of a crowdsourced transcription platform.

National World War II Museum (New Orleans, LA)-$200,000-Retention of up to nine salaried staff positions within the Education and Access Division of the National World War II Museum to support existing digital content and programming, and increase access to collection materials through digitization of correspondence and oral histories.

USS Constitution Museum (Boston, MA)-$232,468-The retention of ten positions to launch the All Hands Online Virtual Exhibit and develop digital field trips and education programs for summer camps, school groups, and families.

Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA)-$299,953-Retention of humanities staff to interpret the English and indigenous people’s impact on the New England landscape for “Seeds of Change: Transforming the Landscape of Seventeenth-Century” project.

Springfield Museums (Springfield, MA)-$141,300-The retention and creation of fifteen positions to rehouse, digitize, create online access, and incorporate into exhibitions the archives of the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, which contain correspondence, photographs, and other documentation of its Gilded Age art collection.

Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI)-$165,532-The retention of nine staff members who would enable the museum to transform its educational resources and exhibitions to an online delivery system in order to sustain and increase access to Arab American collections and services.

Durham Museum (Omaha, NE)-$175,000-Employment of 12 staff across four departments, as well as eight
summer interns, in order to preserve museum collections and enhance digital programs.

Las Vegas Natural History Museum (Las Vegas, NV)-$32,107-The retention of six staff members to develop online programming and on-site programs for re-opening.

Center for Jewish History (New York, NY)-$298,500-The rehiring of two employees, and restoration of hours and salaries for 21 other core staff, who would ensure ongoing and expanded access to sources held by the nation’s largest repository of archival materials on Jewish-American history and culture.

City Lore, Inc. (New York, NY)-$132,000-The retention of four staff members to create an archive on the coronavirus in New York City.

National Jazz Museum in Harlem (New York, NY)-$43,500-Retention of a senior scholar to curate the museum’s online content including, Harlem Speaks: Jazz for Curious Listeners, and Jazz for Curious Readers online public programming.

Ohio History Connection (Columbus, OH)-$292,560-The retention of 10 staff members in the Ohio History Connection’s Cultural Resources Division to prepare collections for a large-scale move to a new storage facility and to create online content with collections pertaining to the state’s history and its residents.

High Desert Museum (Bend, OR)-$191,920-Retention of seven staff members to develop virtual tours and programming based on the museum’s collections.

Upcountry History Museum (Greenville, SC)-$19,297-Two staff members for an in-progress project to move the permanent collection from an at-risk location to a new storage space that adheres to collection stewardship guidelines.

International Storytelling Center (Jonesborough, TN)-$219,109-Retention of seven staff members to develop a new storytelling platform enabling scholars, students, educators, and the public to access ISC’s digital archives project-Resilience through Story: Advancing the Power and Possibilities of the Humanities through Online Storytelling.

Burke Museum (Seattle, WA)-$107,812-The retention of three staff members to develop educational programing and community collaborations to promote understanding of Native American culture.

Thanks in part to Affiliates, the Smithsonian is on a Summer Road Trip

A new 40-page activity booklet for young explorers.

Summer vacations may look differently this year, but families can still have fun no matter where they spend the summer. With its new 40-page activity booklet, Summer Road Trip, the Smithsonian invites kids and their families to follow their curiosity through a variety of activities that can be done at home, on the road, at a campsite, in the backyard… or wherever they let their minds wander.

Developed and distributed in collaboration with USA Today, the Summer Road Trip invites students to explore puzzles and games, make art and identify wildlife among other hands-on activities. Travelers can follow the tracks of Monarch butterflies, invent new modes of transportation, create a mini-exhibit of objects in their homes, or create a gallery of artworks, all inspired by Smithsonian exhibitions, programs, collections and research.

Smithsonian Affiliates proved to be key partners in helping the Institution to distribute the printed booklets in their communities. As anchors in cities and towns across the nation, Smithsonian Affiliates energized their local networks of school districts, youth organizations, housing partners, recreation centers and more to offer these free resources to students in all corners of their communities. Through Affiliates, the Smithsonian was able to distribute over 20,000 additional booklets. THANK YOU to all the Affiliates below for your help in sharing our educational resources with kids nationwide.

Download your free Summer Road Trip here. (Adults are welcome to use it too by the way.)  Share your “souvenirs” and pictures with us at #SmithsonianEDU. Have fun and bon voyage!

Booklets were distributed in 20 states, thanks to:

Playing with the Smithsonian’s Summer Road Trip booklet at the Oklahoma History Center. Credit: Oklahoma History Center

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, Los Angeles, CA
History Colorado, Denver, CO
HistoryMiami, Miami, FL
Peoria Riverfront Museum, Peoria, IL
Conner Prairie, Fishers, IN
Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort, KY
National World War II Museum, New Orleans, LA
Framingham State University, Framingham, MA
Springfield Museums, Springfield, MA
American Jazz Museum, Kansas City, MO
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC
University of Nebraska State Museum, Lincoln, NE
City of Las Cruces Museum System, Las Cruces, NM
National Atomic Testing Museum, Las Vegas, NV
Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati, OH
The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology, Newark, OH
Oklahoma History Center, Oklahoma City, OK
African American Museum of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Children’s Museum of the Upstate, Greenville, SC
South Dakota State Historical Society, Pierre, SD
Birthplace of Country Music Museum, Bristol, TN
City of Austin-Parks & Recreation, Austin, TX
Witte Museum, San Antonio, TX

New Benefit: Smithsonian Voices

We want to help share your story! Smithsonian Voices is a blog on Smithsonianmag.com, the online version of Smithsonian magazine. Millions of visitors browse the content online per month and learn about science, history, art, popular culture, and innovation. The blog shares the unique voices that make up the Institution and now will include our Affiliate partners. A new blog—Smithsonian Affiliations Voices—is in development specifically for our Affiliate partners.

Smithsonian Affiliates are currently the only organizations outside of the Smithsonian invited to join the hundreds of scholars, researchers, and curators telling stories about their work. Smithsonian Voices content doesn’t have to have a Smithsonian connection—although having one is encouraged. Here, we want to provide a platform for our Affiliates and feature the incredible work they are doing every day, how they are engaging their communities, and demonstrate the importance of our Affiliate network in reaching broader and more diverse audiences.

As we finish developing the page, we invite our Affiliate partners to submit story ideas to be be featured on our page. Visit  the Smithsonian Voices blog page to get ideas and see how other Smithsonian units are telling stories.

Are you interested in sharing a story on our Smithsonian Affiliate Voices page? Contact Elizabeth Bugbee for guidelines and more information- BugbeeE@si.edu. 

Affiliates Shine During the Pandemic

The world we knew two months ago has changed because of COVID-19 but our Affiliates continue to exemplify their purposes during unprecedented times.

HEEDING THE CALL

As the need for more personal protective equipment (PPE) has increased, Affiliates have stepped to the front to create equipment and supplies for the medical profession:

The Pinhead Institute (Telluride, CO) has turned its 3D printers to create 45 prototype face shields for the Telluride Regional Medical Center and the San Miguel County’s COVID-19 antibody test site. After delivering the initial batch, staff at the medical center provided feedback to improve the design.  The Pinhead team will make 50 face shields a week once they get production streamlined.

Adler Planetarium (Chicago, IL) has re-tooled their 3D printers to make 40 face shields a day for first responders on the South and West sides.

University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL) is using industrial blending machines to make hand sanitizer. Scholars are also collaborating to design and make personal protective equipment to distribute to healthcare systems across Illinois.

Ellen Noel Art Museum (Odessa, TX) is using 3D printers to produce face shields and splitters that are used for ventilators as part of the West Texas 3D COVID-19 Relief Consortium.

RESEARCH

KingFisher, a state-of-the-art machine that helps animals thrive at the Shedd Aquarium (Chicago, IL) is being used to help humans fight the coronavirus outbreak. The instrument was loaned to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Chicago lab, where it’s being used to confirm the presence of the virus in patients. Samples are loaded into the KingFisher machine, which purifies and amplifies the viral RNA before the results are analyzed. After the samples are analyzed, scientists can determine if there is evidence of COVID-19.

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science (Miami, FL) is contributing to global scientific research efforts to fight COVID-19 by enabling access TO its powerful, state-of-the-art Frost Planetarium computer servers for Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing researchers for use in the critical Rosetta@home (R@h) project from the University of Washington. The R@h project is looking to help accurately model important coronavirus proteins and predict their three-dimensional shapes. The collective computing power provided will assist academic research groups worldwide as they model protein structures.

The Cheyenne supercomputer will be used for research into the COVID-19 virus. Image courtesy of Carlye Calvin, UCAR.

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (Boulder, CO) is joining the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium by providing the NCAR-operated Cheyenne supercomputer to scientists across the country who are working to glean insights into the novel coronavirus that has spread worldwide. Researchers are mounting a massive effort to learn more about the behavior of the virus, such as transmission patterns and whether it is affected by seasonal changes, even as they work toward the development of treatments and vaccines.

Adler Planetarium is letting researchers use the planetarium’s computer servers to help construct models of the COVID-19 proteins to help develop a vaccine.

ACTS OF KINDNESS
Affiliates have made significant contributions in other ways.

The Durham Museum donated 10 boxes of gloves and more than 50 masks to the Nebraska Medical Center. Photo Credit: Durham Museum

Durham Museum (Omaha, NE), U.S. Space and Rocket Center (Huntsville, AL), The Health Museum (Houston, TX), Denver Museum of Nature and Science (Denver, CO), Perot Museum (Dallas, TX), and Cincinnati Museum Center (Cincinnati, OH) donated organizational supplies to local medical facilities. Donations included face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, gloves, face shields, Tyvek suits, booties, biohazard bags, alcohol wipes and other cleaning materials.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (Merritt Island, FL) donated more than $10,000 worth of food, including a variety of produce and meat, to the Central Brevard Sharing Center to help assist the community during the coronavirus outbreak.

 

SUPPORT
Affiliates have turned their buildings into spectacular blue to honor those on the front lines:

San Diego Museum of Man bathed its tower in blue light and projected a “Thank You” slide as part of the #LightItBlue #LightItUpBlue movement to honor doctors, nurses, essential workers and everyone on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight. Photo Credit: SDMM

Union Station, Kansas City, Inc. in a spectacular blue light display to salute the healthcare community and first responders in the spirit of KANSAS CITY STRONG. Photo Credit: David Rainey