“See Me” workshop with Access Smithsonian

Professional Development Opportunity: Developing and Implementing Programming for Adults Living with Dementia and Their Care Partners

four people participate in a workshop at an art museumAccess Smithsonian invites Smithsonian Affiliates to participate in a virtual professional development training workshop on the development and implementation of programming for adults living with dementia and their care partners. The two-day workshop, June 17-18, 2021, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, will present attendees with tools and strategies on how to adapt the See Me model at their organizations. Led by Access Smithsonian staff and contractors, topics will include: our approach, active listening & close looking, program content development, shifting from on-site to virtual learning, meeting the needs of our participants, and a program demonstration.

Created by Access Smithsonian, See Me at the Smithsonian has made it possible for people with dementia and their care partners to continue to enjoy Smithsonian museums, engage with the Smithsonian’s most beloved objects, sustain lifelong learning, and connect with and contribute to a larger community. Since our pilot in 2017, See Me now includes seven participating Smithsonian museums, relationships with community-based care facilities, See Me en Español, and a virtual model for delivering See Me to individuals in their homes and larger groups residing in assisted living facilities and memory care units. Most importantly, Access Smithsonian has remained connected to its audiences throughout the COVID-19 pandemic providing opportunities for intellectual engagement, socialization, and stress reduction.

A workshop instructor stands in front of a seated group and points to a large black and white painting

The number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s is growing. One in nine Americans age 65 and older is living with Alzheimer’s dementia, and it is anticipated this population will more than double by 2050. Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has further laid bare the vulnerabilities of adults living with Alzheimer’s dementia. Museum-based programs like See Me offer positive emotional and cognitive experiences, enhance verbal and non-verbal communication, reduce isolation and depression, and build social networks – for both individuals with dementia and their care partners.

Live captioning will be provided for the workshop. Other access services (e.g., ASL, audio description, etc.) are available upon request. *Registration has closed.

A person in a red tshirt seated at a green table paints For more information about the program, please contact Ashley Grady, Senior Program Manager, Access Smithsonian, at GradyA@si.edu.

All photos courtesy of Access Smithsonian.

The Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion Highlights the Best of Affiliate – Smithsonian collaboration

Three people stand in front of an exhibition at its opening.

The director of the Peoria Riverfront Museum, community leader, and Affiliations Director Emeritus Harold Closter stand in front of the Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion at its debut opening in Illinois in 2008.

During the Affiliations annual conference in 2007, an Affiliate director marveled at a red sandalwood carving on display in the Ripley Center on the Smithsonian’s campus. The structure was one-fifth scale model of the celebrated and intricate classical Chinese pavilion that stands within the Forbidden City in the heart of Beijing, the Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion.

The director of Lakeview Museum (now Peoria Riverfront Museum in Illinois) had been exploring ways to connect with the local Chinese community and inquired about the availability of the exhibition. After a series of conversations with staff from the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute, the exhibition was approved for travel. This simple inquiry sparked a national tour that reached several Affiliate communities and connected with thousands of visitors.

What is the Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion exactly? Made by Chinese artisans using traditional Chinese carving and fine furniture techniques, the model captures the beauty of the original pavilion, and is an outstanding example of traditional Chinese carving. Artisans at the China Red Sandalwood Museum constructed the model of red sandalwood, treasured for its dark glossy color and musty floral fragrance. No nails are used; the entire structure is put together with mortise-and-tenon joinery. The China Red Sandalwood Museum in Beijing donated the model to the Smithsonian.

Pieces of the Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion are laid out on the floor prior to assembly.

The Pavilion’s thousands of pieces are unpacked from customized crates and laid out prior to assembly.

Obviously, the Pavilion was no ordinary exhibition. The model contains 3,000 individual pieces packed into special crates constructed specifically to fit each piece into its own slot. Design and installation advice was provided in both English and Mandarin, and the Smithsonian provided files of photo murals and bilingual labels for Affiliates’ use.

Still, the Pavilion’s specialized construction and installation required specialized expertise. In another stroke of collaboration serendipity, the former senior furniture conservator at the Museum Conservation Institute, Don Williams, was available to travel to Affiliate sites to both assemble and dissemble the Pavilion. In whichever Affiliate city Don traveled, he recruited volunteers from the “Professional Refinishers Group” from across the country to travel to Affiliate cities to assist with the installation.

Expert Smithsonian furniture conservator Don Williams dusts the roof of the Pavilion.

Senior Smithsonian furniture conservator Don Williams accompanied the Pavilion to all of its stops, overseeing installation and deinstallation.

 

 

A volunteer carefully installs the top piece of the Pavilion.

A volunteer expert carefully places the crowning decoration atop the Pavilion.

 

The Pavilion traveled to five Affiliates between 2008-2013. Its tour after Peoria included the International Museum of Arts and Sciences in McAllen and the Irving Arts Center in Irving, TX; Flushing Town Hall in Queens, New York; and the Headley-Whitney Museum, a former Affiliate in Lexington, KY;.

A child makes Chinese lanterns from art supplies.

Crafting Chinese lanterns was one of the many educational programs that Affiliates created to celebrate the Pavilion in their cities.

In every city that hosted the Pavilion, the Affiliate was able to craft significant and meaningful outreach to its Chinese community. Programming included traditional Chinese art workshops such as calligraphy and tea ceremony, as well as presentations on tai chi, traditional medicine, folklore and opera. For the Pavilion’s opening ceremonies, Affiliates invited the Chinese diplomats from their cities, and featured traditional dance troupes. Community relationships forged as a result of the Pavilion flourish still.

While in Flushing Queens, our collaboration saw yet another instance of serendipity. Volunteers assembled at Flushing Town Hall to unpack the Pavilion a day before Don Williams was able to arrive. They had some trouble deciphering the unpacking directions. Flushing Town Hall sits in the center of one of the largest Chinese immigrant communities in America, so a staff member suggested they seek the help of a local resident. A waiter from a nearby restaurant was recruited to translate the instructions from Mandarin so the team could lay out all the pieces to be ready when Don arrived.

Such is the magic—and impact—of Smithsonian and Affiliate collaborations.

The fully assembled Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion made from sandalwood.

The beautifully completed Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion in Flushing, New York (thanks in part to a waiter in a Chinese restaurant near the gallery!)

Coming Up in Affiliateland in April 2021

Happy Earth Month everyone!

A museum visitor looks at a display of various people of color.

“The Bias Inside Us” features Spanish photographer Angélica Dass’ Humanae project, which reflects on the color of skin that challenges the concept of race. Photo by Science Museum of Minnesota.

IOWA
The Bias Inside Us exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service opens at the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, 4.17.

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rican Affiliates, the Museo de Arte and Museo y Centro de Estudios Humanísticos, offer a workshop on The Conservation of Caribbean Culture: Training Future Conservators of Cultural Patrimony, 4.19-23.

MASSACHUSETTS
Teen filmmakers in the McAuliffe Center’s STEM mentorship program will present their ideas for addressing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as part of Framingham State University’s Science on State Street Fair: Planet Earth Edition, 4.20.

The Springfield Museums will feature Dr. Joyce Bedi, historian at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History, for a talk on Who Invented the Environment?, in Springfield, 4.22.

A scientist examines a skull.

Dr. Kari Bruwelheide measuring a cranium. Image Credit: Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution.

OHIO
Dr. Kari Bruwelheide, forensic anthropologist at the National Museum of Natural History, will lead a virtual workshop for teachers as part of the Rethinking Jamestown professional development activities organized by the Springfield Museum of Art, in Springfield, 4.21-22.

NEW YORK
The Rockwell Museum will host a virtual dialogue with guest curator Emily Zilber and curator-in-charge Nora Atkinson about the Forces of Nature: Renwick Invitational 2020 exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery as part of the Museum’s Environments Examined Spring 2021 lecture series, in Corning, 4.29.

Kudos Affiliates!! March 2021

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 Friends of the Oklahoma History Center (Oklahoma City, OK) received a $35,000 grant from Inasmuch Foundation for the digitization of its scholarly journal, The Chronicles of Oklahoma. The funding will pay staff to process digitized issues of The Chronicles of Oklahoma to give patrons the ability to download or print individual articles, book reviews, meeting minutes, or other specific content from each issue. 

Dubuque Museum of Art (Dubuque, IA) will receive a percentage of more than $18,000 raised by the Home+FloorShow 2020 Community Holiday Event. The funds will support general operating expenses.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation named Florida International University (Miami, FL) and Mystic Seaport Museum (Mystic, CT) among the winners of its Just Futures Initiative. The Initiative supports teams of scholars who are studying past periods of crisis and disruption in order to lead us to cultural and social transformation.

  • Florida International University was awarded a $4.6 million grant for the project-Race, Risk, and Resilience: Building a Local-to-Global “Commons for Justice.” South Florida residents are vulnerable to extreme weather, but because of deep inequities in pre- and post-event resources, minority neighborhoods are particularly disaster prone. The Commons for Justice will identify the most urgent exposure problems for communities of color and provide resilience options as well as collect and preserve coping stories from those who live in at-risk neighborhoods.
  • With the $4.9 million grant, Brown University’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice will partner with Mystic Seaport Museum and Williams College for the project Reimaging New England Histories: Historical Injustice, Sovereignty and Freedom. The collaborators will use maritime history as a basis for studying historical injustices and generating new insights on the relationship between European colonization in North America, the dispossession of Native American land, and racial slavery in New England. 

Facebook will sponsor the new Current Science Studio at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History (Fort Worth, TX) with a $255,000 grant. The exhibit will link science with current events like the upcoming Mars rover landing, tracking hurricanes, or marking Covid-19 cases worldwide. 

Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, OH) received $750,000 from the state of Ohio to continue capital improvements to the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum’s lower gallery and collection storage areas.

The Rhode Island Historical Society (Providence, RI) received a $25,000 grant as part of Rhode Island Commerce state’s hospitality, arts, and tourism (HArT) relief program.  Staff will upgrade technology to produce virtual tours, events, educational programs, and other public programs.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Marsha MacDowell, Curator of Folk Arts and Quilt Studies at the Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, MI), was named the 2020 recipient of the American Folklore Society’s Benjamin A. Botkin Prize for significant lifetime achievement in the field of public folklore.

LEADERSHIP

Peter Seibert, Executive Director and CEO of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Cody, WY), announced his resignation to become the new Director of the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia.

Coming Up in Affiliateland in March 2021

Is that spring we see coming?!

NATIONWIDE
Smithsonian Affiliations wraps up the collaboration with the National Museum of American History and its Pandemic Perspectives series with the talk, How the National Museum of American History is Collecting COVID-19, on 3.23. Thank you to all the Smithsonian Affiliates that helped us make the series a success! Previous recordings can be found at https://americanhistory.si.edu/pandemic-perspectives

Smithsonian Affiliations kicks off Women’s History Month with a weekly virtual series co-hosted by Affiliates. The series begins Wednesday, March 3. Contact your local Affiliate or affiliates@si.edu for more details.

Lego sets showing women innovators in space history, positioned in a gallery at the National Air and Space Museum

Happy Women’s History Month from the original prototypes of the  LEGO® Ideas “Women of NASA” set displayed in front of the Apollo Lunar Module in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, August 20, 2018. Credit: National Air and Space Museum

TEXAS
The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History will be hosting a ‘drive-in’ screening showcasing two-minute videos that their teen collaborators created for a Smithsonian Earth Optimism initiative to cultivate youth action for the environment, in Fort Worth,  3.5.

FLORIDA
Tampa Bay History Center will host a virtual lecture by National Museum of American History curator Lisa Kathleen Graddy on Creating Icons: How We Remember Woman Suffrage, 3.17.

 

Kudos Affiliates!! January 2021

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 Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, ME) and the California African American Museum (Los Angeles, CA) are recipients of an Art Museum Futures Fund grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The emergency COVID-19 grants will be used to support general operations.

The Ohio State Controlling Board approved $1.2 million to Ohio History Connection (Columbus, OH) for the support of educational initiatives. The funding is part of Ohio’s response to the health and economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Guinness Open Gate Brewery is donating to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture (Baltimore, MD) as part of its Guinness Gives Back Baltimore Community Fund. As an extension of the brewery’s mission to contribute to America’s craft brewing scene in a positive way as makers and creatives, the brewery’s support will champion underrepresented artists to inspire the next generation.

Springfield Museum of Art (Springfield, OH) received $61,200, an Ohio Arts Council CARES Act Economic Relief for the Arts award, to support salaries and operating expenses. In addition, the museum received $61,227 from the Park National Bank to support general operating expenses.

The Andrew W. Mellon and William Penn Foundations selected the African American Museum in Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA) as one of 37 institutions to split an $8 million fund. The museum was awarded $200,000 to support general operating costs.

The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission announced nearly $2 million in grants to museums and historical societies across the commonwealth including the following Affiliates:

Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded grants to the following Affiliates as part of its Religion and Cultural Institutions Initiative. The funding will be used to develop exhibitions and education programs that accurately portray the role of religion in the U.S. and around the world.

  • Conner Prairie (Fishers, IN) ($500,000) – to create a new storyline on the role of religion in African American history in the early 19th century.  The project will “explore the vital role of religion in the lives of antebellum Black settlers, who often thought of the Northwest Territory as their Promised Land.”
  • Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ) ($2,500,000) – to develop a permanent exhibition that will explore the origin stories of four North American indigenous tribes — the Seneca in the Northeast, the Yup’ik in the Arctic, the Akimel O’odham, and the Navajo in the Southwest — in an immersive and educational presentation that seeks to educate about the diversity and beauty of indigenous religion and spiritual practices.
  • Plimoth Patuxet Museums (Plymouth, MA) ($2,499,110) – to support The Light Here Kindled: Providence, Manitou and the Legacy of America’s Founding Faiths program that seeks to strengthen and expand the museum’s capacity to incorporate the crucial role of faith, particularly the beliefs and practices of Reformed Christianity, into its interpretations of Colonial Plymouth and the people of the indigenous Patuxet.

Putnam Museum (Davenport, IA) received a $35,000 grant from the Scott County Regional Authority to support the design and construction of a world culture gallery.

Wisconsin Maritime Museum (Manitowoc, WI) received a $138,000 State COVID-19 Cultural Organization grant to help sustain operations through challenges posed by the pandemic.

Peoria Riverfront Museum (Peoria, IL) received $700,000 through the Illinois Public Museum Capital Grants Program to support its STEM Inspires program for dome planetarium capital upgrades.

National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library (Cedar Rapids, IA) received a $10,000 Virtual Arts Experience grant through the Iowa Arts Council, to offer 15 virtual music performances by local artists for K-12 music classrooms and aging adults in care centers. Participating students and aging adults will engage in a virtual pen pal program. Students will submit music-related questions to adult learners who will record their responses with the help of care center staff.

Four Affiliates received a grant from the Iowa Arts and Cultural Recovery Program to provide relief for lost income or extra expenses incurred due to the pandemic. The grants may be used to offset operating expenses, as well as costs associated with reopening in person or adapting programs to virtual formats.

The Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, OH) will renovate its library using a $3 million gift made by the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Foundation. The gift allows for the continuation of the physical and cultural transformation of its main campus and headquarters by renovating the library’s first floor public reading room and consolidating staff workspaces.

LEADERSHIP

Dr. Kimberly Robinson, a 31-year NASA veteran, has been named the executive director and CEO of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (Huntsville, AL). She will assume her role Feb. 15. Robinson is NASA’s Utilization Manager for Advanced Exploration Systems and was previously the Payload Mission Manager for Artemis I, the first integrated flight test of the NASA’s Orion spacecraft, the Space Launch System rocket, and the Exploration Ground Systems at Kennedy Space Center.

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture (Baltimore, MD) announced the appointment of Terri Lee Freeman, former President of the National Civil Rights Museum (Memphis, TN) as the new Executive Director. As a national leader, who brings an entire career in philanthropy, focused on fundraising and building strategic alliances, she will join the museum in February.

Ben Jones was named the new executive director of the South Dakota State Historical Society (Pierre, SD). Ben is the former Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Education.

Dan Joyce announced he will retire as executive director of the Kenosha Public Museums (Kenosha, WI) at the end January following more than three decades at the museum.