Kudos Affiliates!! July 2019

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 National Atomic Testing Museum (Las Vegas, NV) has received a $1 million matching grant from the state to assist in their search for a larger space in downtown Las Vegas.  The additional room will allow the museum to expand their exhibitions on nuclear testing in Nevada.

IBEW Local 252 and National Electrical Contractors Associated donated $25,200 to the Yankee Air Museum (Belleville, MI) for its Save the Bomber Plant effort. The museum is raising funds for renovation work required to transform the historic WWII Willow Run Bomber Plant into the future home of the Yankee Air Museum.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services recently announced awards totaling $2,231,000 in Museum Grants for African American History and Culture (AAHC) including the following Affiliate projects:

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, AL)-$167,852.00 award to expand its Legacy Youth Leadership Program for high school students to 20 historic sites in the Alabama African American Civil Rights Heritage Sites Consortium.

Museum of the African Diaspora (San Francisco, CA)-$247,880.00 award to expand ìMoAD in the Classroom, a visual literacy and arts outreach program offered to Title I and under-served third grade students in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem (New York, NY)-$49,876.00 award to develop a new website that provides public access to its digital collections.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced the first grant projects funded through the Inspire! Grants for Small Museums initiative featuring the following Affiliate organization:

Springfield Museum of Art (Springfield, OH)-$38,744.00 award to build its capacity to work with preschool children and teachers by expanding the professional development components of its Artful Play program.

Battelle has awarded $753,000 to fund 19 different out-of-classroom education programs that build skill in Central Ohio students including the Community STEM Center Initiative at The Works by The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology (Newark, OH). Partnering with middle schools in Licking County, The Works will build on activities from previous years, supporting teachers through professional learning and cross-district mentorship and collaboration while expanding student access to creative out-of-school learning opportunities to explore STEM concepts and careers.

Sullivan Museum and History Center (Northfield, VT) will receive part of a $269,000 gift from the TAWANI Foundation to cover the operating expenses of new student activities.

The Peoria Riverfront Museum (Peoria, IL) received a $1 million donation from T. Bondurant “Bon” French and Hollis “Holly” S. French to honor work Bon French’s parents performed for the museum’s predecessor, Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences. Some of the donation will endow a fund to support the Center for American Decoys at the museum.

The California Assembly voted to approve a funding bill to allocate $5.8 million for the Columbia Memorial Space Center (Downey, CA). $5 million will be used to construct a second building on the space center grounds. The remaining $800,000 is earmarked to purchase a 3D printer and audio/visual system.

LEADERSHIP

The Putnam Museum & Science Center (Davenport, IA) board of directors announced that community leader and education advocate Rachael Mullins Steiner will become president/CEO of the Putnam effective July 1. Steiner will replace Kim Findlay, who retired from the Putnam after more than a decade of service.

H. Alexander Rich, an assistant professor of art history at Florida Southern College has replaced Claire Orologas as leader of the Polk Museum of Art (Lakeland, FL). Orologas, who became the museum’s executive director in 2012, will become executive director emerita.

Ivy Barsky, who has served as director and CEO at the National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia, PA) since 2012, will be stepping down at the end of June. The museum board has asked Dr. Misha Galperin, a consultant to philanthropic and nonprofit organizations, to serve as interim leader.

Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, ME) President and CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko will be resigning from the museum at the end of June to accept a post as executive director of the Illinois State Museum in Springfield. The Board of Trustees is in the process of choosing an interim leader for the organization.

What’s Coming Up in Affiliateland in July 2019

Summer is in full swing, and so are Affiliates!

MARYLAND
Historic Annapolis will host Hives Alive!, an afternoon about bees featuring James Gagliardi, Horticulturist for Smithsonian Gardens and editor of the Encyclopedia of Garden Plants for Every Location.  James will provide a talk about pollinators, in Annapolis, 7.14.

NATIONWIDE
68 Affiliates across the United States will help the Smithsonian celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission by screening the Smithsonian Channel’s new film, The Day We Walked on the Moon. Check here to find an Affiliate near you! 7.20.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Two Smithsonian educators will give workshops to teachers as part of The Children’s Museum of the Upstate‘s Summer Academy. Staff from the Smithsonian Science Education Center will present a workshop on “Everyday Engineering,” and the National Museum of African Art will present on “Bringing African Art into the Classroom,” in Greenville, 7.24-25.

Kudos Affiliates!! June 2019

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 Air Zoo (Portage, MI) announced a $57,000 grant from the Margaret Dunning Foundation to support the renovation of its existing classroom spaces. The grant matches the investment already committed by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs in September 2018, supporting a complete $114,000 renovation of the Air Zoo’s existing classroom spaces. Renovations will enable the Air Zoo to provide an immersive, hands-on space for the more than 90 science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics educational initiatives.

The Indiana Historical Society (Indianapolis, IN) has launched its Indianapolis History Collecting Initiative, supported by a $100,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment. The initiative is part of the Indiana Historical Society’s Indianapolis Bicentennial Project which hopes to identify resources about the people, places and events that have shaped the city over the past 200 years.

An $8,600 grant was awarded to the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum (Ashland, NE) by the Cass County Board of Commissioners.  The purpose of the grant is to improve the space suits exhibits and displays to encourage more tourism there.

National Inventors Hall of Fame (Alexandria, VA) received a $5,000 from Duke Energy Foundation to help keep vital resources flowing into K-12 classrooms and programs at the museum.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced the recipients of the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to libraries and museums that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. The winners of the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service including Orange County Regional History Center (Orlando, FL) and National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel (Memphis, TN) are addressing unique issues and opportunities within their communities through their programs, services and partnerships.

Williams-Mystic, the maritime studies program of Williams College and Mystic Seaport Museum (Mystic, CT), were presented with the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Maritime Education at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The 42-year-old program brings undergraduate college students to the museum for a semester of interdisciplinary research and travel centered around the ocean. More than 1,600 students have attended the program. Williams-Mystic is receiving the award from the National Maritime Historical Society and the National Coast Guard Museum Association.

The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico was awarded the American Alliance of Museums Chair’s Leadership Award, accepted by the museum’s director Marta Mabel Perez at the 2019 AAM Annual Meeting. The award was given to recognize the museum’s work in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

LEADERSHIP

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate (Greenville, SC) Board of Directors unanimously voted to appoint Hillary Spencer, a former director of operations for global business development at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, as the museum’s new director. Spencer will take over the position on May 1.

American Jazz Museum (Kansas City, MO) announced that the board named Ralph Caro to lead the museum as interim executive director and to focus on implementing key recommendations from a consultants’ report issued in April 2018.

Coming up in Affiliateland in June 2019

The staff of Smithsonian Affiliations is thrilled to welcome colleagues from across the Affiliate and Smithsonian networks for four days of sharing and networking at our National Conference.

WASHINGTON, D.C.
Sessions, tours, receptions and more will bring hundreds of colleagues together to talk about strengthening our collaborations and to learn from each other. Register now! And peruse the agenda to get ready. See you soon! June 23-26.

CONNECTICUT
Dr. Sunae Park Evans, Senior Costume Conservator at the National Museum of American History, will lead a talk on the Preventative Conservation of the First Ladies’ gowns in the Smithsonian’s collections at the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford, 6.13.

SOUTH CAROLINA
The Upcountry History Museum opens Down the Rabbit Hole: Imagining Alice’s Wonderland exhibition, which includes five drawings on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, in Greenville, 6.15.

A star, ripped apart by the gravitational forces of a black hole about 290 light years from Earth, as captured by the Chandra X -ray Observatory.

MASSACHUSETTS
As part of the Moon Landing in Context series, Framingham State University will host a planetarium production co-created by Kim Kowal Arcand of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. The planetarium show will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the launch of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, in Framingham, 6.21.

NATIONWIDE
The Young Ambassadors Program sponsored by the Smithsonian Latino Center will kick off with a week in Washington, exposing students to Latino leaders of all kinds in many disciplines. Students will then return to their hometowns to complete internships at the following Affiliates: California Science Center (Los Angeles); Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, CA); History Colorado (Denver); HistoryMiami (FL); Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science (Miami, FL); Orange County Regional History Center (Orlando, FL); Adler Planetarium (Chicago, IL); Fort Worth Museum of Science and History (TX); The Witte Museum (San Antonio, TX), 6.24.

MARYLAND
The College Park Aviation Museum will be displaying three artifacts on loan from the National Postal Museum related to Benjamin Lipsner, the First Superintendent of the world’s first regular permanent civilian air mail service, in College Park starting 6.17.

RHODE ISLAND
The National Museum of American History is bringing its popular professional development program for teachers, Let’s Do History, to Rhode Island with two workshops – one at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, 6.17 and at the Museum of Work and Culture (a site of the Rhode Island Historical Society) in Woonsocket, 6.18.

 

Affiliates, if you have collaboration news to share on the monthly calendar (must have a Smithsonian connection!), please contact Jennifer, National Outreach Manager, at brundagej@si.edu.

Kudos Affiliates!! May 2019

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 Cosmosphere (Hutchinson, KS) received a $500,000 grant from the Sunderland Foundation of Kansas City to fund the CosmoKids Discovery Area of the Hall of Space at the Cosmosphere. CosmoKids Discovery Area is scheduled to open early in 2020 and will include STEM-based interactives and space where families can learn through interacting together.

Science Museum Oklahoma (Oklahoma City,OK) announced that Schlumberger will provide a matching grant of $90,000 to help renovate the museum’s energy exhibit, Energy Quest. Energy Quest will feature more than 2,000 square feet of space and provide an immersive environment to explore the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) associated with energy production in Oklahoma.

Capital improvement funds of $600,000 were released to the Kona Historical Society (Kealakekua, HI) for the construction of The Kona Museum Gallery. The two-story, 1,360 square-foot building has been designed to blend seamlessly into the historic buildings and landscape surrounding it and will include an exhibit area, retail area, storage, and restrooms.

The Center for Jewish History (New York City, NY) received a $2.5 million matching grant from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, to make photographs, primary documents, and other archival material detailing the history and living legacy of Jews in the Diaspora more accessible to the public.

LEADERSHIP CHANGES

After 12 years of leading the Putnam Museum & Science Center (Davenport, IA) through some major changes, growth, and exhibits, president/CEO Kim Findlay plans to retire June 30. The Putnam’s fiscal year starts July 1, and Findlay hopes to transition with a new CEO in place by mid-June.

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate (Greenville, SC) has named Hillary Spencer as its new President and CEO. Spencer was a former director of operations for global business development at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Spencer will take over the position on May 1, replacing interim CEO Michelle Shain, who has served the museum since July 2018 after then CEO Nancy Halverson announced she was leaving TCMU.

5 Questions With Dr. Matt Shindell

What do we love more than helping you navigate the Smithsonian? Sending someone from the Smithsonian to your neighborhood! Our people are our greatest resource and when new curators join the Smithsonian family, we like to share their stories with our network.

In this edition, we spotlight Dr. Matt Shindell, curator in the Space History Department at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, who has written a new book, The Life and Science of Harold C. Urey, scheduled to be released in the October 2019.

Harold Clayton Urey was an American physical chemist whose pioneering work on isotopes earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1934 for the discovery of deuterium. He played a significant role in the development of the atom bomb, as well as contributing to theories on the development of organic life from non-living matter.

Matt Shindell portraitTo understand more about Urey,  we asked five questions of Dr. Shindell.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be interested in your area of expertise.

I was always interested in science when I was a kid. I found science museums and books about space fascinating. When I went to college, I thought that I would become a scientist. But I soon discovered a related field called the history of science and found that I enjoyed exploring science’s past even more than I enjoyed science itself. I ended up pursuing a Ph.D. in history – something my younger self would never have predicted. My first big project in history of science was about the history of Mars exploration, in which I asked the question, where did the methods we use to explore other planets come from? A lot of these methods came from the Earth-based sciences of geology and geochemistry. This led me to the topic of my new book, the chemist Harold C. Urey. Urey was one of the first geochemists to devote his research program to the study of the Moon and planets. This brought him into the small group of scientists who worked with NASA on its lunar exploration program, including the Apollo missions to send humans to the Moon. But he didn’t start out as a planetary scientist. He had already had a long and distinguished career – including winning the Nobel Prize for the discovery of deuterium (heavy hydrogen) – by the time the Space Age began. I wrote this book as an exploration of how and why Urey decided to focus his later career on the evolution of the solar system.

Harold Urey book coverWhat have you enjoyed most about writing this book? What has been an unexpected discovery, if any?

As I spent time researching in Harold Urey’s personal papers, I discovered that he had a very interesting past that hadn’t really been explored by other historians. He was born into a very poor, rural, and religious family. His father was a minister in the German Baptist Brethren church – today known as the Church of the Brethren. When Urey was born at the end of the 19th century, the church was still very much a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch organization. Their style of dress and agricultural way of life was a lot like what we today associate with the Amish church. Urey’s parents grew up on small family farms in Indiana. And, at least during his childhood, this is the life that Harold Urey lived, too. It was a life full of prayer and religious observance. In his later life, Urey didn’t talk much about this past. However, during the Cold War, when he found himself full of anxiety about the state of the world and the potential destruction of nuclear war, the maintenance of religion became very important to him. When asked to speak publicly, Urey would tell his audiences about the amazing discoveries of science, but also would argue that it was vital to retain the moral teachings of the traditional religions. I found his desire for science and religion to coexist very interesting, and this became one of the major themes I tried to trace throughout the book – including in Urey’s lunar work.

What sparked your interest in him and why is it important to capture his story?

I first became interested in Harold Urey because he had participated in so many big moments in American science. He worked as a chemist in Philadelphia on explosives during World War I, he then went to graduate school at the University of California where the chemists and physicists were arguing about the structure of the atom. This interest in atoms took him to Niels Bohr’s Institute in Copenhagen after he graduated, and then he came back to the US and made his Nobel Prize-winning discovery of deuterium. His big discovery cemented his reputation as one of the world’s leading physical chemists. So when World War II broke out and the physicists stepped forward with plans for an atomic weapon – prompted by their fear that the Nazis were already working on such a weapon – it was Urey who ended up managing part of the operation to purify the uranium-235 fuel for that weapon. After the war, Urey was jaded and not interested in carrying on his pre-war research program, and he instead turned to studying the Earth, Moon, and planets. This eventually brought him into contact with NASA, and he became involved in the lunar science program connected to Apollo. Because he participated in so many important moments of 20th-century science, I believed that following his career would allow me to make connections between these moments that historians often treat as separate and distinct. I also saw in his life story a good example of what it meant to be an “American” scientist; I tried to focus in the book on the ways in which Urey constructed his professional identity in the context of two world wars and a Cold War, during which the definition of what it meant to be a good American shifted. And I also looked at how he struggled with a religious identity that marked him as different from his peers, but that nonetheless remained important to him throughout his life.

What would you like to share with Affiliates? 

I would like to share this story of a pioneering scientist, his place in the dramatic story of the growth of American science in the 20th century, and his struggle to balance scientific modernity with his own religious past.

What is your next project and what are you looking forward to with it?

For my next project, I am attempting to write a history of Mars exploration that focuses on the work done by humans here on Earth to explore a faraway planet on which they will never set foot. Robots will be a part of this story, too, but I really want to put the focus on the people behind the work of the rovers. I am looking forward to making connections between different historical periods of Mars exploration – from telescopes, to spacecraft, to rovers large and small. I am also looking forward to imagining what future exploration may look like – and whether or not it will involve humans on Mars.

Interested in bringing Dr. Shindell or other Smithsonian scholars to your organization? Contact your National Outreach Manager!