Congrats to the new class of Affiliate Visiting Professionals!

(This is an excerpt of a longer article in the Spring 2019 edition of The Affiliate newsletter)

2018 class

The 2018 Visiting Professional class.

In October 2018, a group of 10 Affiliate colleagues from around the country convened in Washington, D.C., for a two-week, transformative experience at the Smithsonian. They were selected to participate in the Smithsonian Affiliations Visiting Professionals Program (VPP), a unique professional development opportunity for mid-level museum staff at Affiliate organizations. With generous support from The Getty Foundation, the cohort focused on a single topic — using digital technologies to broaden access to art collections — and added a leadership and personal development component to the curriculum.

Participants were selected from Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, Alabama); Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, California); Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, California); Museum of the African Diaspora (San Francisco, California); Peoria Riverfront Museum (Peoria, Illinois); Schingoethe Center of Aurora University (Romeoville, Illinois); Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, Michigan); American Jazz Museum (Kansas City, Missouri); The Rockwell Museum (Corning, New York); and Springfield Museum of Art (Springfeld, Ohio).

They represented various departments within their organizations and agreed that discussions about workplace challenges made a significant impact on them, especially since it’s often not the thrust of academic degrees. “The leadership piece was so important — how to build allies, how to communicate, managing change, even being a good follower,” mused Charles Woods, educator at Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. “My biggest takeaway was understanding that you can lead from wherever you are.”

People smiling at a table

The 2018 VPP class hard at work at the Smithsonian Affiliations office.

Each participant came to the VPP with a specific organizational objective. Aspirations were high for all participants, but the program taught the cohort how to take achievable action steps and think about iterating over time. “When I came, I had no idea what to expect,” said Erin Shapiro, curator at the Springfield Museum of Art. “But now, I think we have a high chance of success for our project. I don’t say that lightly. Everybody here recognizes that this will be beneficial. I feel fortunate to have participated. The Smithsonian Affiliations team did a fantastic job. It’s an important program.”

With the support of The Getty Foundation, Smithsonian Affiliations will host a second cohort in 2019. We’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate and welcome the 2019 class from the following Affiliate organizations:

Jewel Clark, Heard Museum (Phoenix, Arizona)

Susan Bolaños, Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, California)

Melanie Tran, California State Railroad Museum (Sacramento, California)

Melissa de Bie, History Colorado (Denver, Colorado)

Tasha Caswell, Connecticut Historical Society (Hartford, Connecticut)

Teresa Stenstrup, National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

Elizabeth Barrett Sullivan, Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, Michigan)

Kendra Newhall, Montana Historical Society (Helena, Montana)

Nicole Markham, International Tennis Hall of Fame (Newport, Rhode Island)

Katie Staib, Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (Spokane, Washington)

Congratulations! We’re excited to meet them all and can’t wait for the collaboration to begin!

Smithsonian Year of Music: Add Your Events!

The Smithsonian Year of Music is an Institution-wide initiative to increase public engagement, advance understanding, and connect communities in Washington, D.C., across the nation, and around the globe. The Smithsonian Year of Music highlights and shares our vast musical holdings, bringing together our resources in history, art, culture, science, and education.

Smithsonian Affiliates can have their music-related activities (performances, music releases, exhibitions, workshops, educational programs, lectures, films, and conferences) included with the Smithsonian listings.  Please submit your listings to affiliates@si.edu with the following information to join the celebration.

  • Title of event
  • Description
  • Date & time
  • Photo
  • Price and ticket link (or if free, that as well)
  • Website link

 

Kudos Affiliates!! August 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 Nissan Foundation awarded $740,000 in grants to 30 nonprofit organizations for its 2019 grant cycle. The grant recipients and projects include:

Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI) ($10,000)- Arab American Arts Festival and Community Development/Placemaking

San Diego Museum of Man (San Diego, CA) ($10,000)-Making San Diego Safe for Human Differences

Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, CA ($30,000)-School Visits Program

The Dubuque Museum of Art (Dubuque, IA) announced it has received several grants in support of its operations, educational programs, and a project to digitize its permanent collections:

$23,065 from the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, to carry out a three-year project to photograph and digitize nearly 2,500 works of art and upgrade its collections management software to increase public access, encourage scholarship, and foster engagement with its growing collection of American art;

$10,000 from the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, to support the museum’s operations and programs through June 30, 2020;

$9,259 from the Dubuque Racing Association to upgrade the museum’s server and to make other key technology upgrades;

$2,500 from ITC Midwest to fund K-12 arts education and field trips, building art skills into the 21st century, and creating more inclusive, affordable and culturally diverse programming.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno pauses to look at the childhood home of Theodor S. Geisel.

The Dr. Seuss Foundation contributed a major gift to begin work on the Ted’s House and Innovation Center project. This will transform the childhood home of Dr. Seuss author Theodor S. Geisel and incorporate it into the Springfield Museums (Springfield, MA). The Innovation Center will focus on family, community, and environments of innovation and creativity, and use multimedia, multi-lingual resources to help visitors engage in an entertaining and exciting exploration of Geisel’s childhood, his home and neighborhood, and the many influences Springfield may have had on his art and writing.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanic Gardens (Staten Island, NY) received a $1 million allocation from the Staten Island borough’s council members for infrastructure and HVAC system upgrades at the facility.

Ball Brothers Foundation awarded $10,000 to Conner Prairie Museum (Fishers, IN) to support 60 visits to Delaware County, IN, schools to bring history and science programming to students and teachers.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) announced the winners of the 74th annual Leadership in History Awards, the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. The winners include:

Conner Prairie Museum and Asante Children’s Theatre received the Award of Excellence for Giving Voice: African-Americans’ Presence in Indiana’s History.

History Colorado (Denver, CO) for the History Colorado Collections on view in Silverton, Colorado.

Montana Historical Society (Helena, MT) for project Montana and the Great War.

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA) for the We Can Do It: WWII Traveling Exhibit Outreach Project.

Judy Rand with her award winning script for the special exhibit Underwater Beauty at the Shedd Aquarium.

Congratulations to Judy Rand, winner of the 2019 American Alliance of Museums’ Excellence in Exhibition Label Writing competition for Shedd Aquarium‘s (Chicago, IL) special exhibit Underwater Beauty. Sponsored by AAM’s Curators Committee in cooperation with the Education Professional Network (EdCom) and National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME). The competition recognizes outstanding label writing that’s “clear, concise, and captivating…a combination not easily achieved.”

LEADERSHIP

The Board of Trustees of the Springfield Museum of Art announced the appointment of J.D. Beiting as Interim Executive Director. Mr. Beiting replaces Ann Fortescue, who departed for McAllen, Texas. Mr. Beiting will serve as Interim Executive Director for a period of three to six months or until the permanent successor is announced.

Cathy Green has been named executive director of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum (Manitiwoc, WI). Green served as interim director the past six months after the resignation of previous director Rolf Johnson. She had previously served as deputy director and chief curator of the museum throughout 2018.

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.