the Moon is rising in Affiliateland in April 2019

Great events at Affiliates as spring starts blooming!

NORTH CAROLINA
The National Air and Space Museum has loaned three Apollo-related artifacts for the exhibition One Giant Leap: North Carolina and the Space Race opening at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, 4.5.

WASHINGTON
Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission exhibition, organized by the National Air and Space Museum and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, will open at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, 4.13.

ILLINOIS
As part of the Smithsonian Year of Music, the DuSable Museum of African American History will host A Celebration of Ella!!, a tribute event honoring the music and legacy of Ella Jenkins. At 94, Jenkins is one of the most revered singers and songwriters of the past century, with dozens of albums released through Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, in Chicago, 4.13.

PENNSYLVANIA
A protest armband from the 1960s, on loan from the National Museum of American History, will be part of the The Vietnam War: 1945-1975 exhibition at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, 4.13.


NEW YORK

Katherine Ott, curator at the National Museum of American History, delivers the last talk of the Questioning Identity lecture series, Poking at Normal: Museums and the History of Real People  at the Rockwell Museum in Corning, 4.24.

WASHINGTON, D.C.
Teens from five Affiliate communities will visit Washington with museum staff and parents, to meet with Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton and participate in person in the final meeting of the Secretary’s Youth Advisory Council. Thanks to the Rockwell Museum, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the Arab American National Museum, and the Upcountry History Museum, for helping us to include national teen voices in the work of the Smithsonian over the last two years!, in D.C.,  4.24.

IOWA
Smithsonian Affiliations Director Myriam Springuel and National Outreach Manager Aaron Glavas will participate in the affiliation announcement at new affiliate, the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids, 4.26.

MASSACHUSETTS
Astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory will present the April talk Moon Race: The U.S.-Soviet Competition to Put a Human on the Moon as part of the year-long Moon Landing in Context lecture series at Framingham State University in Framingham, 4.27.

 

Using Artifacts to Inspire Critical Thinking

This article has been re-posted from the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access page. It was written by Mary Manning, College and Career Readiness Specialist, at Cleveland History Center of the Western Reserve Historical Society, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Ohio.

You don’t need to be a museum curator to use artifacts in a classroom. If you decide to use visual thinking strategies, which offer powerful ways to unravel all the symbolic power of artistic images, they may not seem to apply to artifacts, especially those used in daily life that may not carry symbolic meanings. However, artifacts are the most often forgotten yet most compelling kind of primary source—they may not tell us a story in words and figures, but they can lead us down trails of questions that can stimulate critical thinking and research in the classroom.

Sasaki Family Photograph, 1960.

Sasaki Family Photograph, 1960.
Members of the Sasaki family are shown in their kitchen, preparing the actual cakes and treats that were made from the sticky mashed rice created in the mochi barrel. Cleveland History Center.

Making Sense of Mochi

When I began to design a Learning Lab collection that featured Asian Pacific American stories from the Cleveland History Center’s collections, I found one such compelling artifact—a mochi barrel used by the Sasakis, a Japanese-American family that lived in Cleveland, Ohio. At around two feet tall, our mochi barrel is a deceptively heavy contraption of wood curved around the cement dish inside. Inside the lid, a series of Japanese characters confirms that the barrel  was made in Cleveland in 1947. I became fascinated by this object, so I began exploring its history through all the questions that it brought to my mind.

First, who was the Sasaki family? How did they come to Cleveland? I knew that much of Cleveland’s Japanese population arrived during World War II, and indeed, after being interned on the west coast, they were placed in Cleveland through the local War Relocation Authority office and efforts of local churches. Telling the story of the Sasakis and their mochi barrel meant combing through these local records, seeking references to the specific family or to situations that mirrored their experience. I also realized that I couldn’t explain how the barrel was used.

After some searching, I learned that making mochi could be a very intensive process, but one that has persisted through centuries of Japanese New Year celebrations. Telling the story of the mochi barrel then became about the process and science behind its function. The more I learned the more I saw these lines of questioning coming together: I wondered if their oppressive experience in internment camps made even more important to preserve cultural rituals like mochi making in their lives.

Questioning Through Artifacts

If you ever find one compelling object or image, don’t hesitate to bring it into your classroom, and use it to build out a lesson. Students are curious; when you let them observe an object for some time, and then ask what they see, they often respond with questions that cut to the core of why the object exists in the first place. They are often able to intuit the purpose of an unfamiliar object from what they already know. They can use their questions as a guide to research the historical context that fills in gaps of knowledge about the object and, potentially, creates more questions. In this process, there doesn’t always have to be just one story—strands of history inherently relate because they all tie back to that one original object.

Through this process, students seek a holistic view of an artifact or image, weighing information for value and bias and how it does or does not fit into the object’s story.  There may be no bad questions, but there are certainly deeper questions that lead to higher-quality answers. By pushing students to question what they see through an intensive engagement with a single object, you hone a process of learning to interpret and draw meaning that enhances the way that students view the world around them. The Sasaki family and their mochi barrel provide the perfect example of why these skills serve students so well. The Sasakis do not play a role in any of the great triumphs and magnificent failures that would characterize a history of Cleveland in the twentieth century, but the ways in which they experienced internment and remade their lives tell us much about what is possible to find in between the events in our history books.

The Cleveland History Center is a Smithsonian Affiliate museum that collaborated on the Teacher Creativity Studio program. This program received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

Coming up in Affiliateland in March 2019

Congratulations to Affiliates on these great programs!

NEBRASKA
The Durham Museum opens American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith, a SITES exhibition, on 3.2. National Museum of American History curator Dr. Barbara Clark Smith will deliver a public talk on her new book about resistance in revolutionary America in Omaha, 3.5.

RHODE ISLAND
National Museum of American History curator Dr. Claire Jerry will present a talk on Woman Suffrage with the Rhode Island Historical Society in Providence, 3.7.

NEW YORK
Mary Elliott, curator at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will deliver the keynote address at the Long Island Museum‘s day-long symposium, Surviving Slavery on Long Island in Stony Brook, 3.9.

Diana N’Diaye of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage will give a talk on the Will to Adorn: Stories of African American Dress and Identity project as part of the Questioning Identity lecture series at the Rockwell Museum in Corning, 3.27.

FLORIDA
The Mennello Museum of American Art opens the Art of the Airport Tower exhibition from the National Air and Space Museum, in Orlando, 3.14.

MASSACHUSETTS

photograph

President Kennedy with VonBraun

Dr. Michael Neufeld, curator at the National Air and Space Museum, will present a lecture titled Space Hero or Nazi Villain? The Life of Wernher von Braun as part of the Moon Landing in Context project at Framingham State University in Framingham, 3.28.

Kudos Affiliates! March 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 Northampton County Department of Community and Economic Development announced the recipients of the 2019 Hotel Tax Grant Awards. The awards include $20,000.00 to the National Museum of Industrial History (Bethlehem, PA) for its Regional Tourism Marketing Campaign; $15,000.00 to Historic Bethlehem Museum & Sites (Bethlehem, PA) for its Heritage Tours Program and $15,000.00 for its 1750/1761 Moravian Smithy Program.

Cape Fear Museum (Wilmington, NC), in partnership with the New Hanover County Public Library, has received a $1,300 award to present a six-week program series called Becoming American: A Documentary Film and Discussion Series on Our Immigration Experience. The series is a free public program featuring documentary film screenings and scholar-led discussions designed to encourage an informed conversation that explores diverse immigrant experiences in American history.

Citizens Bank contributed $25,000 to the African American Museum in Philadelphia to support its 2019 Martin Luther King Weekend Celebration.

The Coastal Discovery Museum (Hilton Head Island, SC) was granted $285,000 accommodations tax money collected from tourists by the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce.  The funds will be used to promote the educational resources of the Coastal Discovery Museum to both local residents and tourists alike.

Kudos Affiliates! February 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 Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced $14.8 million in grants to support 253 humanities projects in 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. An additional $47.5 million was awarded to fund 55 state humanities council partners. The following Affiliates are included in the awards:

Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum (Chicago, IL): $178,961
Extending Zooniverse.org’s online platform to allow individual crowdsourcing project teams to review, compare, and edit transcriptions, and to work directly with raw text data generated from community transcription projects.

Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, MI): $5,968
The purchase of two storage cabinets for a recently acquired collection of 433 items from Europe and the United States that were made or used by, or that represent, the Romani people.

Ohio History Connection (Columbus, OH) $6,000
The purchase of archival supplies to preserve the 800 dolls in the recently donated Lillian M. Bartok Doll Collection.

Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, Inc. (San Juan, Puerto Rico): $10,000
Development of a long-term preservation plan specific to the library and archives, physical relocation of collections, purchase of supplies, digital reformatting of VHS tapes, and preservation training for staff.

International Tennis Hall of Fame (Newport, RI): $6,000
A preservation assessment of a museum collection of approximately 30,000 artifacts housed in the historic Newport Casino, site of the first U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championship in 1881.

Fort Worth Museum of Science and History (Fort Worth, TX): $6,000
A preservation assessment of history, archival, and science collections related to Texas and the Southwest. The collections comprise more than 180,000 items, with emphasis on pre-Columbian, Native American, and ranch and agricultural life in Texas and the southwestern United States, as well as Fort Worth history.

Cape Fear Museum (Wilmington, NC) was awarded $3,000 from International Paper’s Riegelwood Mill and the International Paper Foundation. Funds will be used to enhance the Uplands Forest section of the Michael Jordan Discovery Gallery including hands-on, interactive components, construction materials, and print displays.

The Putnam Museum & Science Center (Davenport, IA) received a $200,000 endowment fund which will give the museum annual perpetual grants. From the estate of Louise Fidyke Potter McCarty-a grant of about $3,000 a year will be given to help support arts- and culture-related programs and projects.

AFL Telecommunications awarded a grant of $3,500 to The Children’s Museum of the Upstate location in Spartanburg, SC, to support after-school STEM education programs. The FIRST LEGO League program provides fourth through eighth graders the opportunity to learn more about science and engineering, and help spark an interest in STEM fields at a young age.

Springfield Museums (Springfield, MA) received $100,000 for literacy-based interactive exhibits in The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum. The state grant will allow the museum to add several bilingual interactive exhibits.

Kay Simpson, president of the Springfield Museums, center, is joined by state legislators and representatives of the museums in praising a $100,000 state allocation for expansion of bilingual interactive exhibits for the Dr. Seuss Museum. (Peter Goonan / The Republican)

Bank of America presented $480,000 in grants to several nonprofits in the Philadelphia region in celebration of Giving Tuesday including $40,000 to the African American Museum in Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA).

Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, ME) received a $10,000 Enterprise Grant from the Maine Office of Tourism. The funds will be used to expand the reach of the Abbe Museum Indian Market – both before and after the May event – contributing to the wider tourism goals of the region. Projects include a podcast and online press room.

RCB Bank is partnering with the Cosmosphere International Science Education Center & Space Museum (Hutchinson, KS) to award a ten camp scholarship to students in sixth through eighth grade to attend a Cosmosphere Camp this summer.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

The USS Constitution Museum (Charlestown, MA) has been selected to receive a pro bono consulting study by Harvard Business School Association of Boston’s Community Action Partners (CAP). The study is scheduled to begin this fall. For the past 18 months the USS Constitution Museum has been working with the National Park Service, U.S. Navy, and Waltham-based design firm Sasaki Partners on a plan to make the Charlestown Navy Yard experience more unified, engaging, and relevant. The CAP study will look at the museum’s proposal to move to the Hoosac Warehouse next to USS Constitution.

The Abbe Museum received an excellence in marketing award from the DownEast Acadia Tourism Association (DART) for its new Abbe Museum Indian Market. DART recognized the market as an important event for the region’s tourism and creative economies.

Hyperallergic revealed its’ Best of 2018: Top 20 Exhibitions Across the United States featuring Unsettled at the Anchorage Museum (Anchorage, AK).

Conner Prairie Interactive History Park (Fishers, IN) has been named a Site of Conscience by the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. Conner Prairie is now one of more than 250 members across 65 countries to be honored for its high standards and initiatives to connect history to current events.

Coming Up in Affiliateland, February 2019

Lots of winter activity in Affiliateland – enjoy!

FLORIDA

The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access will offer a teacher professional development workshop on using digital resources in collaboration with the Frost Art Museum in Miami, 2.2.

Tower at the Stockholm airport, featured in the Art of the Airport Tower exhibition.

The Mennello Museum of American Art opens the Art of the Airport Tower exhibition from the National Air and Space Museum, in Orlando, 2.4.

IOWA

Affiliations staff members will visit the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library for their affiliation announcement in Cedar Rapids, 2.8.

CONNECTICUT

Paula Johnson, curator at the National Museum of American History, will present a lecture about cookbooks and mid-century American food culture at the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford, 2.16.

ILLINOIS

Eduardo Díaz, director of the Smithsonian Latino Center will deliver a talk on Latino representation at the Smithsonian at the Schingoethe Center of Aurora University in Aurora, 2.21.

ARIZONA

Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, will open Paul Calle’s Life of Exploration: From the Mountains to the Moon exhibition with loans from the National Postal Museum and the National Air and Space Museum, in Scottsdale, 2.4.

NEW YORK

The Rockwell Museum will open Yousuf Karsh: American Portraits exhibition from the National Portrait Gallery, 2.8. National Portrait Gallery director Kim Sajet will deliver the kickoff talk for the Museum’s spring lecture series on Questioning Identity, in Corning, 2.26.

NATIONWIDE

The Smithsonian Channel is collaborating with several Affiliates to screen their new show: The Green Book: Guide to Freedom during Black History Month –
at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, 1.31
at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore, 2.6
at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, 2.7
at History Colorado in Denver, 2.13
at the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle, 2.19
at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, 2.19
at the Mennello Museum of American Art in Orlando, 2.22
at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, 2.26
at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, 2.28