Part 3: Using Collections to Think About Immigration with the Smithsonian Learning Lab

After visiting three Affiliate communities in 2018, the staff at the Smithsonian Learning Lab wrapped-up their Teacher Creativity Studios at the City of Austin Asian American Resource Center (AARC), a Smithsonian Affiliate in Austin, Texas. As mentioned in Part 1, the goal was to increase digital access to museum collections and inspire students to investigate the world around them using objects, documents, videos and more, all available for free online. In this final installment, Hanna Huang, culture and arts education coordinator and acting supervisor at the Asian American Resource Center, shares her project, Austin’s Asian American Pacific Islander Roots.

Smithsonian Learning Lab in AustinThe AARC partnered with the Austin History Center to define Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) programming. Huang sees each AAPI community as special and unique in its makeup, much like the many cultures, ethnicities, and languages that comprise what we know as AAPI. To share this with a wider audience, the partners worked with the Learning Lab to create a collection for teachers based on a revived exhibition that covers Asian Pacific American history in Austin from the late 1800s past the 1980s.

As you work your way through, you can not only see all the images and texts from our exhibit but also find learning tools to help you with teaching topics such as Asian Pacific American history, immigration, Texas history, primary/secondary sources, and more!

Read Huang’s full blog– Austin’s Asian American Pacific Islander Rootshere.

And don’t forget about Part 1 and Part 2 in our Learning Lab Series!

Want to see more Learning Lab in Affiliate neighborhoods? Check out these blogs from past workshops at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh: Supporting Digital Innovation in Education with the Learning Lab
Every Collection Tells a Story
Creative Introduction to Geography
Smithsonian’s Home in Pittsburgh
Creating with the Learning Lab
Teach Digital Curation with Depth

The Teacher Creativity Studio program received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

f you are interested in learning more about the Smithsonian Learning Lab and how it could help your museum support teachers and students in your community, contact your National Outreach Manager.

Part 2: Using Collections to Think About Immigration with the Smithsonian Learning Lab

In Part 1 of our Smithsonian Learning Lab series we took you to the Tsongas Industrial History Center at the Lowell National Historical Park, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Lowell, Massachusetts, where teachers were exploring the question “Who belongs?” (You can read the full blog here.) This time we’re headed to the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, another Smithsonian Affiliate in Seattle, Washington, to explore immigration through the lens of Chinese immigrants.

Wing Luke Learning Lab title pageIn his blog Beneath the Text: Analyzing Letters from Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, Rahul Gupta, education and tours director at The Wing, developed his first Learning Lab gallery using the museum’s collection of letters to to discuss three areas of immigration– “push” and “pull” factors that bring immigrants to the country or that reject their presence, and the letters’ style, writing and format.

I am often amazed at what I learn at this job every single day—and this project opened my understanding of the personal impact of colonialism, Chinese nationalism, gender relationships, and changing gender roles—and more and more. There are brilliant gems within our museum collection, and I am restlessly waiting to place more of these archives and artifacts into the hands of teachers and students around the country.

Read his blog and view his Learning Lab collection here.

The Teacher Creativity Studio program received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

If you are interested in learning more about the Smithsonian Learning Lab and how it could help your museum support teachers and students in your community, contact your National Outreach Manager.

Smithsonian Announces Director for Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and Smithsonian Affiliations

Myriam Springuel

Views from the Destination Moon press event that was held in the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA, on February 22, 2017. Event was held to announce the national tour of the Apollo 11 Command Module exhibit. Myriam Springuel, Director, SITES. Photo by Dane Penland. [Apollo DestinationMoon-2-22-2017-0223] [NASM2017-00421]

Today we are pleased to announce an important step in strengthening our content and peer-outreach capabilities. As of June 7, we have aligned the work of two organizations into one management structure called the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and Smithsonian Affiliations. This unit will be overseen by Myriam Springuel. As many of you know, Myriam has served as the Director of Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) since 2015 and as the interim director of Affiliations since June 2017.

Smithsonian Affiliations has grown into a globally recognized program that establishes and maintains the Smithsonian’s long-term partnerships with museums, educational organizations, and cultural institutions—there are now more than 200 affiliated organizations in 46 states, Puerto Rico, and Panama. For more than 65 years, SITES has shared Smithsonian exhibitions and educational resources with people and places all across the country. More than 500 communities in all 50 states host SITES shows in formats ranging from large-scale exhibits with iconic Smithsonian objects, to exhibitions for mid-size museums and cultural centers, and from small exhibitions for rural America, to poster exhibitions tailored to school classrooms. Putting these two critical entities together under one leader is an important step in improving capabilities related to several goals in the Institution’s new Strategic Plan, including understanding and reaching new audiences, using partnerships more effectively, and catalyzing new conversations around complex challenges across the nation.

Myriam brings 30 years of experience in museum planning, management, exhibitions, education, and staff training. Before returning to the Smithsonian in 2014, Myriam worked as a consultant with museums across the country. She was Director of Education and later Associate Director for Programs at SITES from 1986 to 1994. Earlier in her career, she curated fine arts exhibitions and developed education programs at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Myriam holds a master’s degree in art history from the University of Maryland.

We encourage you to engage with Myriam as we consider how to take our work across the country and benefit from our relationships with other museum leaders in the Affiliate community.

Sincerely,

John Davis
Provost and Under Secretary for Museums, Education, and Research

Patty Bartlett
Associate Provost for Education and Access and Senior Advisor to the Secretary

If you have questions, please contact Myriam Springuel, Director, Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and Smithsonian Affiliations at SpringuelM@SI.edu

Part 1: Using Collections to Think About Immigration with the Smithsonian Learning Lab

In 2017-2018 a collaboration among Smithsonian Affiliations, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access brought the Teacher Creativity Studios: Fostering Global Competence in the Classroom project to 3 Affiliate communities. The nationwide professional development project for educators is designed to develop new instructional materials and content highlighting Asian Pacific American experiences within K-12 humanities subject areas.

Teacher creating Learning Lab collection

Learning Lab workshop at the Tsongas Industrial History Center. Photo by Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

Smithsonian Affiliates worked with local teachers to create multimedia lessons on the Smithsonian’s Learning Lab portal that integrated resources from the Smithsonian and other participating museums into teaching materials and lesson plans. The goal was to increase digital access to museum collections and inspire students to investigate the world around them using objects, documents, videos and more, all available for free online.

A teacher in Lowell, MA, did just that. Laura Lamarre Anderson, Grade 4 Teacher at STEM Academy at the Rogers School, participated in a workshop at the Tsongas Industrial History Center at the Lowell National Historical Park, a Smithsonian Affiliate, to explore the question of “Who Belongs?” with her students. Below is an excerpt from a blog she wrote for the Smithsonian Learning Lab. You can read the whole blog here.

In a city like Lowell, rich with a constant flow of immigrants moving in from all over the world, the question of “who belongs” comes up frequently. After facing discrimination themselves, some second- and third-generation Irish immigrants railed against the newcomers who came after. And the cycle continues with each new group of immigrants facing challenges to their rights to be here. Several students in my classroom have come up against challenges to their right to be in Massachusetts, their right to be called American, because of where they or their parents were born. With this in mind, I tried to choose images that reflect the challenges of immigration, that would help generate conversations about how people were welcomed at different points in our history, and that help us to begin thinking about what it means to be an American.

Teacher Creativity Studios workshops are funded by the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool at the Smithsonian.

If you are interested in learning more about the Smithsonian Learning Lab and how it could help your museum support teachers and students in your community, contact your National Outreach Manager.

¡Escuchame! 5 Questions With Dr. Kathleen Franz

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is working on a new initiative, Escuchame: The History of Spanish Language Broadcasting in the U.S.  The museum has rich collections related to television, but few that tell the story of Spanish-language broadcasting in the U.S. This initiative will document stories from early Telemundo and Univision stations as well as other public and independent stations. Documenting these stories will help show the influence these stations have had on the national narrative and the way the history of American television is written.

Portrait of Dr. Kathleen Franz

Dr. Kathleen Franz, Chair of Work & Industry and Curator of Business History at the National Museum of American History.

To understand more, and how our Affiliate network may participate, I asked five questions of Dr. Kathleen Franz, Chair of Work & Industry and Curator of Business History at the National Museum of American History.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be interested in your area of expertise?
In graduate school, I studied with one of the leading historians of advertising history in the U.S. and really became enthusiastic about the history of television and advertising as business history but also as popular culture. My work sits at the intersections of those two things.

Your current project centers on capturing the history of Spanish-language television in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. What sparked that idea and why is it important to capture this story?
I grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and saw first-hand the long history and power of Spanish-language broadcasting in the U.S. through the pioneering station of KWEX whose roots go back to the 1950s. However, general and popular histories of television often leave out the history of Spanish-language TV in the golden era of the 1950s and 1960s. So, building an archive that housed, preserved, and made available the stories of women and men who created stations and the networks is really important, because the earliest Spanish-language broadcasting goes back to the era of radio in the 1930s, and the earliest television stations are there in the golden era with the first successful network, Spanish International Network (SIN), created in 1961.

A common thread to this huge collection of materials—time-worn press credentials, painted tennis shoes, photographs, mic flags, scripts—is that they represent decades of Spanish-language broadcasting from the network Telemundo. (NMAH)

What have you enjoyed most about this initiative? What has been an unexpected discovery, if any?
First, I have two wonderful collaborators at the museum, Dr. Mireya Loza, curator, Department of Work and Industry, and Melinda Machado, director, Office of Communications and Marketing, who have helped make contact with stations around the country and we’ve done the oral history and object collecting as a team. I’ve learned so much from working with them and meeting the various people who run the stations and put the programming on every day. We also had tremendous support from a private donor — of the Nicolas family in San Antonio who founded KCOR in 1954— the Smithsonian’s Latino Center, Telemundo, and Univision. I can’t name everyone here but I am so grateful for the support of the networks! This has been a serious collaboration to capture and preserve this history. One of the best, and unexpected discoveries, was a painting of the Televisa studios in Mexico City commissioned by Emilio Nicolas in the early 1960s. It’s so unusual to have an artist’s rendition of a TV set and the image captures the look and feel of that exciting era in television. Mr. Nicolas traveled regularly to Mexico City to produce programming at the studio and bring it back to the US Spanish-speaking market for SIN.

What would you like to share with Affiliates? And what would you like Affiliates to share with you?
I’m always delighted to talk to local audiences and I would be happy to talk about the collecting and sharing resources with Affiliates. In turn, it would help us to work with Affiliates to do collecting or memory days at their sites, especially ones who are in cities with long-running Spanish-language stations. We really want to capture what audiences thought and how they viewed and used the stations in their own lives.

What is your next project and what are you looking forward to with it?
Dr. Loza and I would like to publish an edited volume of the oral histories and we’ll be working on that over the next 18 months or so. I’m also currently working on the National Museum of American History’s major women’s history initiative exhibition for the centennial of Women’s suffrage. That exhibition will open at the museum in 2020 and then travel the country starting in 2021.

Dr. Franz is open to the possibility of visiting our Affiliate network in the fall to share more about this initiative. Do you have connections to Spanish-language television history? Contact your National Outreach Manager for more information about bringing Dr. Franz to your neighborhood.

Telemundo Microphone cubes

This series of microphone cubes used over the years by Telemundo 51 WSCV-TV in Florida was donated by Marilys Llanos, senior political reporter at at the station. (Photo by Laura Duff, Smithsonian Institution)

Kudos Affiliates! May 2018

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

Funding

The PNC Foundation announced a five-year, $1 million grant to Union Station, Kansas City, Inc. (Kansas City, MO) in support of science education that will benefit approximately 14,000 members of the community, with a focus on Head Start preschool students, children, and families. The funding, made possible through the PNC Foundation as part of its signature philanthropic early education initiative, PNC Grow Up Great, will also support the establishment of a multipurpose classroom space at Science City and touch an additional 260,000 annual visitors to the science center. The grant is PNC’s largest to date in Kansas City.

Fred Beans Family of Dealerships donated $25,000 to Mercer Museum for its educational program, National History Day, through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program. This gift will fund the Mercer’s regional program for students in Pennsylvania’s Bucks and Montgomery counties. Students choose historical topics related to an annual theme and conduct extensive primary and secondary research involving interviews and visits to libraries, archives, museums and historic sites. During the competition, they present their work in original papers, exhibits, performances and documentaries. Students who win at the regional level will go on to participate in statewide and national competitions.

NASA has awarded a $750,000 grant to a research effort led by Wichita State University to develop more efficient and compact thermal and water management systems. The grant will also support engineering outreach activities at the partner universities as well as the Kansas Cosmosphere.

Larimer County recently awarded 11 small grants totaling $20,646 to neighborhood and community projects designed to connect people to the outdoors and to promote education and sustainability. This includes a grant for $3,000 to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to study mass extinction and conduct geologic fieldwork and lab analysis of the Lykins Formation at Red Mountain Open Space.

L to R: George Guastello – Union Station; Kim Herman and Dale Klose – PNC Bank; Mayor Sly James – Kansas City, Missouri.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced $18.6 million in grants for 199 humanities projects across the country including the following Affiliate projects:

University of Arizona: $298,000
Project Title: Implementing a Consolidated Collections Information System
Project Description: The continued development and completion of a single, searchable public database for the Arizona State Museum‘s ethnographic and archaeological collections, which document 13,000 years of cultural heritage in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The database, which contains more than 360,000 entries, will include links to archival records of original excavation notes and reports.

Florida International University Board of Trustees: $91,309
Project Title: War and Healing: A Century of Veterans’ Reintegration
Project Description: A two-day intensive training seminar followed by two four-week discussion programs for veterans in the Miami, Florida, area.

Florida International University Board of Trustees: $6,000
Project Title: Balloon Flight and British Literature of the 18th and 19th Centuries
Project Description: Research and writing for a book on the emerging technology of ballooning in 18th-century England and its impact on literature and the techniques of omniscient narration.

Abbe Museum: $50,000
Project Title: Access to Native American Collections at the Abbe Museum                                              Project Description: The Abbe Museum holds 70,000 objects documenting the 12,000 year history of the five Wabanaki Nation tribes that inhabit northern New England, Maritime Canada, and Quebec. The project will develop a pilot program to work with local tribal leaders to digitize these artifacts, collect information about their history, and share the collections with the public in a way that respects tribal customs.

University of Massachusetts, Boston: $181,000
Project Title: Digitizing Plimoth Plantation’s 17th-Century Historical Archaeology Collections
Project Description: Cataloging, digitization, and creation of access to the archaeological collections connected to the early colonists of Plimoth Plantation. The project encompasses field notes, plans, drawings, and photos associated with the excavations of four key sites. Materials will be made accessible to the public, teachers, students, and scholars via an online database and finding aids.

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center (Ohio History Connection) (Fremont): $1,000
Project Title: NEH on the Road: Jacob Riis

Upcountry History Museum (Greenville): $1,000
Project Title: NEH on the Road: Power of Children

NEH on the Road is a traveling exhibition program presented in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities and Mid-America Arts Alliance, to strengthen communities and improve lives through extraordinary cultural experiences.

Leadership Changes

After 13 years, Devon Akmon will leave his post as director of the Arab American National Museum (Dearborn). Akmon’s last day is May 31. A national search is underway to select the next leader of the museum, the first and only of its kind focused on Arab-American history and culture.

Dr. Doug Bradburn, new president and CEO of George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

 

The Pacific Aviation Museum Board of Directors named Elissa Lines new Executive Director for the museum. Lines, who joined the Museum in 2013, previously served as the executive director of development at the museum.

The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association announced the selection of its current library director, Dr. Doug Bradburn, to serve as the new president and chief executive officer of George Washington’s Mount Vernon.