2020 Invent It Challenge

Credit: Cricket Media, Inc.

The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and Cricket Media have partnered for the past nine years to bring the Spark!Lab Invent It Challenge to students across the globe. The challenge is a free, STEM-focused contest open to students ages 5-18 that inspires them to solve real-world global issues through creativity and exploration. Smithsonian Affiliates are invited to share this opportunity with their visitors and incorporate it into Affiliate programming!

Here are some easy ways to promote the Challenge to your visitors or use in your own programming:
  • Use this flyer to spread the word about the 2020 Invent It Challenge to your visitors, school groups, and teachers.
  • Post this image across your social media outlets to inform your audience of the wonderful opportunity the Challenge presents for students to use their creativity and knowledge of science to make a positive impact on the world around them.
  • Introduce students to the 7-Step Invention Process using this introduction video and challenge them to think of how it can be applied to help create a solution to a wide variety of local, regional, or global issues.
  • Set up a whiteboard and have students play this interactive game from Smithsonian called “Pick Your Plate” to stimulate conversation around healthy food and how people across the globe might access it.
  • Show this inspirational video for possible ways to help solve the global issue of accessing healthy food and hold a question and answer session with students to get them thinking about what they could invent to address this issue.
Want to learn more about how the 2020 Invent It Challenge aligns with your programming, and what resources are available to you to promote it? Join our webinar on January 22nd, 2020, from 2-3 pm (EST)! Featured presenters include:
  • Sharon Klotz, Head of Invention Education at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
  • Laura Woodside, Senior Vice President of Education Products at Cricket Media, Inc.
  • Patricia Genovese, Teacher of Past Winners from California

RSVP for the webinar!

About the Invent It Challenge
Each year, the Lemelson Center and Cricket Media develop a theme related to an important global issue. By choosing themes that address significant global issues, the Invent It Challenge allows students to realize they can make an important difference in their world by applying their skills, knowledge, and creativity to come up with solutions to the challenges people around the world face daily. The 2020 theme focuses on what students can invent to help improve people’s access to healthy food. The fact that approximately 25% of the world’s 7.8 billion people struggle to access safe, nutritious food illustrates the importance and global nature of this issue.

Credit: Cricket Media, Inc.

To submit an entry, students have to follow the Lemelson Center’s 7-Step Invention Process and document their progress through each step in a PowerPoint or video. To help them get started, students should review the Entry Guide, which includes everything they’ll need:

  • A list of Topics and Resources to help them generate ideas,
  • an Inventor’s Notebook to help them keep track of their progress through the seven steps,
  • and a Rubric to help them self-assess.
When students are ready, they can use this PowerPoint template to document their journey, or they can create their own presentations or videos. Judges at the Lemelson Center and Cricket Media evaluate each entry according to how deeply students engage with each step and how well they document their journey. In addition to great prizes from Faber Castell, Cricket Media, and others, students can win a multi-day trip to Washington, D.C. where their inventions get permanently displayed at the Spark!Lab! Entries are due by 11:59 pm (EST) on April 10, 2020.

Questions before the webinar? Email affiliates@si.edu.

Credit: Cricket Media, Inc.

Wiki + Affiliates Part II: Wikimedia Commons and Image Releases

Following up on our successful call in October, we’re hosting a second webinar on Monday, December 16 at 3 pm Eastern focusing on another aspect of Wikipedia. After this webinar, we’ll announce dates for our next session covering the nuts and bolts of hosting your own edit-a-thon! Need a refresher on what we discussed in Part I? Read the Wiki+Affiliates: Help Represent the Under-Represented blog post.

Wikimedia Commons is an online repository of free-use images, sounds, and other media. Files from Wikimedia Commons can be used across all Wikimedia projects in all languages, including its most popular platform, Wikipedia. Wikimedia Commons contains over 55 million free media files, managed and editable by global volunteers. The Smithsonian has been contributing images to Wikimedia Commons for almost a decade. You can view some of the images and media files on the Smithsonian Commons page.

During this presentation we will build on the initial Wikimedia conversation from October with the Smithsonian’s Open Knowledge Coordinator, Kelly Doyle. She will highlight the ways in which Wikimedia Commons functions in the information landscape and how GLAM organizations (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) use and interact with this platform. We will discuss the nuances of image copyright, releasing, and practical implementation guidance. A walk-through of image tagging, search functions, and tracking image metrics over time will be presented.

 

Welcome 2019 Affiliate Visiting Professionals!

Smithsonian Affiliations welcomes its 2019 Visiting Professionals Program (VPP) cohort to Washington, D.C.! With support from the Getty Foundation, the VPP reaches a diverse group of Affiliate colleagues working in organizations with art collections and serving diverse audiences.

Wiki + Affiliates: Help Represent the Under-Represented!

Wikipedia is created and edited by volunteers around the world—and Affiliates can help! As one of the web’s most visited reference sites, Wikipedia serves as a starting point for many individuals looking to learn about art, history, and science. Smithsonian Affiliations and the Smithsonian’s new Open Knowledge Coordinator,* Kelly Doyle, are looking for Affiliate partners to help add under-represented groups and topics on Wikipedia. And we need your help. Affiliate collections and archives contain countless local stories and images that can help tell a fuller and more accurate history.

The first way Affiliates can become involved is through the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative (AWHI). The AWHI illuminates women’s pivotal roles in building and sustaining our country and strives to be the nation’s most comprehensive undertaking to document, research, collect, display, and share the rich, complete and compelling story of women in America. With a digital-first mission and focus, the initiative uses technology to amplify a diversity of women’s voices to reach millions of people across the nation and around the world.

“Local and regional histories are an important part of the national story,” said Doyle. “We know that the collections of our Smithsonian Affiliates include notable women from their communities. Affiliates can provide this content to make sure these incredible women are represented online.”

Affiliates that contribute content will support the Smithsonian AHWI initiative and its goal to tell a more inclusive history. Each Wiki post will note the contributor’s connection as an Affiliate, and the post will be linked back to the Affiliate providing the content. We want to be clear that our Affiliates have amazing content to contribute to not only the Smithsonian initiative, but to the larger historical record of our nation’s women.

On October 10, 3:00 pm Eastern Time, we’ll host a call to introduce interested Affiliates to the Wikipedia project and talk about how Affiliates can help improve the quality and accuracy of Wikipedia entries. Together, our goal is to make sure those often overlooked in history are represented.

African American abolitionist and women’s rights activist, Sojourner Truth. This clearer, historically appropriate image was sourced from the National Portrait Gallery during the first AWHI Wikipedia edit-a-thon.

What you can expect on the call:

  1. Why is the Smithsonian investing in this initiative?
  2. How can Affiliates participate in Wiki edit-a-thons?
    • Host an event
    • Provide content
  3. Next steps

Want to learn a little bit more about similar successful projects? Check these blogs out:

* So, tell me, what does the Smithsonian Open Knowledge Coordinator do?
The Open Knowledge Coordinator (OKC) for the American Women’s History Initiative (AWHI) works to bring notable American women from Smithsonian collections into digital spaces, specifically the Wikimedia projects. Wikipedia is the 5th most visited website globally, with thousands of libraries, galleries, archives, and museums contributing content for free public use. However, Wikipedia’s content has a significant gender imbalance. Only 18% of biographies on Wikipedia English are about women. The OKC, together with curators and archivists across the Smithsonian, makes our content and collections about women visible on Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons. This allows for greater public access to our collections and gender equity online.

Questions prior to the call? Email affiliates@si.edu.

SITES Corner: New Exhibitions for a New Year

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) has some exciting exhibitions for 2019 and beyond. Check out what’s available and bring a Smithsonian exhibition to your neighborhood soon.

Soldier with painting.

Courtesy Matt Mitchell.

100 Faces of War
Featuring 100 portraits of Americans from every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, the subjects represent a cross section of those who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, and reflect a variety of military branches, job descriptions, and personal backgrounds. Each oil painting is coupled with a personal statement from the participant to create a fuller portrait. Tour through fall 2020.
For more information, contact Ed Liskey, liskeye@si.edu, 202.633.3142

Billie Holiday at Sugar Hill: Photographs by Jerry Dantzic
The exhibition offers a rare glimpse into the iconic jazz musician’s public and private life just two years before her death at the age of 44. Includes 65 pigment prints with labels, panels, objects, ephemera, projected video, and vinyl excerpts from the work of renowned writer/author, Zadie Smith. Tour launches 2019. Special discounts for February 16, 2019 to May 12, 2019 ($10,000) and for September 29, 2019 to January 5, 2020 ($15,000), all plus shipping.
For more information, contact Michelle Torres-Carmona, torrescm@si.edu, 202.633.3181.

Girl in Red by R. Blackburn

Robert Blackburn, Girl in Red, 1950, Lithograph, 18 1/4 x 13 1/2, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Photograph by Karl Peterson

Robert Blackburn & Modern American Printmaking
Explore the work of the Robert Blackburn, the first Master Printer for the Universal Limited Art Editions, and founder of his own highly influential Printmaking Workshop. Viewers will trace his artistic journey leading up to and during the “graphics boom” in American printmaking and his later experimental works. Seventy original prints by Blackburn and his contemporaries are included from significant public and private collections. Tour launches May 2020.
For more information, contact Minnie Russell, russellm@si.edu, 202-633-3160.

The Way We Worked
We are pleased to expand the offering of The Way We Worked, a highly successful exhibition from our Museum on Main Street program, to qualified venues. The Way We Worked explores how work became such a central element in American culture by tracing the many changes that affected the workforce and work environments over the past 150 years. The exhibition draws from the National Archives’ rich photography collections to tell this compelling story. Tour launches summer 2019.
For more information, contact Minnie Russell, russellm@si.edu, 202-633-3160.

Photo of children working.

Photo by Lewis Hine, 1909. Courtesy National Archives, Records of the Children’s Bureau

Kudos Affiliates! December 2018

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 Mississippi River Museum received $5,000 from IBM to aid the development of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curriculum at the museum.

Midlands Community Foundation has awarded $89,175 to 24 nonprofit organizations serving Sarpy and Cass counties. Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum received $3,300.

The Knight Foundation announced the winners of the 2018 Knight Arts Challenge in Detroit. The Arab American National Museum was awarded $100,000 to support the Arab American Arts and Cultural Festival.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Burns & McDonnell made a multiyear, multi-million-dollar commitment to Science City at Union Station Kansas City. Burns & McDonnell will invest $2.5-3 million over the next five years, bringing the total investment over the last decade to an excess of $8 million. The first phase of offerings include:

  • Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains: Commitment for two more K-12 STEM competitions, with each to result in a $1 million permanent exhibit inspired by area students.
  • Field Trip and Transportation Fund: For an entire school year, Burns & McDonnell will award one field trip per week for a class to experience Science City.
  • Pop-Up Series: Burns & McDonnell and Science City STEM professionals will be on-site to present insightful talks and demos for students.
  • Summer Camp: STEM professionals from Burns & McDonnell will enrich Science City’s summer camp with industry trends and innovations and share tips and insights regarding careers in STEM.
  • Internship: A Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains participant will be offered an internship to work at Burns & McDonnell or Science City.

LEADERSHIP

Jody Blankenship, CEO of the Connecticut Historical Society, has stepped down to take the job as president and CEO of the Indiana Historical Society. He will replace John Herbst, who served at the Indiana society’s helm for 12 years after leading Conner Prairie and the Indiana State Museum. Herbst is retiring at the end of the year, and Blankenship will take over Jan. 21.

The Newark Museum announced that Linda Harrison had been selected to succeed Steven Kern as director and chief executive officer. Ms. Harrison is coming from the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, where she has served as the director and chief executive since 2013. Ms. Harris will begin her new position in January 2019.