Deep in the heart of Texas

Submitted by Harold A. Closter, Smithsonian Affiliations Director

The Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion at the Irving Arts Center

The Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion at the Irving Arts Center

 Four days, six Affiliates and five hundred miles.  

We try to make the most of our visits to Smithsonian Affiliates and especially enjoy the vitality and diversity of our partners in the Dallas area.  The catalyst for this trip, July 12 – 15, was the opening of Within The Emperor’s Garden: The Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion at the Irving Arts Center.  Director Richard Huff and his staff did a magnificent job of situating this intricate and massive structure and accompanying text and graphic panels in the Center’s main lobby.

The Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute organized the exhibition;  conservator Don Williams and his team of volunteers assembled the 3,000 pieces – a show all by itself.  Opening day featured family-friendly activities ranging from Chinese calligraphy to Tai Chi.  Paula Wallace, President of the Savannah College of Art and Design greeted guests, as did Tsai Lien, General Counsel in Houston of the People’s Republic of China, and other officials from the city of Irving.  The exhibition stays on display until July 2010.  If you’re in Texas, stop off and see it.

And if you have a few more days, check out the other Affiliates on my route: The Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future; the Museum of Nature and Science; the African American Museum; Frontiers of Flight Museum; and a little further away but well worth it, the Star of the Republic Museum in Washington, birthplace of Texas independence.

Thanks to Affiliates in Dallas, visitors can see our national collections – from space capsules to sports history – upfront and expertly displayed.  The lone star shines very bright on Smithsonian Affiliates deep in the heart of Texas.