kudos affiliates! may edition

Congratulations to these Affiliates on  their accomplishments! Have an award, a funding announcement, or significant staff change you’d like to see here? Email us!


Three charitable foundations gifts totaling $650,000 were awarded to Union Station, Kansas City, Inc.’s expansion and bridge project. The Gary Dickinson Family Charitable Foundation donated $250,000. The Sunderland Foundation donated $250,000. The Victor E. and Caroline E. Schutte Foundation donated $150,000. The expansion will include an interactive outdoor exhibit at Science City based on a winning entry in the last Battle of the Brains competition. The project also will include a new entrance to the theater area and planetarium.

The Wisconsin Maritime Museum announced the upcoming expansion of the exhibit “Wisconsin’s Underwater Treasures,” thanks to an $85,000 donation from the Ruth St. John and John Dunham West Foundation. The exhibit is focusing on the historic and cultural significance of many notable shipwrecks and unique personal stories from communities along Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan shoreline and will include new technology-based experiences along with a variety of interactives for visitors.

The South Dakota Historical Society Foundation has received a $5,000 grant from the BNSF Railway Foundation and a $1,000 grant from the Midco Foundation to digitize historic photographs and make the images available online.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced $21.1 million in grants for 248 humanities projects including the following Affiliate initiatives:

Ohio History Connection: $74,943
Project Title: TourSites for WordPress: Digital Tour Experiences for Multi-site Museum Networks
Project Description: The development of a platform that supports the sharing of humanities content through mobile tours in both exterior and interior spaces, building on Curatescape and WordPress platforms.

National Museum of American Jewish History: $40,000
Project Title: Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music
Project Description: Planning for a traveling exhibition, a scholarly catalog, and curriculum materials exploring the life, music, and influence of composer Leonard Bernstein.

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research Match: $260,000
Project Title: The YIVO Vilna Collections Project
Project Description: The arrangement and description of 301 linear feet of manuscripts and archives and the creation of over 458,000 digital images from these sources, which form part of the “Vilna Collections” held by the YIVO Institute, a repository housed in the Center for Jewish History. Images created by YIVO will be merged with extant holdings of the Lithuanian Central State Archive and National Library of Lithuania as part of a larger seven-year initiative.

Dane County approved $17,087 in grant awards through the Dane County Environmental Council’s Community Partners and Capital Equipment programs including $1,000 to the Madison Children’s Museum (Madison, Wisconsin). The funds will be used for purchasing supplies and equipment needed to develop a traveling homing pigeon program for local events, camps, and summer school programs that serve low-income areas in Dane County.

Connecticut Humanities granted Mystic Seaport $10,415 for the development of an exhibition centered on the newly re-installed captain’s cabin of the Down East merchant ship, The Benjamin F. Packard. The planning phase of this project requires extensive research in the museum’s collections and an audience study on engagement. This exhibit will teach about the maritime cargo trade that shaped Connecticut throughout history.

PPG Foundation Donates $10,000 to Frontiers of Flight Museum for Tech-Focused Program Grant supports expansion of Young Women’s STEM Leadership Initiative. The program serves 6th through 12th grade students from three public all-girls schools in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

Awards and Recognition

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced the 10 recipients of the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community including Mid-America Science Museum (Hot Springs, Arkansas).

Kristin A. Swain, executive director of The Rockwell Museum, was honored during the Museum Association of New York’s annual conference. Swain received the Anne Ackerson Innovation in Leadership Award for guiding “staff and the museum board of trustees through the broadening of the Rockwell’s mission, transitioning focus from the American West to ‘art about the American experience.

The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center was recognized with the Keepin’ it Fresh and New Award for its Vietnam Exhibit – Courage, Commitment, and Fear. The center was recognized by the Hershey Harrisburg Visitors Bureau Partner in Tourism Platinum Award Ceremony.

Leadership and Staff Changes

Michael Hammond, Ph.D., Executive Director of Agua Caliente Cultural Museum for the past 17 years, has announced his retirement effective July 31, 2016.

The San Diego History Center has a new director.  Bill Lawrence previously served as operations manager and trustee and comes from a background in broadcasting.

The San Diego Natural History Museum has announced that Judy Gradwohl, who has held numerous positions at the Smithsonian Institution, will be its new president and CEO, replacing Michael “Mick” Hager, who’s retiring June 30 after 25 years at the Balboa Park institution.

Mystic Seaport announced that Nicholas R. Bell has been named Senior Vice President for Curatorial Affairs, a new position at the Museum that will be responsible for the care, management, strategic development, and exhibition of the Museum’s collections. Bell will assume the position June 1, 2016. Bell is presently The Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-in-Charge at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC.

A new CEO with extensive fundraising, strategy and communications experience takes the helm at the Space Center Houston. William T. Harris has more than 30 years in nonprofit leadership and was previously at the California Science Center Foundation as senior vice president of development and marketing. 

David Wood has been promoted from director of exhibits and operations to chief operating officer at The Children’s Museum of the Upstate. In his new role, Wood will direct and oversee the daily operations and logistics of the museum, including exhibit development and management.

Bethlehem’s National Museum of Industrial History has hired Andria Zaia as curator of collections. Zaia will be responsible for overseeing the museum’s collection of iron, steel, textile, and industrial artifacts and archival materials.