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what’s the big [education] idea?

In keeping with this year’s education theme at the annual Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference, we’ll be hosting a series of roundtable discussions in a session titled “What’s the Big Idea: Revitalizing Education Through Partnership and Collaboration.” 

 This dynamic session will follow a format well-known to most  museum professionals.  Smithsonian colleagues from across the Institution will present at their tables for 10 minutes each about their current projects, with the express goal of encouraging ideas for collaboration or input from Affiliates.  After the talks, all participants at the table – Smithsonian and Affiliate staff – will be encouraged to brainstorm ideas and next steps on ways to participate, partner, or stay in touch as projects develop.  During the last half hour, we’ll ask a representative from each table to “share out” so everyone in the room can reap the benefits of every table’s discussion.

Each table represents a theme that Smithsonian educators are thinking and talking about at our own meetings and workshops.  The Smithsonian educators form an array of content across art, science and history, and will be addressing the following themes:

  • Education technology
  • Dedicated spaces for education
  • Citizen Science/Citizen History programs
  • Early Childhood Education in museums
  • You + Your Schools + the Smithsonian. 

Affiliate conference attendees are encouraged to consider the project descriptions attached here, and to join that table that best aligns with their home museum’s strengths and interests.

We anticipate a lively and fruitful discussion, and hope to see you there!    

announcing the 2011 affiliations conference keynote speaker

CLAUDINE K. BROWN NAMED KEYNOTE SPEAKER OF 2011 AFFILIATIONS NATIONAL CONFERENCE

Claudine Brown, Assistant Secretary for Education and Access

We are pleased to announce that Claudine K. Brown, the Smithsonian’s Assistant Secretary for Education and Access will provide the keynote speech on June 14 at the 2011 Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference, underscoring the centrality of education and the role of partnerships in advancing the Smithsonian’s mission.  Appointed in June 2010 to this newly established position, Brown serves as the overall leader of educational initiatives at the Smithsonian and coordinates the efforts of 32 education-based offices in museums and science centers.

Brown had been the director of the arts and culture program at the Nathan Cummings Foundation in New York since 1995.   In 1990, she joined the Smithsonian to serve as director of the National African-American Museum Project and in1991 she also became the deputy assistant secretary for the arts and humanities, developing policy for many Smithsonian museums.

Prior to her earlier work at the Smithsonian, Brown held several positions at The Brooklyn Museum:  museum educator, manager of school and community programs, and assistant director for government and community programs.  For more than 20 years, Brown served as a faculty advisor and instructor in the Leadership in Museum Education Program at Bank Street Graduate School of Museum Education in New York City, giving her the opportunity to work with some of the pre-eminent museum evaluators, educators and thinkers in the field.

Following Brown’s speech, conference attendees and Smithsonian educators will join in a series of roundtable discussions to identify potential areas of collaboration.

View the Smithsonian Affiliations Conference web page for further announcements.