Tag Archive for: affiliations

Goodbye Texas. Hello New York! The 10,000 Springs Pavilion is on the move

Special thanks to Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute Conservator Don Williams for this guest post.

Two weeks ago found me in Irving, Texas, along with Groopsters Bob Klein and Bill Ferguson from the Professional Refinisher’s Group (aka “Groop”), dismantling the Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion at Smithsonian Affiliate, Irving Arts Center.  We’re packing it for travel to its next temporary home in Flushing, NY, at Affiliate, Flushing Town Hall. Thus far Groop members have donated over 75 man-days toward the installation and de-installation of the exhibit, which could not be accomplished otherwise. Here’s a peek at the de-installation:

The setting for the Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion in the lobby of the Irving Arts Center was truly spectacular, exposing the magnificent artifact to tens of thousands of patrons.

Bill (l) and Bob (r) were real troopers. This was Bill's second rodeo with me, and Bob's fifth(!).

We were joined in our endeavor by the skilled and burly crew for the Irving Arts Center when it came time to handle the really heavy and awkward stuff.

The building crew for the Irving Arts Center was an amazingly helpful and professional group. The gigantic roof portions had to be hand carried a few hundred feet through the building to get reunited with the crates.

Not too surprisingly, it comes apart much faster than it goes together.

A place for everything, and everything in its place.

Bill got the honors this time of removing the impossibly ornate carved finial.

All packed up with somewhere to go.

 The project went smoothly and quickly.  I had allotted three full days of work, but we were done by late  afternoon of day two. It was truly a delight to spend productive time with these two Groop brothers and the fellowship it entailed.

Next stop is Flushing, New York, where the local logistics will require a sunrise Sunday beginning.  The exhibit will open October 16, 2010.

About the Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion
The structure is a 1 to 5 model of the celebrated and intricate classic Chinese pavilion that stands within the Forbidden City in the heart of Beijing. The model of the pavilion was gifted to the Smithsonian by Dr. Chan Laiwa and the China Red Sandalwood Museum in Beijing. Dr. Chan founded the museum to preserve and perpetuate the ancient Chinese art of red sandalwood carving.

Made by Chinese artisans using traditional Chinese carving and fine furniture techniques, the model captures the beauty of the original pavilion, and is an outstanding example of traditional Chinese carving. Artisans at the China Red Sandalwood Museum constructed this model of red sandalwood, treasured for its dark glossy color and musty floral fragrance. No nails are used; the entire structure is put together with mortise-and-tenon joinery. Currently, nearly 60 percent of red sandalwood carvers are women. Red sandalwood was highly prized in imperial China, and was used to create intricately carved furniture and decorative objects. Because of the demand for this wood, the tree nearly disappeared in China – along with the art of carving it.

The Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion is one of the 20 or so structures that are part of the private pleasure grounds for two dynasties of Chinese emperors. The Imperial Garden of the Forbidden City was a retreat for the emperor and his family allowing quiet contemplation of nature and communion with the spiritual world. 

summer at the smithsonian

We’ve invited our recent Affiliate interns and visiting professionals to blog about their experiences in our Summer at the Smithsonian series beginning in August.  Shawn Pirelli, Smithsonian Affiliations intern partner from Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA) will kick us off, so check back soon! Here’s a taste of what each thought of their time at the Smithsonian: 

Affiliate Visiting Professionals 

Eric Stanley (left) spent two weeks at the National Museum of American History researching the process of developing and designing history exhibitions.

“It was my great pleasure to be introduced to many, many facets of creating exhibitions at NMAH. I met over thirty people and was able to learn something from each of them. The time I spent with them, each one knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and warmly receptive of my presence, was a tremendous benefit to me and my institution,” said Eric Stanley, Sonoma County Museum (Santa Rosa, CA). 

Chena Popper spent three weeks at the National Museum of Natural History with registrars and collections care experts.

“It was a great learning experience to be able to see the loan process from start to finish, from loan forms to insurance and shipping, arrangements to condition reporting. Then on the SDNHM side, I was able to assist with the receiving, condition reporting and installation of the pieces,” said Chena Popper, San Diego Natural History Museum (San Diego, CA). 

Lisa Falk (left) benefited from a 4-week, pan-institutional project focused on technology and Web 2.0 initiatives at the Smithsonian.

“My SI colleagues were inviting, open, and encouraging. Their work is inspiring and has given me many ideas and broadened my understanding of the possibilities and some of the difficulties in creating digital and face-to-face museum interactions. Back home, I look forward to sharing what I learned with my ASM colleagues and trying out some of the Smithsonian approaches,” said Lisa Falk, Arizona State Museum (Tucson, AZ).

Affiliations Intern Partners

Annette Shumway at the National Postal Museum working to digitize the Postmaster General Collection.

“Taking part in both of these projects has helped me understand the logistics behind coordinating loans and standards involved in collections’ imaging projects. I feel that much of the experience that I gained through this period will aid in the second portion of my internship which will involve initiating a collections digitization program,” said Annette Shumway, Smithsonian Affiliations Intern Partner at the Frost Art Museum at Florida International University (Miami, FL). 

Shawn Pirelli is wrapping up 10 weeks at the Smithsonian researching Thanksgiving traditions for a future exhibition.

“I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most revered curators and archivists in the world.  The Smithsonian is truly an untapped gold mine in historical records. With the help of the staff, I was able to uncover some of the most truly magnificent historical records that, during their time, helped shape and change the United States,” said Shawn Pirelli, Smithsonian Affiliations Intern Partner at Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA). 

David Kerr alternates his internship between the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian Affiliations

“My Smithsonian Affiliations internship has been incredibly advantageous. From handling and transcribing Teddy Roosevelt  letters to helping do research for an upcoming work on the Civil War to meeting with curators to discuss current exhibits and collections, my time has been very well spent, and my future as an academic or as a future employee can only benefit,” said David Kerr, Smithsonian Affiliations Intern Partner at the Frazier International History Museum (Louisville, KY). 

Smithsonian Institution Intern  

Juliana Walker (right) tests an interactive game at the National Zoo with Affiliate researcher, Lisa Falk.

“Under the direction of Harold Closter I was able to learn about the enormous positive impact the Smithsonian Affiliations Office has across the country. By researching museums in the states where Affiliates are not present, I hope my research may help extend the Affiliate network across even more,” said Juliana Walker, Junior at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

Don’t forget to visit our blog in August for stories from each of our interns and visiting professionals! Read first-hand how professional development opportunities at Smithsonian Affiliations can benefit your museum.  And keep checking back for application deadlines for 2011.

affiliates in the news: week of July 19

Congratulations to these Affiliates making headlines this week!

During a previous trip to Pinilla del Valle, Spain, Dr. Robert Feranec, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the New York State Museum, picks through small animal bones from sediment recovered from fossil caves. Photo courtesy of NYS Museum.

New York State Museum(Albany, NY)
A New York State Museum paleontologist has become the only scientist in the U.S. selected to participate in an all-expense paid research program in Spain that will enable him to investigate the effects of climate change on mammals over the last 2 million years. READ MORE

The New York State Museum’s curator of vertebrate paleontology has been chosen to participate in a three-month research program at the University of Madrid, Spain. He’s the only American scientist chosen this year: most participants come from the European Union. READ MORE

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, NC)
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences introduced Margaret D. “Meg” Lowman as director of their new wing, the Nature Research Center. READ MORE

The Center for Jewish History (New York, NY)
The Center for Jewish History, the largest repository of the modern Jewish experience outside of Israel, has received a $225,000 grant from the Vivian G. Prins Foundation to support Post-Doctoral fellowships for Emigrating Scholars, who seek permanent teaching and research positions in North America. READ MORE

National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia, PA)
Last month, New York media artist Ben Rubin got the go-ahead to produce an LED light sculpture to be placed atop the new National Museum of American Jewish History on Independence Mall, set to open in November.
READ MORE

WASP (photo courtesy of Texas Woman's University)

The Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future (Dallas, TX)
The Women’s Museum’s Dreams of Flight Exhibit Opening Coincides with Legendary Pilot’s Birthday, Amelia Earhart. READ MORE

affiliates in the news!

Congratulations to these Affiliates making headlines this week!

Buffalo Bill Historical Center (Cody, WY)
As many as 38 Wyoming cultural and heritage projects and sponsoring organizations will benefit from $542,017 in grant awards from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund…MORE

Birthplace of Country Music Alliance (Bristol, TN)
… the Tennessee Arts Commission announced its grant recipients for fiscal 2010-11…MORE

Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ)
…there are a number of locations around the country that look to preserve these for future generations. One of these is the Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art in Phoenix, Arizona…MORE

Louisiana State Exhibit Museum (Shreveport, LA)
State Rep. Wayne Waddell will take the helm as director of Louisiana State Exhibit Museum on Aug. 2… MORE
Director retires
Museum Director Retires

National Museum of Dentistry (Baltimore, MD)
…The annual celebration honors supporters and friends who help the Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate, in its mission to celebrate the history the dentistry and to raise awareness of the importance of good oral health in a healthy life…MORE

 

Exterior of the new $40 million expansion of the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque.

The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium(Dubuque, IA)
…”Dubuque’s already on the map,” said Jerry Enzler, executive director of the facility, “but this really puts us on the global map”…MORE
River museum gets bigger, better

American Jazz Museum (Kansas City, MO)
Greg Carroll is CEO of the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City. In collaboration with the Consulate of Mexico in Kansas City and the Mattie Rhodes Center, the museum is holding an exhibition of large-scale photographs and artifacts that reveals cultural connections between Africa and Latin America…MORE

The Center for Jewish History
(New York, NY)
The Center for Jewish History, dedicated to the preservation and presentation of Jewish history, culture and experience across countries and generations, has received an $860,092 grant from the Leon Levy Foundation…MORE

Ellen Noël Art Museum
(Odessa , TX)
The Ellen Noël Art Museum has been accepted as an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution…MORE

Agua Caliente Cultural Museum (Palm Springs, CA)
Since the 1970s, the Agua Caliente Band and the city have been partners in the economic development of Palm Springs…also is the site of the future Agua Caliente Cultural Museum…MORE

thanks for a wonderful conference!

Affiliations Director, Harold Closter, greeting conference guests at the Welcome Reception at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

We were so delighted that so many of you were able to join us for this year’s Annual National Conference.  The spirit of friendship permeated our gathering as did the passion and commitment that you bring to our profession.  We were sorry that some of you were unable to attend, but know that you were with us in thought, and that we’ll see you next year, if not sooner.

Thank you for your many kind words of praise.  We try hard to build a conference that offers the right mix of intellectual challenge, workshops on cutting edge topics, new ways of engaging the Smithsonian, and enjoyable networking opportunities.  We hope our blend worked for you, but if not, let us know so we can try something different next year.

Conference attendees brainstorming with Smithsonian experts at the "Grand Challenges" roundtables.

This year we had more Affiliate presenters and more Smithsonian participants than ever before.  We are grateful to all of you for taking the time to prepare and share your experiences.  They were informative, enlightening, and ever indicative of the impact that we create together through Smithsonian Affiliations.  I am confident that everyone left with a suitcase full of new ideas; we can’t wait to begin unpacking.

Wish we all of you a wonderful summer, certainly one not as hot as in Washington, and continued success in serving your communities.  We are proud to be your partners!

Harold A. Closter

PS- Missed something at the conference?  Click on these links to review Conference Presentations, browse the Conference Guidebook, and enjoy photos from all three days of activities.

Have ideas for next year? Please email Elizabeth Bugbee with ideas for topics YOU want to learn about next year!

kudos, affiliates! july 2010

Despite the economy, there are many bright spots to celebrate in Affiliateland this month.  Great job everyone!

Adler Planetarium (Chicago, Illinois) received a $40,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities to develop a planning project leading to recommendations for improving the storage of a collection of artifacts related to the history of astronomy, maritime history, and related fields. 

Buffalo Bill Historical Center (Cody, Wyoming) was awarded a $200,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities to begin preparation of a thematic, illustrated digital edition of the papers of Buffalo Bill Cody, a symbol of the American West in the popular imagination. BBHC was also granted $10,250 from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund to develop the exhibition “Arapaho Journey: Photographs and Stories from the Wind River Reservation.” 

The Birthplace of Country Music Alliance (Bristol, Tennessee) is set to receive $25,000 from the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Raices Latin Music Museum (New York, NY) will receive a $3,000 grant from IMLS’ American Heritage Preservation Grants to preserve an iconic straw boater hat worn by world-famous Cuban-American musician and bandleader, Desi Arnaz.

The Historical Society of Washington, DC has received a $3,000 grant from IMLS’ American Heritage Preservation Grant program to rehouse, preserve and make accessible 3,600 oversized photographs from the Capital Photo Service Collection of 1957-2000.

The Museum of Appalachia (Norris, Tennessee) received a $25,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to install a new, energy-efficient climate control system in the Museum’s Hall of Fame.

Leon Levy Foundation Awards an additional $860,092 grant to The Center for Jewish History (New York, New York)  for Preservation of Archival Materials

Three Smithsonian Affiliates were awarded funds through the Smithsonian Community Grant program: 

Sonoma County Museum (Santa Rosa, California) was awarded $5,000 to fund a family day, oral history day, and panel discussion related to the themes of Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964.

Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center (Mashantucket, Connecticut) was awarded $4,864 to fund two speakers and programming advertisement related to the themes of Native Words, Native Warriors.

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, Alabama) was awarded $5,000 to fund a book signing, photography workshop, public program, teacher workshop, and programming advertisement related to the themes of Let Your Motto Be Resistance.