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3rd successful year of “September with the Smithsonian” in Daytona Beach

Special thanks for this guest post to James “Zach” Zacharias, Senior Curator of Education and Curator of History at the Museum of Arts and Sciences Daytona Beach, Florida.

Zach Zacharias and Dr. Valerie Paul with "Highwaymen" on loan from fellow Affiliate, Orange County Regional History Center. Photo courtesy MOAS.

Zach Zacharias and Dr. Valerie Paul with “Highwaymen” on loan from fellow Affiliate, Orange County Regional History Center. Photo courtesy MOAS.

Several years ago the Daytona Beach Museum of Arts and Sciences (MOAS) was looking for ways to increase attendance during the traditionally slow month of September.  After a few brainstorming sessions, the curatorial and education departments came up with a brilliant idea to tie September MOAS with the Smithsonian Affiliations program.  Access to the Smithsonian’s vast offerings is a perfect fit for MOAS’s educational goals.   We wanted to try something radical and different- something that had never been done before.  Thus came September with the Smithsonian. It proved to be all we had hoped for, and now is in its third year.

This year we included Smithsonian Affiliates from around the state to lend their expertise to content. This year also marks the 500th Anniversary of the discovery of Florida by Juan Ponce de Leon.  Florida has been celebrating with statewide initiative called Viva 500. Naturally, our theme for this year’s event focused on Florida’s history and natural history. The ideas revolve around having a Smithsonian related event every week during the month and on different days.  The first key to success was to contact our Affiliate National Outreach Manager Alma Douglas and discuss our theme. With Alma’s expertise, she was able to guide us to the resources and make contacts for our event.

Our first week started out with Dr. Valerie Paul, Director of the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce.  Her presentation, Exploring Florida’s Marine Environment, focused on the mission of the Smithsonian’s center and how it relates to Florida’s all-important ecosystems.  Dr. Paul highlighted the cutting edge research that the Smithsonian is conducting for medical research and the important issues in Florida’s fragile coral reef ecosystems.

Our second week, Chuck Meide, Underwater Archaeologist from St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, a fellow Smithsonian Affiliate, gave a presentation on the underwater archaeological excavation of a colonial era shipwreck.  It sank off the entrance of St. Augustine Inlet during the British loyalist evacuation of Charleston in 1782.

Dr. Kathleen Lyons in an interview with WROD's Cadillac Jack at the MOAS Natural History Festival. Photo courtesy MOAS.

Dr. Kathleen Lyons in an interview with WROD’s Cadillac Jack at the MOAS Natural History Festival. Photo courtesy MOAS.

September with the Smithsonian heated up in the third week of the month with our annual weekend event MOAS Natural History Festival.  It focused on the natural history of Florida and featured huge displays of fossils, shells, minerals and other specimens.  Community partners such as the local Audubon Society, local fossil club, and many other organizations made this community event a hit with families. Dr. Kathleen Lyons from the Department of Paleobiology at the National Museum of Natural History presented two lectures focusing on the legacy of the giant ice age animals that once dominated Florida landscape from Giant Ground Sloths to Mastodons.

Our month long series culminated with free admission during Smithsonian magazine Museum Day Live! and two performances by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.  It is the orchestra-in–residence at the National Museum of American History.  For the third year in a row, this world-class jazz band has traveled to Daytona Beach to play for sold-out crowds.  This year, the theme was Swinging with the Smithsonian featuring the Ella Fitzgerald Song Book.

Members of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. Photo courtesy MOAS.

Members of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. Photo courtesy MOAS.

The Jazz Masterworks Orchestra conducted a matinee jazz show for kids called Swingin’ with the Smithsonian Junior.  Young musicians from the community flocked to the performance to hear this great educational event. The musicians demonstrated their instruments, discussed the concept of jazz music, and focused the importance of playing an instrument no matter what age or level you are at.

The featured evening event was under the executive direction of Kennith Kimery and artistic director and principal saxophonist Charlie Young.   With special guest vocalist Lena Seikaly, it showcased the music of legendary songstress Ella Fitzgerald. The audience was treated to some of Ella’s best and most famous works.

The Museum of Arts and Sciences, Daytona Beach Florida has developed a long-standing relationship with the Smithsonian Affiliations program to bring resources to our community that would normally be out of reach.  The ability to bring in scholars, programs, and artifacts has allowed the MOAS to enrich our members and community and inspire lifelong learning.

Bring 101 Smithsonian Objects to your Neighborhood!

101objectsbookOk, so we can’t actually send 101 artifacts on the road all the time, but we can send Smithsonian Under Secretary for Art, History, and Culture Richard Kurin! Aided by a team of top Smithsonian curators and scholars, Richard’s new book The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects, is a literary exhibition of objects from across the Smithsonian that together offer a marvelous new perspective on the history of the United States.

After the success of his book tours in Affiliateland—Madcap May: Mistress of Myth, Men, and Hope and Hope Diamond: The Legendary Story of a Cursed Gem—Richard is looking forward to visiting Affiliates again and sharing these fascinating stories from American history.

Richard kicks off the Affiliate tour on Tuesday, November 12 at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. One of the unexpected selections in his book is a vial of Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine—which just happens to be on view at NMAJH in their Only In America gallery, on loan from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

KurinHope_web

Richard traveled to more than 10 Affiliates during his book tour for “Hope Diamond: The Legendary History of a Cursed Gem.”

Ranging from the earliest years of the pre-Columbian continent to the digital age, and from the American Revolution to Vietnam, each entry pairs the fascinating history surrounding each object with the story of its creation or discovery and the place it has come to occupy in our national memory. He sheds remarkable new light on objects we think we know well, from Lincoln’s hat to Dorothy’s ruby slippers and Julia Child’s kitchen, including the often astonishing tales of how each made its way into the collections of the Smithsonian. Other objects will be eye-opening new discoveries for many, but no less evocative of the most poignant and important moments of the American experience. Some objects, such as Harriet Tubman’s hymnal, Sitting Bull’s ledger, Cesar Chavez’s union jacket, and the Enola Gay bomber, tell difficult stories from our nation’s history, and inspired controversies when exhibited at the Smithsonian. Others, from George Washington’s sword to the space shuttle Discovery, celebrate the richness and vitality of the American spirit. In his words, each object comes to life, providing a near-tactile connection to American history.

Photo courtesy Smithsonian Institution.

Photo courtesy Smithsonian Institution.

Publishers Weekly called it a “humanistic approach to storytelling (he even includes digressions on things that didn’t make it in, like the ubiquitous stuffed animal named after the first President Roosevelt: the Teddy Bear) which makes for immersive, addictive reading.”

Beautifully designed and illustrated with color photographs throughout, The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects is a rich and fascinating journey through America’s collective memory, and a beautiful object in its own right.

Interested in booking Richard for a speaking engagement and book signing at your organization? Contact your National Outreach Manager. Availability is February 2014- June 2014.

Interested in stocking your shelves with a great gift? Pre-order here!

National Youth Summit: Freedom Summer

UPDATE: DOWNLOAD TEACHER RESOURCES FOR THE PROGRAM!

UPDATE! DEADLINE TO APPLY IS OCTOBER 15, 2013

Freedom Summer: National Youth Summit
freedomsummerA collaborative program at the National Museum of American History and Smithsonian Affiliates

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History (NMAH) announces the next grant opportunity for its popular National Youth Summit series. Smithsonian Affiliates are invited to apply to join the conversation during Freedom Summer on February 5, 2014.

Nearly 50 years ago, college students from across the country came together in Mississippi for a large scale, grassroots education and voter registration project known as Freedom Summer. Working in collaboration with PBS’s AMERICAN EXPERIENCE series and through the Smithsonian Affiliate network, NMAH will engage young people with the powerful story of this campaign in the strategies of the civil rights movement and their lessons for modern day activism.

Eight (8) Affiliates will be awarded $3,000* for implementation of a Regional Youth Summit.

To qualify, your organization must agree to the terms in the Expectation Form which include:

  • Maintain or have partnerships with local school districts to organize a regional conversation at the Affiliate organization in conjunction with the national webcast.
  • Have a facility which can host a discussion immediately following the webcast to include students and Freedom Summer movement veterans and scholars.
  • Have the technical capacity to watch the live webcast of the National Youth Summit at the Affiliate organization.

Freedom Summer: National Youth Summit
Students across the country will join together for a virtual National Youth Summit on Freedom Summer and civic engagement. At the NMAH in Washington, D.C., or at a location in Mississippi, civil rights activists and scholars will participate in a panel discussion about the 1964 youth-led effort to end the political disenfranchisement of African Americans in the Deep South, and discuss the role of young people in shaping America’s past and future. Students will be invited to submit questions for the panel online.  Participating students will be encouraged to think of themselves as makers of history and asked to consider their ability to be active and engaged citizens. The National Youth Summit webcast will be preserved on the NMAH website, enabling students and teachers to continue to explore this important topic.

Regional Youth Summit at Affiliate organizations
Over the past fourteen years, the Smithsonian has reached audiences nationwide through its partnership with more than 175 Affiliate museums and educational and cultural institutions. Eight (8) Smithsonian Affiliates will work with their local high schools to organize a Regional Youth Summit in conjunction with the webcast of the National Youth Summit. Immediately following a live viewing of the National Youth Summit webcast, the Affiliate organization will host a discussion between Freedom Summer movement veterans, scholars, and young people. In preparation, participating schools will receive screening copies of The American Experience film Freedom Summer, as well as a Conversation Kit to support classroom discussion and to encourage students to use the lessons of history to make a more humane future.

How to apply: (Note:Applying for the grant is not mandatory to participate in the program. Affiliates are encouraged to include the event in their programming even if a grant is not received)

  1. Fill out the Application Form
  2. Sign the Expectation Form
  3. Freedom Summer FAQs

Questions? Contact Aaron Glavas, Smithsonian Affiliations National Outreach Manager or Elizabeth Bugbee, Smithsonian Affiliations External Affairs Coordinator.

**Final award based on proposed itemized budget.

 

Calling All Affiliates!

Smithsonian Affiliations regularly collaborates with colleagues to engage Affiliate partners in projects throughout the Institution.  Here’s a look at a few current projects, and opportunities for the future. Let us know if you are interested in learning more about any of these! 

immigrationSmithsonian Immigration/Migration Initiative (SIMI)

  • In January 2012, eight Affiliate representatives served on the advisory committee for this project. 
  • In the summer 2012, the Affiliations office, collaborating with SIMI and central Smithsonian Education, received a grant to conduct a feasibility study of the Affiliate network.  A central goal of this initiative is to engage youth in digital, self-documentary projects about their experiences with immigration and migration.  The feasibility study is designed to identify those Affiliates who have both an interest in this topic and the youth target audience, as well as the capacity to collaborate in the development of digital products for possible exhibition in years to come.  In addition to a survey to be sent in January 2013, the feasibility study includes support for select focus groups, and a pilot program at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.
  • On a parallel track, colleagues in the Smithsonian EdLab are working with teachers to design mission-based challenges that link the themes of SIMI to school curricula.  Working with Affiliate educators at the International Museum of Arts and Sciences in McAllen, Texas, to test a pilot model of the program, EdLab colleagues are interested in expanding the project to work with other Affiliates.  They will be leading a workshop on this topic at the Affiliations Annual Conference, June 10-12, 2013. 

Young Historians, Living Histories

  • This is an educational initiative to engage underserved youth in Asian Pacific American communities. Young Historians, Living Histories is funded by the Smithsonian’s Youth Access Grant program.  The program is led by the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center, in partnership with Smithsonian Affiliations.  The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) and Smithsonian staff will prepare comprehensive instructional programs and curriculum guides that will be used to train educators to implement the youth workshops.  Youth will learn a variety of 21st century skills, methods of community outreach, digital storytelling and more to explore, contextualize, and deepen their understanding of Asian Pacific American history and culture while learning new technologies.  Nine Affiliate partners will be selected to participate in helping to reach the target youth audience, as well as bring together critical community partners to support the program.   

    Six Affiliates and their community partners kick off the Places of Invention project with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. Photo: National Museum of American History

    Staff from six Affiliates and their community partners kick off the Places of Invention project at a day-long workshop with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. Photo: National Museum of American History

Places of Invention (POI)

  • Six Affiliates are currently serving as partners in the Places of Invention project, an initiative of the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.  Supported by a major grant from NSF, Places of Invention Affiliate partners are conducting extensive community research, the products of which will be shared in an interactive map in a 2015 exhibition at the National Museum of American History. 
  • The POI team has funds to train 20 more Affiliates to document their communities, and will be sharing their work at the Affiliations Annual Conference, June 10-12, 2013.  nys

National Youth Summits

  • In collaboration with the National Museum of American History, Affiliates have hosted several Youth Summits, wherein students from across the country watch a live webast program in D.C., and then continue the discussion with experts in their home communities.  The Freedom Rides National Youth Summit featured five Affiliate partners in February 2011; and the Dust Bowl National Youth Summit partnered with nine Affiliates in October 2012.
  • More National Youth Summits are being planned for the future, with Affiliate participation.  A program on Abolition is set to take placeon February 11, 2013; Latino history in America in fall 2013; and one commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act in 2014. 

Let’s Do History tour

  • This is a national outreach program that brings the National Museum of American History’s resources and strategies to communities nationwide.  Designed to energize and support K-12 social studies teachers, the program introduces them to exciting and effective techniques, powerful online tools, and standards-based content they can use in their classrooms.  In each targeted city, Smithsonian colleagues work with Affiliate educators to highlight local resources. 
  • In 2012, Affiliates in Alabama, Texas, South Dakota, and Tennessee took part in presenting their own educational resources.
  • In the coming years, the National Museum of American History is looking at cities in Hawaii, Louisiana, California, Washington, and Oklahoma. 

    Courtesy Pinhead Institute.

    Courtesy Pinhead Institute.

Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos

  • Thirteen Affiliates took part in the YCCC program, a collaboration with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.  The goal of the program is to teach youth participants to control robotic telescopes over the internet.  Participants learned to take their own astronomy images of the universe. Images created have been displayed in astrophotography exhibitions featuring their unique images, captions, poems, and comparisons to images taken by NASA’s space-based observatories. The program promotes increased interest, awareness, and knowledge of astronomy content, understanding of technology and proficiency in real scientific research skills.  Participating Affliates will be offering a second round of astrophotography workshops in 2013. 

One Giant Leap

  • An initiative of the National Air and Space Museum, the pending proposal to NSF is designed to create mentoring opportunities for African American students interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.  Affiliate participation will include hosting videoconference sessions with scientists from NASA and the Smithsonian, and supporting the local mentoring partners.

History Colorado Center Hosts Its First Smithsonian National Youth Summit

Special thanks for this guest post to Liz Cook, Environmental Educator at History Colorado.

We were thrilled that the History Colorado Center was to be selected as one of the nine Smithsonian Affiliate sites to participate in the National Youth Summit: Dust Bowl on October 17, 2012.  Over 150 high school and middle school students from around Colorado participated, including students from western Colorado, Denver, and the Colorado Springs’ neighborhoods that were impacted by this summer’s Waldo Canyon Fire.  Students watched the live broadcast from the National Museum of American History, which included insights from Dust Bowl survivor Cal Crabill, who grew up near Holly, on the plains of eastern Colorado.  In the second half of the Youth Summit, presenters made connections between current environmental issues in Colorado and the lessons of the Dust Bowl, including hydraulic fracturing, wildfire, climate change and water. Media partner Rocky Mountain PBS taped the presentations, which will be available online for future use by students and teachers.  The Youth Summit was a perfect opportunity for us to explore these topics, as our “Living West” exhibition (opening in 2013) will focus on how natural systems have impacted human history and how human choices have impacted the environment in Colorado, and will include stories of the Dust Bowl in southeastern Colorado, and current issues in our state.  

Schools Attending

  • Roaring Fork High School, Carbondale, CO (Garfield County Libraries)-10 students
  • Grand Valley High School, Parachute, CO (Garfield County Libraries)-10 students
  • Dora Moore School, Denver Public Schools, Denver-87 students
  • George Washington High School, Denver Public Schools-15 students
  • Coronado High School, Colorado Springs School District 11- 17 students 

Local Youth Summit Presentations

  • “Colorado’s Water Future”
    Kristin Maharg, Program Manager, Colorado Foundation for Water Education 
  • “Catastrophic Wildfires in Colorado”  
    Einar Jensen, Life Safety Educator South Metro Fire Rescue Authority
  • Hydraulic Fracturing: Folly or Fortune?
    Adrianne Kroepsch, Graduate Research Assistant, Center of the American West, and Doctoral Student, Environmental Studies, University of Colorado
  • “Snowpack in the Rocky Mountains”
    Ryan Vachon, Director at Earth Initiatives and affiliate with INSTAAR (Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado)

The National Museum of American History partnered with the National Endowment for the Humanities, WETA television, and Smithsonian Affiliations to present the National Youth Summit on the Dust Bowl. More information on upcoming National Youth Summits at http://americanhistory.si.edu/nys

the Smithsonian in Miami Science Museum’s neighborhood

Special thanks to Lindsay Bartholomew, Science Curator at the Miami Science Museum, for allowing us to repost these amazing blogs.

With 175 Smithsonian Affiliates in 40 states, Panama and Puerto Rico, there is always an opportunity for people to engage with the Smithsonian in their own communities. Here’s an example of one Affiliate’s recent collaborations with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, National Museum of American History, and Smithsonian Magazine. Are you an Affiliate interested in guest blogging or seeing your collaborations posted here? Contact Elizabeth Bugbee for more information.

Smithsonian Affiliations- Opportunities Galore!
The Smithsonian is a name recognized all over the world. Internationally, if people know one museum in the US, it’s most likely the Smithsonian. But through Smithsonian Affiliations, museums all over the country can partner in efforts to share science, art, and history with everyone. The Miami Science Museum is a proud Affiliate member, and recently has taken advantage of several unique opportunities made available by the Smithsonian. Read more…

Students filled the Miami Science Museum theater for the town hall meeting to talk to local environmental experts for the National Youth Summit: Dust Bowl. Photo credit- Miami Science Museum.

The Dust Bowl – Man and Nature, Cause and Effect
The Miami Science Museum is one of only 10 museums nationwide that was selected to participate in the Smithsonian’s National Youth Summit on October 17th.  The focus of this summit was contemporary environmental issues and the legacy (as well as lessons learned) from the Dust Bowl period in the 1930s. During this time, the boom of wheat farming (sometimes called the “great plow-up”) brought on a 10 year drought, showing that human activities can cause large scale environmental effects. Students from around the country participated in the summit via video/web conferencing, and had the opportunity to view clips from Ken Burns’ recently released “The Dust Bowl” documentary. They discussed what they learned from the Dust Bowl and shared ideas on how they can be protectors of their environments.  The overarching theme of the event was to explore how to better understand the complexity of environmental issues and to learn what people can do today to avoid (or lessen) other environmental crises. Read more…

Baby’s First Museum
It’s not something normally recounted in baby albums, but as you read this story, you may start to wonder … “Why not?” You always hear about baby’s first words, first steps, first laugh – but what about baby’s first museum? Recently the Museum received a lovely email from a family who brought their 3 month old son to our Museum, on a free-admission day sponsored by Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day Live. They were not sure how much he would even react to the trip. But as it turns out, baby loved the Museum just as much as mommy did when she came here as a child. This is the kind of story that makes our work at the Museum all the more worthwhile…Read more…

Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos
We’ve all seen the amazing images from the Hubble Space Telescope. The details in the colors and swirling patterns are not just beautiful – they also tell a story about what is happening there. Is that cloud of gas and dust a nursery for newborn stars? Are these massive bubbles of gas that have exploded from a supernova? And perhaps most importantly, who creates these images, and how? Read more…  And read even more in the YCCC blog series from Pinhead Institute, an Affiliate in Telluride, Colo., here.


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