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affiliates in the news

Congratulations to these Affiliates making headlines!

National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Jewish history museum set to open near historic Philadelphia sites…READ MORE
New National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia Celebrates Jewish Life…READ MORE 
New Philadelphia museum celebrates Jewish life…READ MORE
New museum traces accomplishments of American Jews…READ MORE 
Jewish Museum Completes New Home in Philadelphia…READ MORE
American Jewish History Museum To Open…WATCH VIDEO
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Identity…READ MORE
Museum shows view of American history through Jewish lens…READ MORE
A Walking Tour Through Time…READ MORE
Jews You Can Use…READ MORE
A People’s History…READ MORE

Museum of American Finance (New York, New York)
Monopoly’s diamond year…READ MORE 

Poverty Point State Historic Site (Louisiana)
Poverty Point accepted as Smithsonian Affiliate…READ MORE 

Rubin Museum of Art (New York, New York)
Buddhism’s Influence on Contemporary Artists Explored by the Rubin Museum of Art…READ MORE
The Rich, Detailed Fullness Found in Empty
…READ MORE 

Historical cottage at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center (Staten Island, New York)
Staten Island gem: A guide to the new Snug Harbor Cultural Center…READ MORE

The Museum of Flight (Seattle, Washington)
Museum Of Flight Names New President And CEO…READ MORE 

Heard Museum (Phoenix, Arizona)
Heard Museum receives grant from local tribe…READ MORE
Grant allows more students to visit Heard Museum…READ MORE 

Plimoth Plantation

Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, Massachusetts)
Thanksgiving Virtual Field Trip Brings More than a Million Students Nationwide to Plimoth Plantation on November 16, 2010…READ MORE  
Debunking Thanksgiving Myths at Plimoth Plantation…READ MORE
Plimoth Plantation: A step back in time…READ MORE

coming up in affiliateland in november 2010

November is another busy month in Affiliateland!

ILLINOIS
Sousa and His League of Players: America’s Music and the Golden Age of Baseball opens at the Sousa Archives at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in Champaign, 11.1.

NEW YORK:
The Smithsonian American Art Museum loans a 1966 Charmion von Wiegand painting to the Rubin Museum of Art, in New York, 11.5. 

WASHINGTON:
The Museum of History and Industry will announce their Affiliation at an event with Smithsonian Regent Patty Stonesifer, in Seattle, 11.5. 

NORTH CAROLINA:
David Bohaska, collections manager in the Department of Paleobiology at the National Museum of Natural History will participate in the annual Fossil Festival at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, in Raleigh, 11.6. 

MISSISSIPPI:
The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art will host a Grand Opening of their new museum  and will unveil “Blackberry Woman,” a Richmond Barthe bronze sculpture, on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, in Biloxi, 11.6.

PENNSYLVANIA:
The National Museum of American Jewish History hosts a Grand Opening Weekend showcasing several Smithsonian loans, in Philadelphia, 11.12-14. 

PUERTO RICO
Three José Campeche paintings travel for the first time from the Smithsonian American Art Museum to the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, in San Juan, 11.18. 

FLORIDA:
Smithsonian Secretary, G. Wayne Clough, will give a public lecture at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University, in Miami, 11.19. 

CALIFORNIA:
The SITES’ exhibition, Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964 will open at the Sonoma County Museum, in Santa Rosa, 11.20. 

Kentucky welcomes iconic Lexington home again

Special thanks to Alma Douglas, Smithsonian Affiliations National Outreach Manager, for this post.

It took several years of negotiations to determine the feasibility of loaning a 135 year-old skeleton of a horse to the International Museum of the Horse in Lexington, KY, but it finally happened in August. 

Thomas J. Scott, Portrait of Lexington, 1888, oil on canvas mounted on fiberboard, sight 24 1/8 x 34 3/8 in. (61.3 x 87.4 cm.). Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David K. Anderson, Martha Jackson Memorial Collection. This portrait is on view at the Headley-Whitney Museum, another Smithsonian Affiliate in Lexington, KY.

Lexington, a beautiful bay, was one of America’s and some would say one of the world’s greatest racing champions. He was born in 1850 as Darley and renamed in 1853.  He won six races out of seven in addition to what was considered to be the greatest match race of the 19th century.  Lexington was also raced against the clock to produce a speed record that held for over 20 years — four miles in seven minutes, 19 ¾ seconds.  Forced to retire because he was going blind, Lexington was a leading sire who produced a record number of champions over the course of 16 years.  After his death, Lexington’s bones were donated to the Smithsonian and placed on exhibit. 

In 1998, Carlene Stephens, a curator at the National Museum of American History, related the significance of horse racing, where races are won by tenths of seconds, to the subject of time while working on the Timex sponsored “On Time” exhibition.  Lexington was featured in the exhibition.  When “On Time” was de-installed, the skeleton went back into storage.   

Interest was rekindled in bringing Lexington back to Kentucky by William Cooke, Executive Director of the International Museum of the Horse. Kudos to the team, headed by Linda Gordon, Collections Manager, Department of Mammals, National Museum of Natural History; Ed Ryan, Assistant Registrar and Carol Slatick, Outgoing Loans Coordinator, National Museum of American History, who worked seamlessly together to coordinate the loan. 

Lexington's skeleton, fully assembled, at the International Museum of the Horse. Photo by James Shambhu.

Lexington stands as an iconic symbol for Bluegrass Country.  His image is found throughout Lexington, KY in celebration of his greatness.  Packed and crated gently for the long ride, the skeleton is now on display at the International Museum of the Horse, along with a full view of his portrait.  As thousands of horse enthusiasts from across the country and around the world visit Kentucky for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, Lexington will be “in the house.”

September 25 is Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day

Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day

On Saturday, September 25, 2010, Smithsonian Affiliates across the country will participate in the sixth annual Museum Day, presented by Toyota on behalf of the redesigned 2011 Avalon.  More than 90 Smithsonian Affiliates will open their doors free of charge to all visitors who download the Museum Day Ticket from Smithsonian.com. Find a participating Affiliate in your neighborhood! 

And check out the Around the Mall blog to learn where you can find Smithsonian artifacts at an Affiliate near you during Museum Day.

Here’s a sample of what a few Affiliates are doing to bring the Smithsonian to their neighborhoods on Museum Day: 

Greensboro Historical Museum (Greensboro, North Carolina) will host The Smithsonian Associates Discovery Theater’s traveling show, African Roots, Latino Soul, a vibrant play that explores what it means to grow up in the American melting pot. Filled with laughs and surprises, and written with the Young Playwrights’ Theater, the play is a look into the triumphs of today’s multicultural kids. There will be two performances at the museum on Museum Day. The performance will highlight their new permanent exhibition, Voices of a City, which emphasizes the expression of voice and their multicultural local story.  

Rayna Green, curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History (NMAH), will give a series of talks at two Affiliates over the weekend. At The Silo at Hunt Hill Farm Trust (New Milford, Connecticut) on Friday, September 24, she’ll discuss her experiences as co-curator of the Julia Child exhibition at NMAH, followed by a reception featuring some of Child’s favorite desserts, prepared by The Silo Cooking School. Next, Rayna travels to The Long Island Museum of American Art, History & Carriages (Stony Brook, New York) for an evening “Dinner with Julia” event on Saturday, September 25. She’ll speak about Julia Child’s Kitchen at the Smithsonian and its acquisition.  On Sunday, September 26, to complement their exhibition of America’s Kitchens, organized by the New England Historical Association, she’ll discuss her experience with the Smithsonian’s Julia’s Kitchen exhibition during a public lecture on the social history of kitchens. 

Virginia Museum of Natural History (Martinsville, Virginia) will be presenting a series of special Smithsonian films in the Walker Lecture Hall on Museum Day. The programs to be shown are part of the Stories from the Vaults series presented by Smithsonian Networks. In the series, host Tom Cavanagh (“Ed”) takes you on an entertaining insider’s tour of the private rooms, high-tech vaults, and cutting edge labs of the Smithsonian Institution, revealing some of the amazing artifacts and rarely seen treasures that visitors can’t see. 

Spacecraft Model

Challenger Space Center (Peoria, Arizona) opens their new exhibition, An Astronaut’s Life: Articles Flown In Space, including 23 items on loan from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Nineteen of the artifacts have flown in space on Gemini 8, Skylab 2, and several STS (Shuttle) missions. The artifacts tell the story of how astronauts live in space. Included are personal hygiene items such as a Gemini Survival Kit, a washcloth from the first Space Shuttle, STS-1 Columbia, clothing and bio-belt worn on Skylab 2 by astronaut Paul Weitz, space food from STS-27 Atlantis, and an actual heat shield fragment from Gemini 8 which carried astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott into orbit on March 16, 1966.  Photo: Spacecraft Model, Gemini. Courtesy National Air & Space Museum. Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Museum Day 2010 is poised to be the largest to date, outdoing last year’s record-breaking event.  Over 300,000 museum-goers and 1,300 venues in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico participated in Museum Day 2009. Last year, two million visitors logged on to Museum Day’s website to learn more about the program.

affiliates in the news: week of September 13

Congratulations to these Affiliates making headlines this week! 

RUSS KENDALL | BELLINGHAM HERALD - Curtis Mahle, left, exhibit preparator and Scott Wallin, exhibition designer, hang one of the 55 pieces of art loaned to Whatcom Museum by the Smithsonian that make up the exhibition "1934: A New Deal for Artists."

Whatcom Museum of History and Art (Bellingham, WA)
First Smithsonian exhibit at Whatcom Museum showcases Depression-era art…READ MORE

National Jazz Museum in Harlem (New York, NY)
Breaking News from the 30’s Jazz World- Loren Schoenberg of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem joined us to discuss the newly uncovered “Savory Collection”…READ MORE

Durham Museum (Omaha, NE)
Get the “Dirt” on Soil this Fall at Omaha’s Durham Museum…READ MORE

The Museum of Flight (Seattle, WA)
Checking Out the Museum of Flight in Seattle…READ MORE 

Anniston Museum of Natural History (Anniston, AL)
‘I’m never bored’: Naturalist Dan Spaulding always has an interesting chore or mission…READ MORE

Julia's kitchen

Julia Child's kitchen kitchen at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, Behring Center.

Hunt Hill Farm Trust (New Milford, CT)
Bon Appétit! Julia Child’s Kitchen Topic of Silo Talk- The great Julia Child (1912-2004) will forever be remembered for introducing French cuisine and cooking techniques to the mainstream American publicREAD MORE

eric stanley: summer at the smithsonian

We invited our recent Smithsonian Affiliate interns and visiting professionals to blog about their experiences in our Summer at the Smithsonian series. Below, Eric Stanley, curator of exhibitions and collections at Sonoma County Museum (Santa Rosa, CA), describes his spring residency at the Smithsonian. Special thanks to Eric Stanley for this post.

Eric meeting with Peter Liebhold and other curators at NMAH to discuss the "Bittersweet Harvest" exhibition

Seeking insights into the process of creating history exhibitions, I spent two weeks in March at the National Museum of American History (NMAH) through the Smithsonian Affiliations Visiting Professionals Program. While I was expecting exposure to a select few elements of the process, it was my great pleasure to be introduced to many facets of creating exhibitions, as well as some other management and collections issues at NMAH. During the course of my program, I met over thirty people at the Smithsonian, mainly at American History, and was able to learn something from each of them. The time I spent with those individuals, each one knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and warmly receptive of my presence, was a tremendous benefit to me and my institution.

Early in my program, I met with Paula Johnson, Curator in the Division of Work and Industry. Our conversation focused mainly on the exhibition On the Water. She shared with me the various stages of exhibition conception and design; fundraising; label writing; artifact selection; which elements were most successful and why; and many other topics. As the Sonoma County Museum moves into the process of creating larger, longer term exhibitions, the exposure to Paula’s approach was useful.

Eric meets with Peter Liebhold and Steve Velasquez at NMAH.

Two particular appointments helped me appreciate the craftsmanship, planning and effort involved in the physical production of exhibition cases, graphics and other components. I met with Omar Wynn, Director of the Office of Exhibits Production at NMAH and toured the museum’s production areas. I also had the opportunity to see Omar and his staff at work in the First Ladies’ gallery in preparation for receiving and installing Michelle Obama’s gown. His outlook on the relationship between his production staff and the curators, and his intense commitment to uphold his standards was thought provoking and inspiring. Similarly, I had the unusual opportunity to tour the Office of Exhibits Central and met with graphic designers, curators, collections managers, and production people associated with the facility.

One of the most relevant and insightful meetings I had was with Nigel Briggs, Exhibit Designer. The core goal of my program was to gain some knowledge of contemporary exhibition design standards and aesthetics, which is a challenging and complex question. History exhibitions throughout the country take a remarkably diverse approach, so defining one standard is nearly impossible. However, Nigel provided me some very practical insights and discussed the “look” of a number of exhibitions and what made them appear dated or contemporary. My only regret was not being able to spend a little more time in conversation with him.

Finally, I had an exceptionally productive meeting with the team who created the Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964 exhibition.  Since the Sonoma County Museum is taking this SITES exhibition in November, it was an enormous benefit to be able to interact with the people who actually created the exhibition. I had a chance to discuss their approach to the collection and oral histories from former braceros; we are planning to employ a similar approach to collect bracero oral histories locally. We also recently were awarded a SITES grant to support our programming for Bittersweet Harvest.

Eric was presented with a certificate of award from Affiliations Director Harold Closter and NMAH Affiliations Program Manager Rosemary Phillips.

There were other, very productive meetings that I did not mention here. The broad overview that I was provided through my program was an undeniably valuable experience and afforded me an unusual, insider’s glimpse of one of the finest history museums around. I could not have been more pleased with the support and encouragement I received from Smithsonian Affiliations staff and from the Affiliations Program Managers at NMAH. My participation in the Visiting Professionals Program is an experience I will never forget.

Next in the series: Annette Shumway- Affiliations Intern Partner from the Frost Art Museum at Florida International University (Miami, FL).