Tag Archive for: civil war

coming up in Affiliateland in August 2014

The lazy end of summer is seeing no slowdown of activity in Affiliateland.  Get out there and experience some terrific Smithsonian programs in your neighborhood!

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum hosts its grand opening weekend with concerts, contests, exhibits and more in Bristol, 8.1-3.

Union Station will open a satellite Spark!Lab, developed by the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, in Kansas City, 8.5.

History Miami opens SITES American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music exhibition in Miami, 8.6.

Celia Cruz, Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan, some of the artists featured in the American Sabor exhibit.

Celia Cruz, Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan, some of the artists featured in the American Sabor exhibit.

Hunt Hill Farm hosts two public programs by photography curator Shannon Perich from the National Museum of American History, who will discuss photography during the Civil War, and sign copies of the Smithsonian Civil War: Inside the National Collections publication, in New Milford, 8.10

The Museum of History and Industry hosts Innoskate, a day-long celebration of skateboarding innovations, including demonstrations, clinics, and talks by skateboard artists in Seattle, 8.16.

The South Carolina State Museum will open Windows to New Worlds, a newly-expanded complex that includes a planetarium and 4-D theater in Columbia, 8.16.



Antje Neumann, conservator at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will participate in Pittsburgh’s Hidden Treasures at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, 8.17.

Robbie Davis, Project Director for the Smithsonian’s Museums on Main Street will serve as a juror for Annmarie Garden‘s upcoming exhibition Feast Your Eyes: Food as Art in Solomons, 8.20.


The U.S. Space and Rocket Center opens SITES Black Wings: American Dreams of Flight exhibition in Huntsville, 8.24.

The Kenosha Public Museum hosts a lecture on Mr. Lincoln’s Air Force: Civil War Ballooning on Both Sides of the Line by National Air and Space Museum curator Dr. Tom Crouch in Kenosha, 8.26.



new! Civil War booksigning opportunity


One-of-a-kind artifacts from 12 Smithsonian museums tell unique stories of the Civil War

Smithsonian Books and Smithsonian Affiliations are teaming up to offer Smithsonian Affiliates a special lecture program and book signing event opportunity with the some of the authors (subject to availability) of Smithsonian Civil War: Inside the National Collection. It is a truly unique narrative crafted around one-of-a kind, famous, and previously unseen Civil War relics handpicked from twelve Smithsonian museums and archives. Through spellbinding narrative and stunning visuals, 550 treasures transform from objects into potent reminders of this devastating period in American history. Illuminating the full scope of the political, military, social, and cultural climate of the era, Smithsonian Civil War is history as only the Smithsonian can tell it.

Event Details:
Host museum agrees to cover lodging, travel, and meals for Smithsonian curator(s).
– Autographs are only allowed for copies of Smithsonian Civil War: Inside the National Collection purchased at the event.
– Smithsonian staff will work with Affiliates to identify available speakers on a broad range of topics, and will provide a suggested outline if desired.
– Smithsonian Curators agree to do local/regional media to promote event.
– The sale date is October 29, 2013, so events should be scheduled thereafter.

Please call your National Outreach Manager for more information.



Museums’ Futures Rely on Relevance

Special thanks to Ellen Rosenthal, President and CEO at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Fishers, Indiana, for this guest post.

Around 500 BCE the legendary Greek philosopher Heraclitus declared that the only constant is change. Imagine what he would say today. 

For more than a quarter century museums have been a central part of my life (Conner Prairie Interactive History Park since 1999).  It’s safe to say that I expected the world to change during my career, but at this rate?  In retrospect, I was clueless. 

Entering Dupont, part of the 1863 Civil War Journey at Conner Prairie. Photo courtesy Conner Prairie.

We museum leaders find ourselves in the midst of a digital revolution, globalization, new discoveries in the way people learn and retain information, the manner(s) in which information is conveyed,  economic challenges (for us and for our guests), and attention spans that seem to shrink with the launch of every new Smartphone app.  

So what are we to do with this tsunami of challenges facing our industry if we are to avoid being relegated to another heap within history?   

Museums must not only find ways to engage today’s sophisticated and restless consumers, but we must recognize a shared need to remain relevant – to keepup with change.  My 20-year-old son once challenged me, “Why do I need to go to Conner Prairie when I can experience time-travel on my laptop?” Conner Prairie has an answer. 

The Depot in the 1863 Civil War Journey at Conner Prairie. Photo courtesy Conner Prairie.

The shared purpose that we embrace at Conner Prairie is to create intergenerational learning “exhibits” that pique curiosity, generate positive attitudes toward learning and encourage grandparents, parents, teachers and children to share experiences that spark conversation. 

Although there are no long-term studies to prove the importance of museums to educational attainment, research on the summer learning gap shows that underprivileged students fall behind their middle-class classmates, because they do not visit museums or have other out-of-school learning experiences over the summer. There is an important role for museums to play in sustaining America’s educational competitiveness.  

Conner Prairie seeks to make it easier for entire families of all income levels to share learning experiences by first, making those experiences exciting enough to leave home for, and by second, offering reduced admission based on need through the Access Program, which offers $1 admission to any Hoosier family on public assistance. 

A Raided Warehouse in the 1863 Civil War Journey at Conner Prairie. Photo courtesy Conner Prairie.

We understand that if we, as a contemporary museum, are to remain relevant and at least within a thoroughbred’s length of change we must do the following: 

  1. Look outside the museum field for models.
    Consider who or what engages all family members regardless of age.  Movie maker Pixar is an example, not in terms of costs, but in the way it ingeniously creates simultaneous plot lines – one that moves and amuses adults, another that speaks to kids.
  2. Create experience. In our recent Civil War Journey experience we used technology but not for technology’s sake. As our consultants put it: “It isn’t the whiz-bang that matters, it’s the story the whiz-bang is trying to bring to life.”
  3. Program for diverse audiences. If you want to engage diverse multi-generational audiences, make sure that everyone sees someone with whom they can identify. The stars of our Civil War  exhibit are a 16-year-old girl; an 18-year-old escaped slave and a 12-year-old message boy. 

Seventy-seven years after our founding we continue to discover that our founder Eli Lilly had at least part of the answer to our museum-industry dilemma: “nothing is done that cannot be done better.”  Keep an eye on the way lives are changing and a loose grip on tradition and relevance will take care of itself.

Ellen M. Rosenthal – President and CEO
Conner Prairie Interactive  History Park
Fishers, Indiana
(317) 776.6000

Civil War reenactors from throughout the Midwest portrayed Morgan’s Raiders during the creation of Conner Prairie’s new 1863 Civil War Journey: Raid on Indiana. © Conner Prairie

Affiliates invited to share 150th Civil War activities via Smithsonian social media

The General Locomotive at the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History (Kennesaw, GA). Photo © Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History.

In April 1862, as train passengers and crews were eating breakfast in Big Shanty (modern Kennesaw, Georgia), a band of Union Civil War spies led by James J. Andrews stole the General locomotive from under the watchful eyes of guards at nearby Confederate Camp McDonald. Destroying telegraph wires and uprooting tracks in their escape north, the raiders would leave a path of destruction to the Western & Atlantic Railroad through the North Georgia Mountains. Conductor William Fuller and Confederates pursued “Andrews Raiders” using three different locomotives and caught them outside Chattanooga, Tennessee. Today, visitors to the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Kennesaw, Georgia, can follow in the daring footsteps of William Fuller as he chases “Andrews Raiders” through the mountains, see the General locomotive itself, and participate in upcoming commemorative events.  


Smithsonian Affiliates across the U.S. are hosting events, exhibitions and highlighting artifacts like the General locomotive in Kennesaw, GA, throughout the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. We’re inviting all Affiliates to promote their artifacts, blog, online exhibitions, upcoming exhibitions, events and anything related to the Civil War 150th anniversary so they can be highlighted on the Smithsonian Civil War 150 Facebook page and the Affiliate museum listed on the Smithsonian’s Civil War 150 website. 


To have your Affiliate highlighted:

  • Submit your events, exhibitions, blog posts, and artifacts to Elizabeth Bugbee
  • Send your own Facebook and Twitter info so we can “like” or “follow” your page
  • Send “This Day in Civil War History” stories from your community, highlight a Civil War expert from your neighborhood, talk about an artifact in your collection. the possibilities are limitless!
  • We’d love to go year-by-year, starting with 1861, but don’t let that stop you from submitting any information. We want to hear about anything Civil War-related at your organization!  

Smithsonian Affiliates are an important educational resource for visitors who are unable to travel to Washington, D.C., for commemorative events at the Smithsonian.  Let’s connect Civil War enthusiasts, historians, and fans of the Smithsonian to the resources available in Affiliate neighborhoods! 

Affiliates featured on the Smithsonian’s Civil War 150 website: (not listed? Email Elizabeth Bugbee)

Historic Arkansas Museum (Little Rock, AR)
Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History (Kennesaw, GA)
Conner Prairie (Fishers, IN)
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum (Baltimore, MD)
Lowell National Historical Park (Lowell, MA)
American Textile History Museum (Lowell, MA)
North Carolina Museum of History (Raleigh, NC)
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati, OH)
Oklahoma Historical Society (Oklahoma City, OK)
National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia, PA)
The National Civil War Museum (Harrisburg, PA)
The Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
South Carolina State Museum (Columbia, SC)
American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar (Richmond, VA)
Kenosha Public Museum (Kenosha, WI) 

Morgan's Raiders

Civil War reenactors from throughout the Midwest portrayed Morgan’s Raiders during the creation of Conner Prairie’s new "1863 Civil War Journey: Raid on Indiana."

Don’t forget to “like” the Smithsonian Civil War 150 Facebook page!

Smithsonian Affiliates in the news!

This week has been busy in Affiliateland. From World Historic Site nominations to Civil War anniversary events, to welcoming new Affiliates, it’s not only the temperature that’s on fire this week!

"Crochet Coral and Anemone Garden" with sea slug by Marianne Midelburg. Photos © The IFF by Alyssa Gorelick.

Putnam Museum of History and Natural Science (Davenport, IA)Smithsonian Community Coral Reef to live on in Davenport, Iowa. READ MORE 

Rubin Museum of Art (New York, NY)
It is a rare and wonderful day when The Observer can share not one but two news items from the sometimes-sleepy world of Tibetan art. READ MORE 

With the support of a three-year, $270,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, Dr. David Jackson–the world’s foremost scholar of Tibetan Buddhist painting and a consulting curator for the Rubin Museum–will publish a new series of exhibition catalogues on Tibetan thangka paintings drawn primarily from the museum’s collection. READ MORE 

Poverty Point State Historic Site (Baton Rouge, LA)
Louisiana is working with the federal government to put the Poverty Point State Historic Site in northeast Louisiana on the World Heritage Site list. READ MORE 

Prehistoric earthworks of Poverty Point

The prehistoric earthworks of Poverty Point in Louisiana and a collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings across the United States will be nominated by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for the U.N. World Heritage List. READ MORE 

Poverty Point Nominated for World Heritage List. READ MORE 

HistoryMiami (Miami, FL)
One of Miami-Dade County’s oldest cultural institutions, has been accepted as a Smithsonian Affiliate. READ MORE 

HistoryMiami Becomes an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, Claudine Brown, Smithsonian Institution’s Assistant Secretary for Education and Access, to present HistoryMiami with Certificate of Affiliation. READ MORE 

Mark the occasion as HistoryMiami becomes a Smithsonian Affiliate. READ MORE 

Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (Spokane, WA)
Forrest B. Rodgers has been appointed the new executive director of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. READ MORE 

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
History center helps antique owners put a price on the past. READ MORE 

Civil War 150th Anniversary:

National Civil War Museum (Harrisburg, PA)
Without stars or bars, blue and gray flags dot the entrance to the National Civil War Museum – each representing a soldier killed in a battle the Confederates called Manassas and the North called Bull Run. READ MORE

To mark the 150th anniversary of the battle of Bull Run — the first major battle of the Civil War — The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg set out blue and gray flags to honor all those soldiers killed in action. READ MORE 

Greensboro Historical Museum (Greensboro, NC)
Combining state-of-the-art 3-D technology with American history, the Greensboro Historical Museum will offer a special program of some 170 images of President Lincoln and the Civil War era. READ MORE 

Conner Prairie (Fishers, IN)
The magic of technology combines with the authenticity of characters in an outdoor historical setting to provide a truly unique experience. READ MORE 

Smithsonian Affiliations Reciprocal Membership Program

Here’s a great deal you may already have access to: Paying for membership to one museum can actually mean free entry into several museums across the country. READ MORE

affiliates in the news: week of september 20

Congratulations to these Affiliates making headlines this week!

Museum of American Finance (New York, NY)
The Museum of American Finance will unveil the display of an 18-karat solid gold Monopoly set covered with hundreds of precious gemstones, on loan from the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History. READ MORE

Museum of American Finance To Display Jeweled Monopoly Set and Host Tournament. READ MORE

Polk Museum of Art (Lakeland, FL)
Polk Museum of Art is pleased to announce that it has been accepted into the Smithsonian Affiliations Program. READ MORE 

Polk Museum Gets Affiliation With Smithsonian. READ MORE

Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences (Peoria, IL)
Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences has been awarded a $10,000 Arts Education Invitational Grants Initiative grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to digitize the Picture Person Program educational kits. READ MORE

Hunt Hill Farm (New Milford, CT)
. The Smithsonian curator who got the ball rolling was Rayna Green, curator and director of the American Indian Program, Division of Home and Community Life, who will present “In Julia’s Kitchen”. READ MORE

The Long Island Museum of American Art, History & Carriages (Stony Brook, NY)
The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook announced Thursday it has received accreditation from the American Association of Museums, the highest honor awarded by the national organization. READ MORE

The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar (Richmond, VA)
Richmond visitors have a new starting point for the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War and the end of slavery: Historic Tredegar. READ MORE

Historic Tredegar: The Region’s Gateway to the Civil War. READ MORE

National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia, PA)
On November 12th, the National Museum of American Jewish History will reopen in its new location at Independence Mall. The weekend of celebration will feature performances by Jerry Seinfeld and Bette Midler. READ MORE

Two of the country’s most famous Jewish performers will highlight the opening of one of the most ambitious Jewish museum projects in years. READ MORE

North Carolina Museum of History (Raleigh, NC)
Exhibit in North Carolina Shows the Real George Washington. READ MORE

National Mississippi River Museum (Dubuque, IA)
Foundation awards river museum $1 million grant for river center. READ MORE

Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day
Everybody loves a freebie and this Saturday, September 25, marks Smithsonian magazine’s 6th Annual Museum Day, when more than 1,500 museum and cultural venues across the United States will honor Smithsonian.com’s special get-in-free ticket for two. READ MORE