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Kudos Affiliates! May 2021

Congratulations to these Affiliates on their recent accomplishments! Do you have kudos to share? Please send potential entries to Aaron Glavas, GlavasC@si.edu.

FUNDING

The Minnesota Historical Society announced the newest recipients of 30 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Small Grants including The Bakken Museum (Minneapolis, MN). The Museum received $9,994 to process the Earl Bakken Legacy Collection, allowing for greater public access to these resources. The Bakken Museum will also be a core research partner as part of a $1.5 million grant awarded to Binghamton University faculty. The grant will help improve makerspace learning for youth.

Frank Leta Honda has donated two new 2020 Honda Odyssey minivans to the Saint Louis Science Center (Saint Louis, MO) to transport Youth Exploring Science (YES) Program teens and Science Center educators to events during the summer as COVID-19 safety protocols allow. The YES Program was founded to help teens, particularly those from underserved communities, to recognize their potential in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) career fields.

Framingham State University (Framingham, MA) has been awarded a $62,250 grant from the Massachusetts Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) to coordinate a multi-day Racial Equity Policy Review Institute. Designed for up to 150 leaders within the campus community, participants will gain a better understanding of systemic racism in higher education and how it manifests on campus, be able to define what a racist policy is and how it shows up in student outcomes, and create an initial yearlong plan to undertake policy review.

History Colorado (Denver, CO), Hagley Museum (Wilmington, DE) and USS Constitution Museum  (Boston, MA) were among several Affiliates awarded humanity grants from The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Grant awards support the preservation of historic collections, humanities exhibitions and documentaries, scholarly research, and curriculum projects.

  • History Colorado was awarded a Media Projects Production grant for $310,536 to support the production of the Lost Highways Podcast series, an eight-episode offering focused on Colorado and Western history. History Colorado also received an Exhibitions-Implementation grant for $400,000 for The Sand Creek Massacre Exhibition. The permanent exhibition details the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre of Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal members.
  • Hagley Museum and Library ($194,400) and Center for Jewish History (New York, NY) ($153,292), each received a Fellowship Programs grant. The grants will support 12 months of stipend support for 1–3 fellowships per year for two to three years.
  • USS Constitution Museum will receive a Dialogues on the Experience of War grant for $96,264 to develop Sailors Speak: The Impact of War on Naval Veterans, their Families, and the Country. The award will be used for the training of facilitators to lead three discussion series for naval veterans and their families, based on historical documents and material culture from the War of 1812 and the post-9/11 wars.
  • City Lore (New York, NY) was awarded an Exhibitions-Planning grant for $75,000 to create a traveling exhibit about the 1970s Federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), that provided work for artists.
  • American Jewish Historical Society (New York City, NY), part of the Center for Jewish History, received $131,681 for a Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grant for The People’s Relief Committee Project to preserve and digitize materials that document the work of the People’s Relief Committee for Jewish War Sufferers (1915–1924), an American Jewish organization that sought to help Jewish communities and individuals in Europe during and after World War I.

The Rhode Island Historical Society (Providence, RI) received a donation of $50,000 from Walmart to pay for the creation of a curriculum to teach Black history and heritage in the local schools. The curriculum will include lesson plans, teacher training, and virtual learning tools.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

The Rockwell Museum (Corning, NY) announced Janelle Steiner, events coordinator, and Kate Swanson, interpretation and public engagement educator, have been selected to participate in The Museum Association of New York’s (MANY) “Building Capacity, Creating Sustainability, Growing Accessibility” program. The IMLS Cares Act grant project is designed to help museums impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic share their collections and reach audiences who cannot physically visit their museums. In this two-year program, museums will identify an event or project to deliver virtually to their audiences, focusing on developing programs from stories found in their collections that reveal cultural and racial diversity in their communities.

LEADERSHIP

Stephanie Haught Wade was named the new director of Historic Arkansas Museum (Little Rock, AR). Wade has been a historian with the Department of Arkansas Heritage since 2017, where she managed the Arkansas Historical Marker Program and was a member and administrator of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemoration Committee. She began work on April 5.

Kudos Affiliates!! December 2020

Congratulations to these Affiliates on their recent accomplishments! Do you have kudos to share? Please send potential entries to Aaron Glavas, GlavasC@si.edu.

FUNDING

The International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS in McAllen, TX) was awarded two grants to support future programs. IMAS received a $5,500 grant from BBVA Compass Bank for “Afterschool Adventures with IMAS,” STEAM virtual programming for K-12 students.  The program features seasonal-themed topics, hands-on learning and free workshop kits for participating children. In addition, IMAS was awarded a $15,000 grant from H-E-B Helping Here to remove the financial barrier for unique informal, family learning experiences. Programs include a virtual Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) program, free admission days and monthly virtual Workshop Wednesday programming with free supply kits.

Putnam Museum and Science Center (Davenport, IA) received three grants from local charities and foundations. Putnam was awarded a $7,500 COVID-19 Rebuilding Fund grant from the United Way Quad Cities to support essential needs for students that have resulted from the pandemic. Arconic Foundation awarded $25,000 to the museum to boost its STEM offerings and for COVID-19 relief. Finally, the Putnam received $38,500 from the Regional Development Authority to create programs to improve access and representation at the museum.

Students in the Putnam’s IMMERSE program explore the periodic table exhibit, OMG! Elements of Surprise with President/CEO, Rachael Mullins. The Putnam recently received a grant for its STEM programming from the Arconic Foundation. Credit-Putnam Museum

Humanities Nebraska provided relief grants to three Affiliates to battle the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic:

Michael “Mike” Mayo Macke donated $750,000 to the Tellus Science Museum (Cartersville, GA) as part of a long-range plan to sustain the programs and activities at the museum. Tellus honored Macke by renaming its Great Hall the “Michael Mayo Macke Great Hall.”

The Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation awarded Science Museum Oklahoma (Oklahoma City, OK) a $15,000 grant through its Community Grant program to enhance STEM experiences at the regional public libraries. Science Museum Oklahoma will develop hands-on science programming as well as professional development and other activities.

The National Canal Museum, part of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (Easton, PA), received a $58,923 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to expand its digital offerings.

The Center for Jewish History (New York, NY) received a donation of approximately $1 million from Sir Len Blavatnik to support general operating expenses at the organization.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Plimoth Patuxet  (Plymouth, MA) announced that Mayflower II, its historic tall ship, has been named to the National Register of Historic Places. Mayflower II is deemed historically significant for its association with the founding story of the United States and as a full-scale ship that embodies the distinctive characteristics of a 17th-century English merchant vessel.

Credit Plimoth Patuxet 

Ellen Noel Art Museum of the Permian Basin (Odessa, TX) and Historic Arkansas Museum (Little Rock, AR) were reaccredited during the recent American Alliance of Museums meeting of the Accreditation Commission.

LEADERSHIP

Jay D. Vogt announced that he is retiring as director of the South Dakota State Historical Society (Pierre, SD), effective December 8. 

After a yearlong search, Trait Thompson has been selected to succeed Bob Blackburn as executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society (Oklahoma City, OK).  Thompson will start his tenure on January 4. For the past six years, Thompson had been the project manager for the Oklahoma Capitol Restoration Project, shepherding the preservation and restoration of the state Capitol.

Young Historians, Living Histories- Today’s Stop: Oklahoma City, OK!

Special thanks to Paula Lee, Smithsonian Affiliations intern, for this guest post. This is the first of a five-part blog series she is writing as part of the Young Historians, Living Histories (YHLH) collaboration with the Asian Pacific American Center and our Affiliate network. 

Asian Pacific American youth representing the Young Historians, Living HIstory after completing a workshop

Asian Pacific American youth representing the Young Historians, Living History after completing a workshop

Early this August, I had an extraordinary opportunity to join Smithsonian Affiliations as an intern directly assisting with the Young Historians, Living Histories grant. After a few weeks of researching the project, I spoke with Leah Craig, Curator of Education at the Oklahoma History Center, an Affiliate in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma History Center is one of nine Affiliate museums selected to receive the YHLH grant funded by the Smithsonian’s Youth Access Grant program. Additional Affiliates include Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (Seattle, WA), Institute of Texan Cultures (San Antonio, TX), Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, OH), Pacific Aviation Museum (Honolulu, HI), Sonoma County Museum (Santa Rosa, CA), Greensboro Historical Museum (Greensboro, NC), Riverside Metropolitan Museum (Riverside, CA), and Historic Arkansas Museum (Little Rock, AR).

This program is an educational initiative designed to engage underserved youth in Asian Pacific American communities by incorporating the use of digital media to produce oral histories. Being an Asian American myself, I was particularly thrilled at the chance to be involved in a project that hit so close to home. The Affiliates have collaborated with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (APAC) and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) to provide essential curriculum guidelines that will be used to train educators to implement youth workshops. Participating Affiliates have recruited Asian Pacific American students to attend workshops at the museums. Middle and high school students will learn a variety of 21st-century skills, methods of community outreach, and digital storytelling to explore, contextualize, and deepen their understanding of Asian Pacific American history and culture.

Director Leah Craig leading one of many workshops on Asian American history

Curator Leah Craig leading one of many workshops on Asian American history

While the Affiliates were busy recruiting students, Craig had already begun to lead a team of 20 gifted and talented students from Norman High School through active learning workshops. The workshops covered essential editing, filming, interviewing and a lesson in Asian Pacific American history with the help of teachers Margaret Wadleigh, LaRadius Allen, and Moving Image Archivist Corey Ayers. Students that participated in the workshop came from diverse cultural backgrounds and were placed in groups that encouraged them to share their stories and ideas as they began their transformation into historians seeking stories within the Asian Pacific American community.  At only 1.9 percent, Oklahoma’s Asian American population isn’t large but according to the U.S. Census Bureau it includes a variety of Chinese, Korean, Pilipino, Burmese, and Hmong communities with significant Vietnamese and growing Indian communities. The program has enticed the young historians to become curious and research the immigration stories that attracted Asian Americans’ very first settlement into Oklahoma such as the Land Run in 1889.

Shoulder to Shoulder-- Oklahoman students eager to learn the film making processes of oral histries in a workshop led by Moving Image Archivist, Corey Ayers

Shoulder to Shoulder– Oklahoman students eager to learn the film making processes of oral histries in a workshop led by Moving Image Archivist, Corey Ayers

Craig boasts that “by conducting the oral histories students are helping us collect the history of our community from people with whom we may not have any other way to collect their stories.” Students were challenged to reveal the hidden struggles and accomplishments that Asian Pacific Americans in their own families/personal network had endured while en route, discovering a part of them that was never truly appreciated. Wadleigh, one of the two mentoring teachers, observed that the oral history element of this project engaged the students in a way that activated their “emotional” skills, skills that helped them discover powerful stories that couldn’t be told through any textbook.   Look forward to future posts under the YHLH Series as we begin to unravel the unique stories hidden across the nation “oh the places we’ll go” when we’re looking!

affiliates at the folklife festival

In addition to Mexico and Asian Pacific Americans, this year’s Folklife Festival features ‘Smithsonian Inside Out’ – a section devoted to explaining the inner workings of the Institution.  Tents are dedicated to work in our strategic  grand challenges, how we make exhibits and tend our grounds, our research activities around the globe, and more.

Affiliates are playing an important role in demonstrating to Festival visitors how the Smithsonian reaches audiences well beyond Washington.  The Littleton Historical Museum in Colorado and the Historic Arkansas Museum are featured on giant festival maps about the Smithsonian’s work outside D.C.  Icons for Affiliates that show the breadth of the network are highlighted as well.

The B & O Railroad Museum‘s executive director Courtney Wilson will be on the Festival’s discussion stage on July 1 with Bill Withuhn, curator emeritus at the National Museum of American History.  They’ll be discussing our decade of collaboration, and the numerous Smithsonian artifacts on view in Baltimore as a result of our relationship.

On July 3, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture will host a table at the Festival to demonstrate the fruits of their affiliation, such as hosting several major SITES exhibitions, artifact loans from the new National Museum of African American History, and sharing expertise with a range of Smithsonian scholars.

Throughout the Festival, Affiliations staff have been engaged in explaining outreach efforts to visitors.  National Outreach Manager Alma Douglas took to the discussion stage on June 27 to describe the Affiliations Program.  Other staff members are manning the “Ask the Smithsonian” tent, finding out about visitors’ hometowns and encouraging them to visit their local Affiliates.  It’s great to be able to tell Festival visitors from across the country about our extended family of Affiliates, and the Smithsonian experience they can have, even  in their own backyards.