Posts

Smithsonian Affiliations at 25: Chapter 2- National Youth Summits

Affiliations Anniversary Series: 25 Years in Your Neighborhood
Chapter 2: National Youth Summits

Catch up on Chapter 1: The Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion here.

The late John Lewis seated next to filmmaker Stanley Nelson on stage at the National Youth Summit

The Late Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) and filmmaker Stanley Nelson at the 2011 National Youth Summit on Freedom Rides. Photo courtesy National Museum of American History.

Engaging younger audiences has always been a goal of the Affiliate network. As an ongoing reflection of the past 25 years of working with our Affiliates, this month we focus on the role of the National Youth Summit and the regional youth conversations produced by Affiliates to complement and amplify the Smithsonian’s national program.

In 2010, Smithsonian Affiliations met with colleagues at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History on a concept for a new program— one in which students confront enduring questions of power, representation, privilege, and choice through peer-to-peer discussions, individual reflections, and shared action planning. The National Youth Summit would take place at the National Museum of American History, while Affiliates would host regional youth summits to amplify and augment the national program, allowing middle and high school students in Affiliate communities to discuss local issues.

With the assistance of five Affiliate museums, the first National Youth Summit launched on February 9, 2011, and commemorated the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Freedom Rides. The Summit featured Freedom Ride veterans and scholars discussing civic activism and the history of the Freedom Rides. Since that original program, there have been seven Youth Summits with Affiliate collaboration, with topics ranging from women’s suffrage to systemic racism, Japanese American incarceration to the war on poverty, and featured speakers like the late Congressman John Lewis-(D-GA) and documentarian Ken Burns.

five people sit on a stage in an auditorium filled with young people

National Youth Summit at the Japanese American National Museum. Photo courtesy JANM.

The topics are national, but the impact is local. Affiliates exemplify this with customized programs for local students—programs that reflect the demographics and lived experiences of youth in their community and center the community’s history through museum programming and interpretation. Over the past decade, the regional summits have reached thousands of young people and inspired numerous discussions about important events in America’s past that have relevance to the nation’s present and future.

Auditoriam at the birmingham civil rights institute

National Youth Summit at Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Photo courtesy Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

The National Youth Summit with Affiliate regional conversations continues to grow and play a vital role. By extending the reach to schools who might otherwise not be able to participate, by expanding historical content available through the program, and by creating deeply meaningful learning that relates to the actual lived experiences of students in underrepresented communities, Affiliates continue to show why they are critical venues for a national conversation.

An eighth Youth Summit is in the works for Fall 2021. Until then, catch up on past programs and conversation kits on the National Youth Summit website.

Stay tuned next month for Chapter 3: 10 Years of Reaching for the Stars Together, in our 25th anniversary series.

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!! October 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 Durham Museum (Omaha, NE) received a $25,000 grant from The Iowa West Foundation to develop resources, programs, and projects that focus on economic development, education, place making, and healthy families.

The Nissan Foundation awarded $680,000 in grants to 27 nonprofit organizations for its 2020 grant cycle including awards to:

The NASA in Kansas program received a $2.8 million grant to help continue STEM-based education and research in the Sunflower State. The four-year award from NASA will help fund a consortium of universities and science museums, including the Cosmosphere (Hutchinson, KS).

The International Museum of Art and Science (McAllen, TX) was awarded a Collections Assessment for Preservation grant for $7,000 from the Foundation for the Advancement in Conservation. The funding will be instrumental in providing credible information for long-term planning for collections care and preparing for re-accreditation in 2022.

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission awarded grants to the following Affiliate organizations to support the general operations of the museums:

Putnam Museum and Science Center (Davenport, IA) received a $20,000 Cultural Leadership Partners grant administered by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. The grant will support a wide range of programs and events the Museum and Science Center will provide in the coming year.

New Mexico’s legislative session concluded with a $250,000 allocation for renovations at the Hubbard Museum of the American West (Ruidoso Downs, NM) and $750,000 to the New Mexico Museum of Space History (Alamogordo, NM) for facility and exhibit improvements.

The National Park Service, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, announced $12,800,000 in Save America’s Treasures grants to fund 42 preservation and conservation projects in 26 states including the following Affiliates:

  • Mystic Seaport Museum (Mystic, CT) – $102,000-for the preservation and accessibility to curatorial files.
  • YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (Center for Jewish History), (New York, NY) – $119,433-for the preservation and accessibility for Edward Blank YIVO Vilna Online Collections.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded grants totaling $25,899,000 for museums across the nation to improve services to their communities through Museums for America, and special initiatives-Museums Empowered and Inspire! Grants for Small Museums. Affiliate awardees include:

Museums for America

  • Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI) – $172,000.00-The Arab American National Museum will work with a learning design firm and a museum-focused exhibition design firm to develop, design, and fabricate new components for their children’s gallery spaces. This project will result in four new bilingual, less text-heavy exhibition elements that will allow young visitors in grades K-5 to gain a more balanced perspective on cultural and racial diversity within their communities, as well as an appreciation of the large-scale impact of all immigrant communities on American life.
  • Springfield Science Museum, part of Springfield Museums, (Springfield, MA) – $84,637.00-Museum staff will undergo Disability Inclusion and Universal Design training to redesign and enhance a core multi-use learning space and principle STEM program that can remove physical, cognitive, and social barriers to learning. External evaluators will measure access needs and learning outcomes before and after project upgrades in order to track progress and develop a scalable model of inclusive practice for all the museum’s science programming.
  • Mercer Museum (Doylestown, PA) – $40,000.00-Mercer Museum will conduct a detailed condition survey of 256 windows (including dormers and skylights) located in its original 1916 National Landmark Mercer Museum building. The survey will result in a comprehensive report, with recommendations and methodologies for repair and remediation intended to improve environmental conditions for the exhibited collections.
  • Arizona State Museum (Tucson, AZ) – $122,471.00-The Arizona State Museum will ensure the long-term preservation and accessibility of 50 items including large, handcrafted barkcloth fabrics and woven basketry mats from Indigenous groups in northern Mexico (Pima Bajo, Pipil, Tarahuamara, Tepehuan, Warhio, Yaqui, Tohono O’odham, and Otomi) and the Pacific Islands (Fijian, Hawaiian, Javanese, Melanesian, Philippine, Samoan, and Tongan).
  • Museum of Us (San Diego, CA ) – $249,668.00-The Museum of Us will engage with representatives of the Kumeyaay Nation (Kumeyaay) in a community-driven exhibit and program development process. This project will engage Kumeyaay community members in large forums, focus groups, one-on-one meetings, and written evaluations to accurately capture content for a new exhibit that is self-determined by the community.
  • Adler Planetarium (Chicago, IL) – $248,825.00-The Adler Planetarium will expand access to STEM programs for African American and Latinx Chicago teens through a progressive series of entry-point, introductory, intermediate, and advanced level programs. Students in grades 7-12 will be invited to join teams of scientists, engineers, and educators to undertake authentic scientific research and solve real engineering challenges. In collaboration with schools and community-based organizations, Adler will develop and implement new participant recruitment and retention strategies to reach teens in specific neighborhoods.
  • South Carolina State Museum (Columbia, SC) – $245,239.00-The South Carolina State Museum will improve the stewardship of its collections through a two-year collections inventory and digitization project. The project will result in refined inventory and photography protocols for digitization of collection objects, the implementation of a new collections management system, and the acquisition of a dedicated server to ensure that the database has capacity for future growth.
  • Florida International University (Miami, FL) – $250,000.00-Florida International University will expand the shelving capacity in its Rare Books and Special Collections Library, improve storage conditions for the collection, and improve public access to the collection.
  • National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium (Dubuque, IA) – $206,286.00-The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium will conduct a collections survey and planning project that will build upon previous successful collections stewardship projects and improve the museum’s ability to care for and interpret its historical collections.
  • High Desert Museum (Bend, OR) – $155,280.00-The High Desert Museum will bring together key stakeholders to develop and implement the first High Desert Project, deconstructing the traditional conference structure to create a new approach to engaging broad audiences in dialogue-one that builds on the unique strengths of museums.
  • Connecticut Historical Society (Hartford, CT) – $238,604.00-The Connecticut Historical Society will inventory, rehouse, catalog, and digitize the Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program CCHAP collection which documents the cultural traditions and heritage within the rich diversity of Connecticut’s ethnic and workplace communities.
  • Mystic Seaport Museum (Mystic, CT)-$167,303.00-Mystic Seaport Museum will restore its 1921 fishing schooner-L.A. DUNTON-a National Historic Landmark vessel and one of the last surviving examples of its kind. Progress will be captured on video for podcast and other forms of distance learning to further expand the project reach.
  • Denver Museum of Nature and Science (Denver, CO)-$240,740.00-The Denver Museum of Nature and Science will advance stewardship and public access for 718 objects in its Northwest Coast Collection through collaborative conservation that involves Kwakwaka’wakw, Makah, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Tlingit and Haida tribes.
  • Center for Jewish History (New York, NY) – $52,230.00-The Center for Jewish History will improve stewardship of the 35mm and 16mm motion picture film collections of its five in-house partners: the American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University Museum, and YIVO Institute, as a pilot of a new digitization process.
  • USS Constitution Museum (Boston, MA) – $250,000.00-The USS Constitution Museum will launch a Salute to Service initiative to transform itself into a hub for conversation, connection, and community around military service so the community can see the museum as a trusted space for community engagement, and civilian participants in Salute to Service programs to gain an elevated understanding of military service and family sacrifice.
  • Witte Museum (San Antonio, TX)-$250,000.00-The Witte Museum will improve the conservation and preservation of its paleontology and geology collections to support continued fossil preparation for new fossil finds and acquisitions.
  • Krannert Art Museum (Champaign, IL) – $250,000.00-The Krannert Art Museum will reinstall its collection of ancient Andean art. This reinstallation will transform the ancient Andean gallery into an innovative teaching and research tool that better serves their core constituents and exposes audiences to the historical depth, cultural richness, and contemporary relevance of ancient Andean civilizations.
  • Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA) – $227,272.00-The Plimoth Plantation will develop a suite of educational resources for teachers, students, and the general public focusing on the relationship between the early Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people.

Museums Empowered: Professional Development Opportunities for Museum Staff

  • Ohio History Connection (Columbus, OH) – $249,920.00-The Ohio History Connection will conduct an online professional development program to help the network become better managed, more resilient, and better able to serve the public. Modules will focus on topics such as board development; collections handling; engaging with local communities; and essential museum knowledge for boards, directors, staff, and volunteers from outside the museum field.

Inspire! Grants for Small Museums

  • Dubuque Museum of Art (Dubuque, IA) – $40,975.00-The Dubuque Museum of Art will upgrade its collections management software through a four-phase project that will increase public access to the museum’s collection.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded $52.2 million in grants for 562 humanities projects featuring the following Affiliate initiatives:

  • Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ) – $4,622-The Heard Museum will use the funding for the preservation assessment of a library and archive collection dedicated to Native American art and cultures, covering topics such as Native American fine art, literature, anthropology, and museum studies.
  • Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, CA) – $172,445- The Japanese American National Museum will develop two, one-week workshops -Little Tokyo: How History Shapes a Community Across Generations- for 72 school teachers about the history and culture of Japanese-American immigrants and their place in U.S. history.
  • History Colorado (Denver, CO) – $224,914-History Colorado will digitize 100,000 pages from Colorado newspaper titles, published from 1859 to 1942, as part of the state’s continuing participation in the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).
  • History Colorado (Denver, CO) – $208,808-History Colorado will produce eight 45- to 60-minute podcast episodes about Colorado and Western U.S. history entitled the Lost Highways Podcast Program.
  • Grinnell College (Grinnell, IA) – $6,000-Grinnell College staff will conduct research for a book on the development of the Filipino diaspora in the United States and Europe, as a case study to understand how diasporas evolve.
  • Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA) – $49,200-The Plimoth Plantation will conduct an assessment of the collections and buildings at Plimoth Plantation, which has extensive collections of archaeological artifacts, fine and decorative art, and archival materials.
  • Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, MI) – $9,901-Michigan State University Museum will purchase storage equipment for the Siyazama Project collection, which is housed at the university’s museum and consists of 66 traditional craft works created by South African women as part of an organized art and health initiative during the HIV/AIDS crisis.
  • Center for Jewish History (New York, NY) – $65,500-The Center for Jewish History will provide 12 months of stipend support (1 fellowship) per year for one year and to defray costs associated with the selection of fellows.
  • Museum of Flight (Seattle, WA) – $236,824-Museum of Flight will arrange, describe, catalog, and select the digitization of 170 cubic feet of archival materials and 260 objects from the William P. and Moya Olsen Lear Collection, including correspondence, photographs, model planes, invention prototypes, and 33 audio recordings and 18 films related to groundbreaking discoveries in aviation and radio that span the twentieth century.
  • Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Cody, WY) – $48,933-Buffalo Bill Center of the West will construct a plan for storage spaces at all six of the center’s collecting units to maximize the preservation environment, space efficiency, and access to collections by staff and the public. Center staff would work with a consulting conservator, architect, and engineer to develop the plan.
  • Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (Seattle, WA)-$189,984- Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience will create two one-week workshops for 72 school teachers about the history and culture of Asian Pacific American immigrants in the Pacific Northwest.

The Mary Black Foundation awarded new grants to 19 nonprofits serving Spartanburg County, including $15,000 to Children’s Museum of the Upstate (Spartanburg, SC) to assist with operational costs to provide high-quality learning opportunities for young children in Spartanburg County.

Mid-America Arts Alliance awarded $50,000 to the American Jazz Museum (Kansas City, MO) to assist operational costs and digitizing of their collections.

Oklahoma History Center (Oklahoma City, OK) was awarded a grant through the Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) for personal protective equipment (PPE) to be utilized by the OHC Education Department. The funding has been used to purchase sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer and disinfectant for use by museum visitors and staff, as well as to be included in the trunks for our award-winning Traveling Trunk program.

The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium (Dubuque, IA) received funding from two area foundations to support conservation education and equitable access for Dubuque County residents. Alliant Energy Foundation has awarded the Museum $5,000 towards the expansion of its conservation education live animal outreach program address Iowa bird conservation initiatives and provide teacher workshop opportunities. The McDonough Foundation awarded $2,000 to increase equitable access through the Everybody’s Museum Membership (EMM) program—a free membership program that is open to economically challenged youth and families in Dubuque County, as well as community members with physical and intellectual disabilities.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Mercer Museum & Fonthill Castle (Doylestown, PA) and USS Constitution Museum (Boston, MA) recently received reaccreditations from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).

RANDY PARKER/THE DAILY TRIBUNE NEWS Booth Western Art Museum is named the Best Art Museum in the USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards contest.

The Booth Western Art Museum (Cartersville, GA) was named Best Art Museum in the USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards contest.

The Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society at the Cultural Heritage Center (Pierre,SD) earned an AASLH Award of Excellence for the exhibit “Silent Silos: South Dakota’s Missile Range.”

Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, MI) received the Special Achievement – Excellence in Community Empowerment award for its exhibition – “Finding Our Voice: Sister Survivors Speak” at the 32nd annual Excellence in Exhibition Competition, presented by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).

Framingham State University (Framingham, MA) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign were recognized for their efforts to support diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus with a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award. The award is given by INSIGHT into Diversity, the oldest and largest diversity magazine and website in higher education.

Coming up in Affiliateland in February 2020

Brrrrr! Let the cold outside drive you to these compelling programs inside at Affiliates across the country.

NATIONWIDE
The Smithsonian Channel is again teaming up with Affiliates to screen their feature for 2020 Black History Month – Black in Space: Breaking The Color Barrier.
at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, 2.5.
at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, 2.10.
at History Colorado in Denver, 2.11.
at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, 2.13.
at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, 2.19.
at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore, 2.19.
at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, 2.20.
Note: these events are not open to the public.

VERMONT
Corine Wegener, director of the Smithsonian’s Cultural Rescue Initiative, will give a talk on conserving cultural heritage at the Sullivan Museum in Northfield, 2.5.

TEXAS
Alexandra Alvis from the Special Collections of Smithsonian Libraries will present A Fairy Castle of Painted Windows on illuminated manuscripts at the Ellen Noël Art Museum of the Permian Basin in Odessa, 2.6.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
The Smithsonian Science Education Center will offer a free webinar to all Affiliates to introduce their new resource Smithsonian Science for Global Goals, and offer suggestions for Affiliate collaboration, 2.12.

NEBRASKA
The Durham Museum will screen the Smithsonian Channel film The Unknown Flag Raiser of Iwo Jima in Omaha, 2.23.

Kudos Affiliates!! October 2019

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 City of Las Cruces’ recent exhibit “From the Vault” at the Las Cruces Museum of Art included pieces from the city’s museum system permanent art collection. Most of the pieces are by New Mexico artists.

The City of Las Cruces Museum System (Las Cruces, NM) as been awarded a $50,000 American Art Program grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to digitize the city’s permanent collection of southern New Mexico art. The project will increase the accessibility of the permanent art collection. The digital images and updated information about each piece of art will be made available to the public online. Additionally, a selection of three-dimensional objects will be mapped and reproduced using three-dimensional printing technology for a hands-on experience.

The National Endowment for the Humanities announced $29 million in awards for 215 humanities projects across the country including the following Affiliate projects:

History Colorado (Denver, CO): $168,167-Borderlands of Southern Colorado, a two one-week workshops for 72 K-12 educators on Colorado’s southern borderlands in the nineteenth century.

Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA): $158,641-Beyond the Mayflower: New Voices from Early America, 1500–1670, a two-week summer institute for 25 K-12 educators on the evolution of indigenous-colonial relationships in seventeenth-century New England.

Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, MI): $10,000-Michigan State University Museum Cultural Collections Rehousing Project, to purchase cabinets and preservation supplies to rehouse the University’s History, Folklife, and Anthropology collections, totaling some 100,000 objects.

Montana Historical Society (Helena, MT): $349,978-Upgrades to the mechanical system for Sustainable Preservation of Collections, an implementation project to adjust air-handling systems and install a building management system that would improve overall energy efficiency for preserving its collections.

High Desert Museum (Bend, OR): $8,653-Doris Swayze Bounds Collection Assessment, a preservation assessment of approximately 7,000 objects, which document many of the indigenous groups of the Columbia River Plateau, including the Colville, Yakama, Klamath, Nez Perce, and Umatilla tribes, over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

International Storytelling Center (Jonesborough, TN): $200,000-Freedom Stories: Unearthing the African-American Heritage of Appalachia, an implementation of a series of public discussions and an accompanying podcast and website that engage professional storytellers with humanities scholars to explore the history of African Americans in Appalachia.

The Center for Jewish History (New York, NY) was awarded the John Stedman Memorial Grant for its New York Historical Synagogues Map Website Enhancement Project. The New York Historical Synagogues Map is the first digital project dedicated to mapping all known synagogue locations in New York City in the early decades of the 20th century (1900-1939).

NMIH Vice Chairman Lee Butz introduced Pennsylvania Senator Pat Browne.

Kara Mohsinger, President and CEO of the National Museum of Industrial History (NMIH), Lee Butz, Vice Chair of the museum’s Board of Directors, and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Browne announced a $500,000 state grant for the National Museum of Industrial History (Bethlehem, PA). The primary goal is to promote overnight stays in Pennsylvania by supporting events, developing marketing and public relations campaigns, funding facility enhancements, and supporting new construction. In addition, the grant will aid the museum in developing new exhibits, educating new generations about the nation’s industrial history, inspiring young inventors and entrepreneurs, and reaching audiences beyond the tri-state area.

Plimoth Plantation was awarded $14,925 from MassHumanities grant to fund a new exhibit commemorating the 400th anniversary of Mayflower’s arrival and showcase recent archaeological discoveries which are challenging traditional interpretations of Indigenous and Anglo-European relations in southeastern Massachusetts. The exhibit will incorporate ‘new’ voices from the past – not only those of the literate and privileged – to reveal face-to-face communities connected by written and oral covenants, spiritual and tribal rituals, diplomatic protocols, and daily exchange of trade goods and agricultural products.

Cape Fear Museum’s Science Cycle

The Cape Fear Museum (Wilmington, NC) received $5,000 from Science In Vivo and $2,000 from Corning to fund the project The Science Cycle. The mobile program is designed to inspire kids to be curious, think big and experiment by bringing science and hands-on activities to them in outdoor settings. The project was recently a runner up in the Falling Walls International Science Engagement Competition.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

The corn maze at Conner Prairie (Fishers, IN) has been recognized with the 2019 USA TODAY 10 Best Readers’ Choice award for Best Corn Maze. To celebrate the honor, Conner Prairie unveiled the design of the 2019 corn maze, which is sponsored by Corteva Agriscience and will open to the public on Sept. 21.

 

 

Congrats to the new class of Affiliate Visiting Professionals!

(This is an excerpt of a longer article in the Spring 2019 edition of The Affiliate newsletter)

2018 class

The 2018 Visiting Professional class.

In October 2018, a group of 10 Affiliate colleagues from around the country convened in Washington, D.C., for a two-week, transformative experience at the Smithsonian. They were selected to participate in the Smithsonian Affiliations Visiting Professionals Program (VPP), a unique professional development opportunity for mid-level museum staff at Affiliate organizations. With generous support from The Getty Foundation, the cohort focused on a single topic — using digital technologies to broaden access to art collections — and added a leadership and personal development component to the curriculum.

Participants were selected from Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, Alabama); Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, California); Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, California); Museum of the African Diaspora (San Francisco, California); Peoria Riverfront Museum (Peoria, Illinois); Schingoethe Center of Aurora University (Romeoville, Illinois); Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, Michigan); American Jazz Museum (Kansas City, Missouri); The Rockwell Museum (Corning, New York); and Springfield Museum of Art (Springfeld, Ohio).

They represented various departments within their organizations and agreed that discussions about workplace challenges made a significant impact on them, especially since it’s often not the thrust of academic degrees. “The leadership piece was so important — how to build allies, how to communicate, managing change, even being a good follower,” mused Charles Woods, educator at Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. “My biggest takeaway was understanding that you can lead from wherever you are.”

People smiling at a table

The 2018 VPP class hard at work at the Smithsonian Affiliations office.

Each participant came to the VPP with a specific organizational objective. Aspirations were high for all participants, but the program taught the cohort how to take achievable action steps and think about iterating over time. “When I came, I had no idea what to expect,” said Erin Shapiro, curator at the Springfield Museum of Art. “But now, I think we have a high chance of success for our project. I don’t say that lightly. Everybody here recognizes that this will be beneficial. I feel fortunate to have participated. The Smithsonian Affiliations team did a fantastic job. It’s an important program.”

With the support of The Getty Foundation, Smithsonian Affiliations will host a second cohort in 2019. We’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate and welcome the 2019 class from the following Affiliate organizations:

Jewel Clark, Heard Museum (Phoenix, Arizona)

Susan Bolaños, Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, California)

Melanie Tran, California State Railroad Museum (Sacramento, California)

Melissa de Bie, History Colorado (Denver, Colorado)

Tasha Caswell, Connecticut Historical Society (Hartford, Connecticut)

Teresa Stenstrup, National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

Elizabeth Barrett Sullivan, Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, Michigan)

Kendra Newhall, Montana Historical Society (Helena, Montana)

Nicole Markham, International Tennis Hall of Fame (Newport, Rhode Island)

Katie Staib, Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (Spokane, Washington)

Congratulations! We’re excited to meet them all and can’t wait for the collaboration to begin!