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bravo affiliates! kudos for december ’09 / january ’10

In these tough times, it’s nice to see some bright spots.  We’d like to acknowledge the following Affiliates for their hard work and accomplishments.

The Museum of Arts and Sciences (Macon, GA) received a $10,000 grant from College Hill Corridor to hold a spring break day camp at Tattnall Square Park.

Ellie Donovan has been named Executive Director of Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA). Donovan has been associated with the museum since 1974, including serving as acting executive director since March. 

Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, MI)earned the 2009 Dorothy Howard Folklore and Education Prize from American Folklore Society (AFS) for their publication “Folk Arts in Education: A Resource Handbook II,” a resource for educators to bring young people in touch with their communities, their ethnic identities and the authentic cultural expressions of their own families.

An anonymous $6 million donation to the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art (Biloxi, MS) will fund construction on the Center for Ceramics, the fourth largest of the Frank Gehry buildings planned for the site.

Western Heritage Center (Billings, MT) received a $29,000 grant from the Montana Tourism Infrastructure Investment Program to replace an old boiler and install humidity control equipment.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, NC) received a $4 million grant from the State Employees Credit Union Foundation.  The grant will fund the centerpiece of the Museum’s planned Nature Research Center – a three-story multimedia program area for announcing key environmental issues and recent scientific discoveries.

Strategic Air and Space Museum (Ashland, NE) has been awarded a $200,000 federal grant through the Community Development Block Grant program. The money will be used for the repair and upgrade of various building projects.

The Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA) announced its accreditation by the American Association of Museums.

Wisconsin Maritime Museum  (Manitowoc, WI) won three Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards for their documentary  “Lost and Found: Legacy of USS Lagarto,” about the submarine, built in Manitowoc during World War II, that was lost in the Gulf of Siam (now Thailand) and rediscovered in 2005.

bravo all!

Sounds of Iraq in Michigan

Oud virtuoso records for Smithsonian Folkways

Oud virtuoso records for Smithsonian Folkways

If you happen to be in the Detroit area on October 1, be sure to stop in at our Affiliate, the Arab American National Museum (AANM) in nearby Dearborn, to hear Smithsonian Folkways, Grammy-nominated, oud virtuoso Rahim Alhaj.  Alhaj performs in conjunction with the opening of the museum’s new Connecting Communities exhibition and as part of the ongoing Global Thursdays performing arts series.

Alhaj is considered one of the world’s masters of the oud, a pear-shaped, stringed instrument, often seen as the predecessor of the western lute.  Born in Iraq, Alhaj studied at the prestigious Baghdad Conservatory of Fine Arts, under the renowned Munir Bashir.  His opposition to the rule of Sadadam Hussein led to imprisonment and thirteen years of exile in Jordan and Syria before coming to the United States in 2000 under a UN refugee resettlement program. Now a resident of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Alhaj teaches, composes, and maintains an active performing schedule throughout North America and around the world.

The Smithsonian Folkways recording When the Soul is Settled: Music of Iraq, featuring Alhaj and Lebanese-born percussionist Souhail Kaspar, received a 2008 Grammy nomination in “The Best Traditional World Music Album” category.  The Los Angeles Times called the album “a convincing affirmation of an embattled area of the world,” and another critic likened Alhaj’s oud playing to “god breathing life into clay.”

AANM was established to bring the voices and faces of Arab Americans to mainstream audiences, and works to dispel misconceptions about Arab Americans and other minorities. Opened in 2005, the museum has received widespread acclaim for its architecture, exhibitions, and educational programming.

We look forward to the upcoming event when the museum and the musician join forces for what guarantees to be an unforgettable evening.

Smithsonian Folkways, the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution offers Affiliates savings on recordings at www.folkways.si.edu. Enter code SIAFFILIATE during checkout and save 10% on any purchase. From the Oud mastery of Rahim AlHaj and other international music to traditional American folk music from Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, and children’s favorites by Ella Jenkins and Elizabeth Mitchell, Smithsonian Folkways presents a world of sound that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”