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every time i visit your museum, bling bling

Special thanks to Monica Reardon, Smithsonian Affiliations summer intern, for authoring the 2013 Smithsonian #MuseumDayLive! blog series.

Housed in an historic bank building on Wall Street in New York City, the Museum of American Finance is dedicated to preserving, exhibiting and teaching about American finance and financial history.  The founder, John Herzog, began with two exhibits in a U.S. Custom House in 1988.  Since then, this independent, non-profit museum has gradually expanded in exhibits and programs to what it is today, including becoming a Smithsonian Affiliate in 2001.

Monopoly Game Pieces

Monopoly Game Pieces

The museum currently has on display a unique piece on long-term loan from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Visitors during Smithsonian Museum Day Live! can get up close to a golden, bejeweled Monopoly set worth $2 million, created by jeweler Sidney Mobell.  The board and pieces are solid 18-karat gold and encrusted with 165 precious gemstones including diamonds, rubies and emeralds.  Bling Bling!! Even the dice are blinged-out with 42 full-cut diamonds marking the number dots on the die.

“We have quite a few finance-related board games in our collection, and games are a great way to introduce basic financial concepts to visitors. It made sense to borrow the Monopoly set for display,” noted Becky Laughner, Director of Exhibits & Archives.

The “eye-catching” Monopoly set attracts a variety of visitors from grade-school students to bank executives.  “We display many paper documents, and the Monopoly set could not be more different, while still assisting us in teaching financial history and promoting financial literacy.”

Laughner hopes that the game helps visitors “to understand that learning about finance can be fun and interesting.”  She adds,

“We hope visitors leave [the Museum] with a better understanding of money, finance and US history, and we realize that these topics are common threads that run through almost every aspect of our lives.”

Is the Smithsonian in your neighborhood? Find out which other Affiliates are participating in #MuseumDayLive on September 28, 2013, here.

Monopoly Board Game

Monopoly Board Game

Satisfy your Museum Day hunger with a Flying Pancake

Special thanks to Monica Reardon, Smithsonian Affiliations summer intern, for authoring the 2013 Smithsonian #MuseumDayLive! blog series.

A donation in 1963 to The University of Texas marked the beginnings of the museum Frontiers of Flight, now located in Dallas, Texas.  The collection of artifacts and archival materials of George Haddaway, an aviation historian and the publisher of “Flight” magazine, became the “History of Aviation Collection.”  The collection then moved from Austin to The University of Texas at Dallas in the late 1970’s.  Eventually, The Frontiers of Flight Museum was formed as an organization in 1988.  From there, it grew into what it is today.

Frontiers of Flight became a Smithsonian Affiliate in 2002 and has consistently participated in Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Live! for the past 7 years. The museum recently helped restore the Chance Vought V-173 Flying Pancake, on long-term loan to the museum from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (NASM). In addition, visitors to the museum can view the Apollo 7 Command Module and more than 20 other space-related artifacts also on loan from NASM.

Is the Smithsonian in your neighborhood? Find out which other Affiliates are participating in #MuseumDayLive on September 28, 2013, here

Vought V-173 "Flying Pancake" at Frontiers of Flight Museum

Photo courtesy Joseph May (C) 2012 at Travel for Aircraft

engineering ingenuity at the buffalo bill center of the west

Special thanks to Monica Reardon, Smithsonian Affiliations summer intern, for authoring the 2013 #MuseumDayLive! Affiliate blog series.

Patent model, Smith & Wesson Magazine Lever Action Pistol. AF*251055. Image provided by Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

Patent model, Smith & Wesson Magazine Lever Action Pistol. AF*251055. Image provided by Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

The Buffalo Bill Center of the West had its start as a log building in Cody, Wyoming, resembling Buffalo Bill’s TE Ranch house.  Mary Jester Allen intended the museum to be a national shrine and memorial to her uncle, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, and to the early pioneers of the American West.  The collections grew and so did the Museum, with the intent of preserving and conveying the “Spirit of the American West.” 

The Center has participated in Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Live! since becoming a Smithsonian Affiliate in 2008. On view at the Cody Firearms Museum in time for Museum Day Live! this year are 64 unique firearms from the National Firearms Collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.  The exhibit is divided between patent firearms (the prototype design submitted by firearms inventors), firearms with interesting provenance, and international firearms with gorgeous embellishments.  The collection includes a Smith and Wesson Lever Action Patent Model and a Colt Patent.

The Smith and Wesson Lever Action Patent Model was the first lever action prototype firearm designed by Smith and Wesson.  Smith and Wesson’s original company, The Volcanic Repeating Arms Co. was actually named after the nickname for the pistol, the Volcanic pistol. However, this patent did not bring them financial success and they sold the rights to a shirt manufacturer named Oliver Winchester. Winchester would go on to use this patent; his lever action rifles becoming synonymous with the American West.

Revolver, patent model.  Colt Paterson Revolver.  AF*251084.  Image provided by Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

Revolver, patent model. Colt Paterson Revolver. AF*251084. Image provided by Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

The Colt Patent is connected to Samuel Colt, another name famous in the American West, particularly for revolvers.  Colt’s revolver is the first successful percussion firearm ever patented.  The design from this model would go on to be the production type Colt Paterson.  As noted by Ashley Hlebinsky,Firearms Curatorial Resident, “You pretty much cannot see a Western film without seeing a variation of a Colt Revolver and a Winchester Lever Action.”

Hlebinsky would like visitors “to not only see some amazing firearms and representations of engineering ingenuity, but to understand the people who made the firearms and who owned and used them.”  She hopes that the “artifacts are able to convey a story about the people involved in the process – from the trial and error methods of the patent process (some patent models were never produced, while others became infamous) to the experiences of those who owned the guns.”

Is the Smithsonian in your neighborhood? Find out which other Affiliates are participating in #MuseumDayLive on September 28, 2013, here.

 

“Train” your eyes on adventure at the B&O Railroad Museum

Special thanks to Monica Reardon, Smithsonian Affiliations summer intern, for authoring the 2013 Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Live! blog series.

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum is located where the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad came into being during the late 1820s, in Baltimore, Maryland.  The collection grew from a late 19th century trade show exhibit of railroad artifacts.  An actual museum came about in 1953, when the B&O Transportation Museum and its collection were designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior.  The B&O Railroad Museum has been a Smithsonian Affiliate since 1999.  It has on loan a variety of Smithsonian artifacts relating to the history of American railroad.

One of the many Smithsonian artifacts on view at the B&O during Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Live! is the Pioneer, an 1851 locomotive.  The locomotive had once pulled passenger trains, had been used for two Civil war raids, and had been displayed at World’s Fairs and Expositions as an “operating relic.”  It had even been on view at the Smithsonian from 1963-2001.  The B&O teamed up with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to restore the Pioneer to its 1901 appearance.  B&O was able to accommodate the project in its own restoration facility.  The locomotive is a rarity because its type was not used by very many U.S. railroads, and because of its age for a preserved locomotive.

Is the Smithsonian in your neighborhood? Find out which other Affiliates are participating in #MuseumDayLive on September 28, 2013, here.

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“American Sabor” at the American Jazz Museum

Special thanks to Monica Reardon, Smithsonian Affiliations summer intern, for authoring the Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Live! blog series.

Located at the crossroads of 18th & Vine, the Jazz District of Kansas City, Missouri, the American Jazz Museum showcases the sights and sounds of jazz through interactive exhibits, films, programs, and performances.  Since 1997, the museum has focused on the preservation, exhibition and advancement of the story and spirit of jazz. The museum became a Smithsonian Affiliate in 2000.

Coinciding with Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Live!, the museum is displaying American Sabor:  Latinos in U.S. Popular Music, organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.  American Sabor presents the musical contributions of U.S. Latinos from the 1940s to the present with a focus on the social history and individual creativity that produced stars like Tito Puente, Ritchie Valens, Celia Cruz, Carlos Santana and Selena.  Various programs and activities will be featured with the exhibition, such as conversations, performances, and workshops.  The exhibition will be at the Museum from August 1, 2013 to October 27, 2013. Read a special guest post on the American Sabor Blog.

Is the Smithsonian in your neighborhood? Find out which other Affiliates are participating in #MuseumDayLive on September 28, 2013, here.

Recent press from American Sabor at the American Jazz Museum:
Ford Motor Company : Kansas City Council Commemorates Ford Fund for Bringing American Sabor Exhibit to American Jazz Museum