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Supersonic Challenges: The Installation of the F-5 Fighter Jet

Special thanks for this guest post to Dr. Jorge Perez-Gallego, Curator of Astronomy and Exhibition Developer, Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science.

Riddle us this: what moves faster than the speed of sound and lives in a gallery?

Give up?

Gulf Stream Aquarium Oculus

Gulf Stream Aquarium Oculus at the Frost Museum of Science. Photo by Ra-Haus.

The answer: a Northrop F-5B Freedom Fighter, on loan to the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science from the National Museum of the United States Air Force. The supersonic light fighter is capable of speeds faster than 1,000 miles per hour and you’ll find it hanging right over your head in the Feathers to the Stars exhibition, located in the Batchelor Foundation and Christine Allen Gallery, in the museum’s North Wing.

Frost Science, which officially opened its doors in Downtown Miami’s Museum Park on May 8, is truly a marvel of both architectural and engineering feats. An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum features a three-level 500,000-gallon cone-shaped Gulf Stream Aquarium teeming with hammerhead sharks and dolphins, anchored by a 31-foot oculus lens that peers into the waters above. The Frost Planetarium, one of the most advanced facilities of its kind anywhere in the world, uses a 16-million-color, 3-D 8K visual system to send visitors hurtling through space and into the depths of the ocean. And with a fascinating roster of interactive exhibitions, it’s easy to spend an entire day exploring and being immersed in the power of science.

Now, about that Northrop—exactly how is an 8,000-pound airplane moved into a gallery? Teamwork. Lots of it. For that, Frost Science enlisted the help of an invaluable group of experts, including first-class airplane movers and riggers. The aircraft was brought into the building in three pieces (the fuselage, the wings and the tail) through a tight opening between the Frost Planetarium and the level three terraces. The intricate task took our crew 10 hours from beginning to end.

Breaking through the sound barrier is a relatively recent feat in human history. On October 14, 1947, Captain Charles “Chuck” Yeager became the first to do so. Manning a rocket engine-powered Bell X-1, Yeager reached Mach 1.06— exceeding the speed of sound in level flight. (At 768 miles per hour, Mach 1 is equal to the speed of sound.)

Feathers to the Stars exhibition at Frost Museum of Science. Photo by Ra-Haus

Because sound waves move at a finite speed, moving sources can catch up with the sound waves they emit as they accelerate. As this happens, sound waves pile up in front of them. If the aircraft is fast enough, it can burst through them causing a sonic boom. The loud noise is a consequence of the change in pressure as the aircraft outruns all the sound waves ahead of itself.

That accomplishment came just over 40 years after Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first controlled, sustained flight of a heavier-than-air powered aircraft on December 17, 1903, four miles south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. And just over 20 years before Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. In less than a lifetime, humans mastered the sky and knocked on the door of space exploration.

Feathers to the Stars will carry you through the amazing story how ancient evolution gave birth to animal flight, and how humans used imagination and engineering to get airborne and explore the infinite possibilities of space. The exhibition also features a rocket engine, a rocket tail piece with jet deflector vanes, and a model of a V-2 missile (the world’s first guided missile) on loan from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum.

Ultimately, Feathers to the Stars is a story driven by challenges—and perseverance. Ready for take-off? You can find more information on the exhibition here.

 

Read all about it! Affiliate’s making headlines this month

Genomics, special Smithsonian speakers on the road, famous horse skeletons, and air mail…April was a busy month in Affiliateland! Check out the Affiliates making headlines across the network:

A soldier in Vietnam writes a letter.

A soldier in Vietnam writes a letter. (Photo: National Archives)

Yankee Air Museum (Belleville, MI)
Smithsonian’s Mail Call heading to Yankee Air Museum
“We are very pleased to bring Mail Call to southeastern Michigan,’’ said Kevin Walsh, Executive Director of the Yankee Air Museum in a news release. “This is the natural encore to our recent project that assembled and mailed nearly 100 care packages to our troops in the Middle East. Yankee Air Museum proudly joins the past with the present as we look to the future.’’

North Carolina Museum of History (Raleigh, NC)
Historical immersion
The N.C. Museum of History, which is a Smithsonian affiliate, has a uniform worn by North Carolina aviator Kiffin Rockwell on loan from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Rockwell grew up in Asheville and was the first American pilot to shoot down an enemy aircraft in WWI.

International Museum of the Horse (Lexington, KY)
Beyond The Derby, Meet Lexington Kentucky’s Great Thoroughbreds — Past And Present
Making a name for himself not only through his racing but also as the most successful sire of the second half of the 19th century, Lexington’s remains were kept at the Smithsonian for decades before finally coming back to his namesake. You can now find his bones on display at the International Museum of the Horse.

Numerous Wild West Personnel with Deadwood stagecoach, ca. 1889. Buffalo Bill stands in front of the smaller wagon wheel with Major Burke behind his right shoulder. (Photo: Buffalo Bill Center of the West)

Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Cody, WY)
Wild West PR man mounts comeback, 100 years after death
In suitably Burke-like promotion, historians and descendants of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West P.R. man, a rotund fellow dubbed “Major,” gather at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 12, at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Washington, DC, to “right a historical wrong,” according to event organizers. … Haynes, Fuqua and his sister and cousin, along with their families, plan to attend the Wednesday ceremony. Guest speakers include Dr. Jeremy Johnston, Curator of the Buffalo Bill Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, and Managing Editor of the Papers of William F. Cody; Steve Friesen, Director of the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave in Golden, Colorado; and Dr. Michelle Delaney, Senior Program Officer for History and Culture at the Smithsonian Institution, whose forthcoming book, Art and Advertising in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, is scheduled for release in 2019.

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture (Baltimore, MD)
Lewis Museum Expects Bright Future Under New Management
As the museum continues to reorganize and redevelop, their partnership with the Smithsonian [Institution]’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., has had a positive influence on their progress. Draper said that the Lewis Museum has had a long history with the Smithsonian and the museum is also a Smithsonian affiliate. “We do things with them now,” Draper said. “We premiere their movies in this market, Smithsonian channel movies, and we’re looking at sharing some objects.”

seated guests

Guests at the Rockwell Museum for Smithsonian Speakers Series.

The Rockwell Museum (Corning, NY)
Rockwell Wraps Up Smithsonian Speaker Series This Week
“Eduardo is going to bring his area of expertise which is working in the Latino community,” Rockwell Programs and Events Manager Brett Smith said. “In particular for this program he’s going to be discussing how the Smithsonian is actively insuring that the Latino voice is maintaining a presence throughout the Smithsonian network.”

Peoria Riverfront Museum (Peoria, IL)
Smithsonian’s ‘Genome’ exhibit at the Peoria Riverfront Museum
The “Genome” exhibition will reveal the revolutionary nature of genomic science and unravel the mystery behind it. … The exhibit was developed and produced by the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the National Institutes for Health’s National Human Genome Research Institute in association with Science North.

Did we miss something? Or do you have a clipping you’d like to submit? Email Elizabeth Bugbee (BugbeeE@si.edu). All clippings must have a Smithsonian connection, cover significant research or staff changes. 

Young astronomers gather at the Smithsonian

Youth Summit Logo

Young astronomers from across the nation will convene for an out of this world Youth Summit in Washington, D.C., on February 22nd and 23rd. The astro-photographers, ranging in age from 10 to 14 years old, have all participated in the Smithsonian Institution’s Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos program, held at 13 Smithsonian Affiliate organizations over the past year. Participants used an online portal to control real robotic telescopes located at Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory sites in Cambridge, MA, and Amado, AZ. Using the same tools, technologies, and techniques as professional astronomers, the youth observed planets, stars, and galaxies; analyzed and enhanced their astronomical images with scientific software; and even designed their own robotic telescope components.

student astronomer

A student astronomer at the Carolinas Aviation Museum. Photo credit: Carolinas Aviation Museum.

While in DC these youth astronomers will share the multi-disciplinary knowledge they have gained from Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos with the public. On Wednesday, February 22nd at 1:00pm, the youth will host a poster presentation at the National Air and Space Museum, featuring the astronomical images they have captured and processed. This poster session will be followed by a live presentation from the students, How to Control a Telescope & Create a Colorful Cosmic Image

The Youth Summit also includes events to broaden the students’ understanding of science, technology, and innovation, including programming at the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History. On Thursday, February 23rd, select participants will interact with a forum of Smithsonian educators to learn about their love of space, and discover how technology can enhance access to Smithsonian learning experiences.

Affiliate Participants:

Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos is supported by the Smithsonian Institution’s Youth Access Grants program managed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education and Access. The program is a product of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in partnership with Smithsonian Affiliations, and includes participation in YouthAstroNet, a digital network of youth interested in astronomy funded by the National Science Foundation.

October 2016 is BUSY in Affiliateland!

Thanks to all our Affiliates for such great work!

CONNECTICUT
Affiliations program Director Harold Closter will announce the new affiliation with the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford, 10.5.

IOWA
The Dubuque Museum of Art will hold a videoconference on En Plein Air with the American Art Museum in Dubuque, 10.11.

LOUISIANA
The Smithsonian Associates will be working with three Affiliates – the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, the St. Louis Science Center and the Museum of Arts and Sciences on GEAR UP, a science education program for 8th graders in Lafayette, 10.11-13.

MISSOURI
National Outreach Manager Aaron Glavas will announce the new affiliation with the St. Louis Science Center, and National Air and Space Museum educator Tim Grove will present a book talk at a Member Open House event in St. Louis, on 10.13.

HAWAII
The Pacific Aviation Museum will host an astrophotography workshop with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, in Honolulu, 10.13-14.

ARIZONA
The Heard Museum will open the exhibition Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist from the National Museum of the American Indian, in Phoenix, 10.13

GEORGIA
Staff from the National Museum of Natural History will be giving talks at a private event for the Atlanta Regional Host Committee at the David Sencer Centers for Disease Control Museum in Atlanta, 10.13.

NEVADA
The Las Vegas Natural History Museum will open the SITES exhibition Titanaboa in Las Vegas, 10.15.

NORTH CAROLINA
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will host the Board meeting and associated activities of the Smithsonian Science Education Center in Raleigh, 10.17.

WASHINGTON, DC
Over 120 Affiliate staff will help celebrate the 20th anniversary of Smithsonian Affiliations at the annual conference in Washington, 10.17-20.

TENNESSEE
John Franklin from the National African American Museum will announce the new affiliation with the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, 10.20.

OHIO
National Outreach Manager Jennifer Brundage will give comments at the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology groundbreaking, dedication and dinner event in Akron, 10.22.

American Art Museum curator Virginia Mecklenburg will present a talk on Seeing America with Norman Rockwell at the Springfield Museum of Art in Springfield, 10.25.

COLORADO
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Smithsonian Science Education Center will collaborate on workshops on Building Awareness for Science Education in Denver, 10.24-25.

DELAWARE
National Museum of American History curator Katherine Ott will attend and offer commentary at the Making of Modern Disability conference at the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, 10.28.

 

 

coming up in affiliateland in september 2016

Plenty of activity around the Affiliate network and the Smithsonian as school starts back up again.

WASHINGTON, DC
Presented jointly by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Affiliate, the Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts (Alta Loma, CA), the symposium “Furniture and the Future,” will  celebrate the centennial of Sam Maloof’s birth, at the American Art Museum, 9.16.

maincolorlogoVTMASSACHUSETTS
Affiliations director Harold Closter will be on hand to announce the Smithsonian’s new affiliation with the Springfield Museums, and will kick off Smithsonian Week in Springfield.  National Air and Space Museum scientist John Grant will give a lecture on moving the rovers around Mars.  Archives of American Art curator Mary Savig will present a talk on artists’ handwritten letters from their collection, and early education specialist Carrie Heflin will lead a children’s storytime and gallery exploration around transportation, in Springfield, 9.17-24.

FLORIDA
National Museum of Natural History educator Dr. Briana Pobiner will present a talk on prehistoric human diets on 9.17 at the Museum of Arts and Sciences, followed a few days later by two concerts on bop pianist Horace Silver by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, in Daytona, 9.24.

NATIONWIDE

The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture will open in Washington on September 24.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will open in Washington on September 24.


More than 50 Affiliates will take part in Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Live!, opening their facilities for free as part of this national initiative to invite communities into their local museums and cultural organizations, 9.24.

Multiple Affiliates across the country will help the Smithsonian celebrate the opening of its new museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture.  Check their website for details on events, dates and locations, 9.24.

 

what’s up in Affiliateland in March 2016

CONNECTICUT
Roger Connor, Curator at the National Air and Space Museum, will present a talk on “By the Stars to Victory: Making Aerial Celestial Navigation Practical Between the World Wars” as part of the Stars of the Smithsonian lecture series at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, 3.3.

PENNSYLVANIA
The traveling exhibition Toys of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s opens at the Heinz History Center with two artifact loans from the National Museum of American History – a toy computer from 1965 and a vintage Mr. Potato Head, in Pittsburgh, 3.4.

NATIONWIDE
Over 40 Affiliates nationwide will take place in the special edition of Museum Day Live!, offering free admission and special programming on 3.12.

Carla Dove, Program Manager at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology

Carla Dove, Program Manager at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology

NORTH CAROLINA
Carla Dove, forensic ornithologist at the National Museum of Natural History, will explain to visitors her job in identifying what types of birds collide with airplanes, and how that helps to make aviation a safer industry at the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte, 3.12.

NEW MEXICO
Jeffrey Post, Curator at the National Museum of Natural History, will present a talk on the American gemstone jewelry collection at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque, 3.15.

IDAHO
The Idaho Museum of Natural History opens SITES Titanoboa: Monster Snake exhibition in Pocatello, 3.19.

Briana Pobiner of the National Museum of Natural History holds a hominid skull.

Briana Pobiner of the National Museum of Natural History holds a hominid skull.

MASSACHUSETTS
Dr. Briana Pobiner, educator at the National Museum of Natural History, will present a talk on “Ancient Appetites: What Our Ancestors Really Ate and How We Know” at Framingham State University in Framingham, 3.21.