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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.

Coming Up in Affiliateland in April 2021

Happy Earth Month everyone!

A museum visitor looks at a display of various people of color.

“The Bias Inside Us” features Spanish photographer Angélica Dass’ Humanae project, which reflects on the color of skin that challenges the concept of race. Photo by Science Museum of Minnesota.

IOWA
The Bias Inside Us exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service opens at the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, 4.17.

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rican Affiliates, the Museo de Arte and Museo y Centro de Estudios Humanísticos, offer a workshop on The Conservation of Caribbean Culture: Training Future Conservators of Cultural Patrimony, 4.19-23.

MASSACHUSETTS
Teen filmmakers in the McAuliffe Center’s STEM mentorship program will present their ideas for addressing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as part of Framingham State University’s Science on State Street Fair: Planet Earth Edition, 4.20.

The Springfield Museums will feature Dr. Joyce Bedi, historian at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History, for a talk on Who Invented the Environment?, in Springfield, 4.22.

A scientist examines a skull.

Dr. Kari Bruwelheide measuring a cranium. Image Credit: Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution.

OHIO
Dr. Kari Bruwelheide, forensic anthropologist at the National Museum of Natural History, will lead a virtual workshop for teachers as part of the Rethinking Jamestown professional development activities organized by the Springfield Museum of Art, in Springfield, 4.21-22.

NEW YORK
The Rockwell Museum will host a virtual dialogue with guest curator Emily Zilber and curator-in-charge Nora Atkinson about the Forces of Nature: Renwick Invitational 2020 exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery as part of the Museum’s Environments Examined Spring 2021 lecture series, in Corning, 4.29.

Coming Up in Affiliateland in March 2021

Is that spring we see coming?!

NATIONWIDE
Smithsonian Affiliations wraps up the collaboration with the National Museum of American History and its Pandemic Perspectives series with the talk, How the National Museum of American History is Collecting COVID-19, on 3.23. Thank you to all the Smithsonian Affiliates that helped us make the series a success! Previous recordings can be found at https://americanhistory.si.edu/pandemic-perspectives

Smithsonian Affiliations kicks off Women’s History Month with a weekly virtual series co-hosted by Affiliates. The series begins Wednesday, March 3. Contact your local Affiliate or affiliates@si.edu for more details.

Lego sets showing women innovators in space history, positioned in a gallery at the National Air and Space Museum

Happy Women’s History Month from the original prototypes of the  LEGO® Ideas “Women of NASA” set displayed in front of the Apollo Lunar Module in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, August 20, 2018. Credit: National Air and Space Museum

TEXAS
The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History will be hosting a ‘drive-in’ screening showcasing two-minute videos that their teen collaborators created for a Smithsonian Earth Optimism initiative to cultivate youth action for the environment, in Fort Worth,  3.5.

FLORIDA
Tampa Bay History Center will host a virtual lecture by National Museum of American History curator Lisa Kathleen Graddy on Creating Icons: How We Remember Woman Suffrage, 3.17.

 

Coming Up in Affiliateland in February 2021

Welcome to a new year of collaboration!

NATIONWIDE
Eight Affiliates present two more opportunities to view the Pandemic Perspectives: Stories through Collections virtual programs in collaboration with the National Museum of American History:
Race and Place: Yellow Fever and the Free African Society in Philadelphia on 2.2.21
Essential Workers: Prestige Versus Pay on 2.16.21

The eight participating Affiliates are:

Professional tennis player Althea Gibson in full motion hitting a difficult tennis shot.

RHODE ISLAND
The International Tennis Hall of Fame (Newport) will present a talk by Dr. Damion Thomas, Curator of Sports at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, on Althea Gibson and the History of Tennis on 2.24.21. Register here.

MASSACHUSETTS

The Springfield Museums (Springfield) will feature Dr. Dorothy Moss, Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the National Portrait Gallery in a conversation with artists about their artistic processes as learning experiences, 2.11.21.  Later in the month, the Museums feature Dr. Teasel Muir-Harmony, Curator at the National Air and Space Museum to discuss her new book, Operation Moonglow: A Political History of Project Apollo on 2.25.21.

WISCONSIN

The Civil War Museum, part of Kenosha Public Museums (Kenosha) will host Doretha Williams, Program Manager for the Robert F. Smith Fund at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, for a virtual program in collaboration with the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative about Black Women in the Central Plains 1890-1920.

 

Pandemic Perspectives

The National Museum of American History is launching an engaging series of free virtual colloquium presentations that combine questions raised by the current pandemic with explorations of historic objects in the national collections. Topics to be explored include Voting During a Pandemic and How Your Ancestors Had Fun at Home While Quarantining. Curators and historians will virtually share objects, using them as a springboard to dialogue.

Colloquium schedule (each program to be held via Zoom 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM)

Affiliates, if you would like to invite your audiences or stakeholders to join, please email affiliates@si.edu to register your interest.

Online Programs in 2020:

  • September 29, 2020: Fear and Scapegoating during a Pandemic
    Moderator: Alexandra Lord, Chair and Curator, Division of Medicine, National Museum of American History
  • October 6, 2020: Pandemic Pursuits: How Your Ancestors Had Fun at Home While Quarantined
    Moderator: Arthur Daemmrich, Director, Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History
  • November 3, 2020: Voting During a Pandemic
    Moderator: Peter Liebhold, Curator, Division of Work and Industry, National Museum of American History
  • November 24, 2020: Finding Comfort in a Pandemic: Chocolate, Alcohol, Bread, Pizza, Sushi, and other Comfort Foods
    Moderator: Peter Liebhold, Curator, Division of Work and Industry, National Museum of American History
  • December 1, 2020: How Are Museums and Governments Collecting Around COVID-19?
    Moderator: Alexandra Lord, Chair and Curator, Division of Medicine and Science, National Museum of American History
  • December 15, 2020: Looking Good on that Zoom Call: Cosmetics, Personal Care, Clothing, and Decoration of Space
    Moderator: Arthur Daemmrich, Director, Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History

Online Programs in 2021

  • January 5, 2021: Racing for Vaccines
    Moderator: Arthur Daemmrich, Director, Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History
  • January 19, 2021: Mask Up!
    Moderator: Peter Liebhold, Curator, Division of Work and Industry, National Museum of American History
  • February 2, 2021: Race and Place: Yellow Fever and the Free African Society in Philadelphia
    Moderator: Alexandra Lord, Chair and Curator, Division of Medicine and Science, National Museum of American History
  • February 16, 2021: Essential Workers: Prestige Versus Pay
    Moderator: Alexandra Lord, National Museum of American History, Chair and Curator, Division of Medicine and Science

If you are interested, please email affiliates@si.edu or contact your National Outreach Manager directly.

Happy Retirement, Rosemary Phillips: You’ve been a great friend to Affiliates!

Rosemary goofing around with the Affiliations staff at NMAH.

Since 2000, Rosemary Phillips has been a program manager at the National Museum of American History (NMAH), handling a myriad of requests from Smithsonian Affiliates, from moving a Civil War-era locomotive, to the loan of over 50 firearms, to championing a performance of early American music and much more. Throughout her decades-long association with Affiliates, Rosemary has displayed the friendliness, commitment, diplomacy, and genuine care for Affiliates that has made the relationship between the Affiliations Program and the National Museum of American History one of the most successful collaborations at the Smithsonian. After 42 years, Rosemary retired on January 3, 2020.

Rosemary started her career at the Smithsonian as a graduate intern at the National Collection of Fine Arts (which has since become the Smithsonian American Art Museum). She started at the National Museum of History and Technology (now the National Museum of American History) in collection management services. She made significant contributions to NMAH’s culture over the years, including leading a staff development committee, helping to create the Museum’s peer recognition awards and Museum-wide cross training program, and creating an annual Girl Scout Day which brought an average of 500 girls and troop leaders to the Museum each year.

After joining the Affiliations Program at NMAH, Rosemary has been essential in realizing some of the biggest accomplishments in the Affiliate network. Here are a few notable ones:

Rosemary with colleagues at the opening of the National Museum of Industrial History.

– When the Durham Museum (Omaha, NE) became an Affiliate in 2002, Rosemary was instrumental in securing a significant number of artifact loans, a collaboration that took over two years. She did the same when the National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia, PA) opened in their new building in 2010.

– Rosemary spearheaded the collaboration with the National Museum of Industrial History, the Smithsonian’s first Affiliate, that opened to the public in 2016 with over 100 artifact loans from NMAH.

Rosemary with former Affiliations Director Harold Closter and his wife at the grand opening of the National Museum of American Jewish History

– She championed the collaboration between Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA) and NMAH’s Religion initiative, which led to a weekend of events featuring a performance of Native and English music traditions, Waking the Ancestors: Recovering the Lost Sacred Sounds of Colonial America. 

There are countless more examples which demonstrate Rosemary’s persistence, good cheer, and dedication to being of service to Affiliates, in ways that brought the Smithsonian to their communities – and Affiliate expertise to the Smithsonian – in meaningful and impactful ways. If you have an anecdote to share about your relationship with Rosemary, please post it below in comments! 

Rosemary helps a curator from a New York Affiliate evaluate Mamie Eisenhower’s purse for loan.

Rosemary with the staff of the Heinz History Center and NMAH in Pittsburgh.

Rosemary (in blue) watches over first-person Pilgrim interpreters leading visitors in traditional songs at NMAH.

Rosemary with a delicious thank you from an Affiliate in Hershey, PA.