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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.

2020 Invent It Challenge

Credit: Cricket Media, Inc.

The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and Cricket Media have partnered for the past nine years to bring the Spark!Lab Invent It Challenge to students across the globe. The challenge is a free, STEM-focused contest open to students ages 5-18 that inspires them to solve real-world global issues through creativity and exploration. Smithsonian Affiliates are invited to share this opportunity with their visitors and incorporate it into Affiliate programming!

Here are some easy ways to promote the Challenge to your visitors or use in your own programming:
  • Use this flyer to spread the word about the 2020 Invent It Challenge to your visitors, school groups, and teachers.
  • Post this image across your social media outlets to inform your audience of the wonderful opportunity the Challenge presents for students to use their creativity and knowledge of science to make a positive impact on the world around them.
  • Introduce students to the 7-Step Invention Process using this introduction video and challenge them to think of how it can be applied to help create a solution to a wide variety of local, regional, or global issues.
  • Set up a whiteboard and have students play this interactive game from Smithsonian called “Pick Your Plate” to stimulate conversation around healthy food and how people across the globe might access it.
  • Show this inspirational video for possible ways to help solve the global issue of accessing healthy food and hold a question and answer session with students to get them thinking about what they could invent to address this issue.
Want to learn more about how the 2020 Invent It Challenge aligns with your programming, and what resources are available to you to promote it? Join our webinar on January 22nd, 2020, from 2-3 pm (EST)! Featured presenters include:
  • Sharon Klotz, Head of Invention Education at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
  • Laura Woodside, Senior Vice President of Education Products at Cricket Media, Inc.
  • Patricia Genovese, Teacher of Past Winners from California

RSVP for the webinar!

About the Invent It Challenge
Each year, the Lemelson Center and Cricket Media develop a theme related to an important global issue. By choosing themes that address significant global issues, the Invent It Challenge allows students to realize they can make an important difference in their world by applying their skills, knowledge, and creativity to come up with solutions to the challenges people around the world face daily. The 2020 theme focuses on what students can invent to help improve people’s access to healthy food. The fact that approximately 25% of the world’s 7.8 billion people struggle to access safe, nutritious food illustrates the importance and global nature of this issue.

Credit: Cricket Media, Inc.

To submit an entry, students have to follow the Lemelson Center’s 7-Step Invention Process and document their progress through each step in a PowerPoint or video. To help them get started, students should review the Entry Guide, which includes everything they’ll need:

  • A list of Topics and Resources to help them generate ideas,
  • an Inventor’s Notebook to help them keep track of their progress through the seven steps,
  • and a Rubric to help them self-assess.
When students are ready, they can use this PowerPoint template to document their journey, or they can create their own presentations or videos. Judges at the Lemelson Center and Cricket Media evaluate each entry according to how deeply students engage with each step and how well they document their journey. In addition to great prizes from Faber Castell, Cricket Media, and others, students can win a multi-day trip to Washington, D.C. where their inventions get permanently displayed at the Spark!Lab! Entries are due by 11:59 pm (EST) on April 10, 2020.

Questions before the webinar? Email affiliates@si.edu.

Credit: Cricket Media, Inc.

5 Questions With Barbara Clark Smith

What do we love more than helping you navigate the Smithsonian? Sending someone from the Smithsonian to your neighborhood! Our people are our greatest resource and when new curators join the Smithsonian family, we like to share their stories with our network.

In this edition, we spotlight Barbara Clark Smith, an internationally known historian inImage of a book with a red cover, the Jefferson Bible, Smithsonian edition the field of Revolutionary America. She has spent her career at the National Museum of American History (NMAH) as a curator of early American social and political history. She has curated and co-curated major exhibitions, including The Jefferson Bible; After the Revolution: Everyday Life in America, 1780-1800; and Jamestown, Quebec, and Santa Fe: Three North American Beginnings. She has written both popular and scholarly books and essays and has been a frequent speaker at museums, book festivals, and other public history venues.

  • What was the moment or experience you had that made you interested in Revolutionary America?

My father was a mechanical engineer who loved reading history books in his spare time, so I learned from a young age that studying the past could be fascinating. Luckily, first-rate teachers at Montclair High School in New Jersey fed my love of history. It was the opportunity to work with a truly inspiring historian in graduate school—Prof. Edmund S. Morgan at Yale—that led me to choose the Revolution as a field of study. The Revolution is an exciting topic because events and ideas provoked the participation of men and women of many different backgrounds, beliefs, and social positions. The era shows us both unprecedented unity among North American colonists and profound differences and conflicts as well. There is no simple way to sum it up, and I know I will never fully understand every aspect of the Revolution. It is endlessly fascinating.

  • What excites you about coming to work in the Division of Political and Military History at NMAH?

Through political action, people try to bring their ideas about what is fair and what is right to bear in their societies. While some elements of political history have focused largely on a powerful elite, I enjoy tracing the relationships between political elites and more ordinary Americans. I enjoy working with NMAH museum collections that have long included attention to the political forms used by everyday people, such as protests and petitions as well as the vote. Colleagues in the division focus on different aspects of political history while sharing a dedication to exploring the past in new ways and to bringing our findings, perspectives, and enthusiasms to the public.

  • Since you oversee a vast collection of artifacts, which one is the most special to you and why?

That is impossible to answer! I love Paul Revere’s print of “The Bloody Massacre” of 1770, as it represents a dramatic (if flawed) political claim about the value of ordinary American lives. Along the same lines, I treasure Thomas Paine’s 1776 pamphlet Common Sense, where he introduced radical ideas that caught fire among an unprecedented number of readers. Then there’s a Bible that belonged to Stokeley Sturgis, an ordinary farmer in Delaware who converted to Methodism during the Revolution at the urging of his enslaved man, Richard. Methodist belief moved Sturgis to allow Richard to buy his own freedom. That man, Richard Allen, later founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. Sturgis’s Bible represents a connection between two men of faith who changed each others’ lives.

  • You’re interested in visiting Affiliate communities, what would you like to share with them?

I grew up in the Jersey suburbs and have since traveled and learned from people in many parts of the country and some other parts of the world. I love hearing different perspectives and grappling with some of the contradictions of our national history. That means learning more and more local and regional history, so as to include the variety and richness of US history as much as possible. I am married and have two adult children—one in California, the other in New York. So my husband and I travel fairly often coast to coast. We have built the Midwest and, to a lesser degree, the Southwest into our travels, and we have recently been exploring the deep south. We have so much more to explore and learn, of course!

  • What projects are on the horizon you are most excited about working on?

The public talks that I am presenting are also occasions for me to learn from audiences who offer new perspectives and questions about the founding era. Besides those presentations, I am working with my colleague Kenneth Cohen on a small exhibition case that treats the encounter between Wampanoag people and the Separatists (or “Pilgrims”) who landed at Patuxet / Plymouth in 1620. The 400th anniversary of that encounter offers an opportunity to revisit and rethink those extraordinary events.

The image shows Smithsonian scholar Barbara Clark Smith and her new book, The Freedoms We Lost

Barbara Clark Smith spoke on her new book at the Durham Museum, a Nebraska Affiliate, earlier this year.

Barbara offers the following presentations to Affiliates:

1. “A Freeborn People”: Slavery and the Founders

New findings and insights have transformed historians’ understanding of chattel slavery in the nation’s founding era. During years of revolution and nation-building, Americans both white and black confronted slavery’s powerful impact on their economy, society, and political world. Both slavery and opposition to slavery shaped the era’s most important documents and institutions. A white historian of 18th-century politics and society considers this history and its legacy for today.

2. “Hanging Together”: Unity and Disunity in America’s Founding Era (Available early 2020)

“Now we must hang together, or we shall assuredly hang separately.”
—attributed to Benjamin Franklin, at the signing of the Declaration of Independence

Today’s experience of deep divisions in US society, culture, and politics makes the history of 18th-century nation-building more pertinent than ever. The founding generation needed to reconcile people of divergent religious beliefs, economic interests, social positions, and ethnic backgrounds to create a revolution and form a “more perfect union.” How—and how far—did they hang together? A historian finds answers in English political traditions; an ideal of economic patriotism; ideas of racial identity; African American acts of community-building; and Native American practices of confederation. A Smithsonian curator offers timely perspectives on the founding era.

Interested in bringing Barbara or other Smithsonian scholars to your organization? Contact your National Outreach Manager!

Coming up in Affiliateland in October 2019

Wow! Fall is fully underway with great events happening nationwide.

NEW JERSEY

The Morris Museum will publicly announce their affiliation with the Smithsonian, with remarks by Dr. Richard Kurin, Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large in Morristown, 10.3.

TEXAS

The Irving Arts Center will present An Evening with Author/Archivist Grayson Dantzic, whose book on his late father’s work serves as the inspiration for the traveling exhibition Billie Holiday at Sugar Hill: Photographs by Jerry Dantzic (Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service) in Irving, 10.10. The Center will also host workshops on Teaching Ethnic Studies in Texas with the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, 10.15-16 and 10.29-30.

PENNSYLVANIA

Copy of the book A Fool's Errand with a picture of Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch, on creating the National Museum of African American History and CultureSmithsonian Secretary Dr. Lonnie Bunch will be discussing his new book A Fool’s Errand at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, 10.14.

MASSACHUSETTS

Framingham State University continues its Moon Landing in Context project with a talk by National Air and Space Museum curator Dr. Martin Collins on The Future of Space Exploration: An Ethical Perspective, in Framingham, 10.16.

NORTH CAROLINA

The Greensboro History Museum hosts a lecture by National Museum of American History conservator Dr. Sunae Park Evans on Conserving Democracy in Greensboro, 10/17.

 

Coming Up in Affiliateland in September 2019

As we fall into autumn, Affiliates are springing ahead with great programming across the nation.

TEXAS
The Irving Arts Center will open the SITES’ exhibition Billie Holiday at Sugar Hill: Photographs by Jerry Dantzic in Irving, 9.14.

NATIONWIDE
Over 90 Affiliates are taking part in the annual Smithsonian magazine Museum Day, offering free admission on 9.21.

SOUTH CAROLINA
The Children’s Museum of the Upstate will hold a teachers’ night featuring an educator from the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, in Greenville, 9.21.

RHODE ISLAND
The Rhode Island Historical Society will feature a lecture about sports history by National Museum of American History’s curator, Eric Jentsch, in Providence, 9.21.

Upcoming lecture in Framingham examines ‘More than “Just Uhura”‘

MASSACHUSETTS
Framingham State University continues its Moon Landing in Context series with a talk on Star Trek, civil rights, and space history by National Air and Space Museum curator Margaret Weitekamp, in Framingham, 9.26.

NEW YORK
National Museum of American History curator Madelyn Shaw will give a talk on the history of postwar American fashion at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook, 9.26.

FLORIDA 
The Museum of Arts and Sciences continues its annual Septembers with the Smithsonian with concerts by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, in Daytona, 9.28.

OHIO  
Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission exhibition from SITES opens at the Cincinnati Museum Center, 9.28.

coming up in Affiliateland in May 2019

Happy Spring!

ILLINOIS
Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar Dr. Richard Kurin will give a talk on the History of America in 101 Objects at the Peoria Riverfront Museum in Peoria, 5.2.

NATIONWIDE
11 Affiliates will collaborate with the National Museum of American History to present a National Youth Summit on Woman Suffrage: The Ballot and Beyond on 5.21. Thanks to the Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI); Cerritos Library (Cerritos, CA); Conner Prairie Interactive History Park (Fishers, IN); the Durham Museum (Omaha, NE); Heritage Farm Museum and Village (Huntington, WV); History Colorado (Denver, CO); International Storytelling Center (Jonesborough, TN); Ohio History Connection (Columbus, OH); The Witte Museum (San Antonio, TX); Upcountry History Museum (Greenville, SC); and UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures (San Antonio, TX).

TEXAS
The Frontiers of Flight Museum will open the Art of the Airport Tower exhibition from the National Air and Space Museum in Dallas, 5.13.