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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.

Road Report: Smithsonian Dazzles in New Mexico

The beauty of the “Land of Enchantment” began gradually as the plane started its relatively smooth descent over the Sandia Mountains into Albuquerque, home of two Smithsonian Affiliates and the nature of my visit. As I drove to my first destination of the day-National Museum of Nuclear Science & History-I understood why the Sandia Mountains got its name as the reddish hue of the coming sunset came into view. (Sandia means watermelon.)

I arrived at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History to find Museum Director, Jim Walther, and Deputy Director, Greg Shuman, working tirelessly painting an exhibition space for the upcoming show “Art of the Reactor.” Jim extended me enough time to show some new collection additions, including a Delorean, which fit nicely in the “Pop Culture” gallery and explained how he has spent the past few days fielding media inquiries regarding the “hydrogen bomb” and its potential repercussions.

Chris highlights the Apollo Capsule (NASM) and details the story behind the lettering on the capsule.

Chris highlights the Apollo Capsule (NASM) and details the story behind the lettering on the capsule.

Friday, I woke up early to begin my three hour drive through southwestern New Mexico to Alamogordo, site of the New Mexico Museum of Space History and home to over 30 artifacts from the National Air and Space Museum (NASM). I found Chris Orwoll, Division Director, at the Museum Support Center, appraising a huge collection donation from California. Chris showed me the lunar rover from NASM and explained the details for the restoration project, scheduled to be completed in 2017. Chris took me to the main museum complex, located in the foothills of the Lincoln National Forest and provides a magnificent view of the Tularosa Basin, home of Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range. Chris highlights the Apollo Capsule (NASM) and details the story behind the lettering on the capsule.

The culmination of my visit ended with a series of events at one of our newest Affiliates-New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science for the opening of the “Post Diamond Tiara” exhibit. A year in the making, the Post Diamond Tiara, on loan from the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), was unveiled by new Executive Director, Margaret (Margie) Marino to the “oohs” and “aahs” of the excited crowd of volunteers, donors and general public. The events were capped with the formal presentation of Certificate of Affiliation. The Post Diamond Tiara excitement will continue on March 15, when NMNH curator, Jeffery Post, will present a lecture on this and other artifacts of the NMNH gem collection.

My flight home allowed me to reflect on my stay in New Mexico and as with so many other trips, I understood and appreciated all the hard work, energy and enthusiasm the Affiliate staff members put into maintaining and showcasing their partnership with the Smithsonian. The reward was seen on the faces of the visitors seeing a thousand glistening diamonds for the first time and an appreciative smile came across my face.

So if you find yourself in New Mexico or any of the other 44 states where Affiliates reside, I encourage you to stop in and put a smile on your face.

what’s going on in Affiliateland, December 2015 – January 2016

Affiliates finished the year off with a bang, and are charging into 2016, full steam ahead.  Happy holidays to all!

SI curator Mary Savig signs her book and talks with visitors to RIHS about artists' handmade holiday cards.

SI curator Mary Savig signs her book and talks with visitors to RIHS about artists’ handmade holiday cards.

RHODE ISLAND
Archives of American Art curator Mary Savig gave a lecture on handmade holiday cards by 20th century artists at the Rhode Island Historical Society in Providence, 12.5.

NORTH CAROLINA
The Schiele Museum of Natural History & Lynn Planetarium opened SITES’ Titanoboa: Monster Snake exhibition in Gastonia, 12.5.

WYOMING
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West reopened its popular Journeying West: Distinctive Firearms from the Smithsonian exhibition with 50 artifacts on loan from the National Museum of American History, in Cody, 12.5.

SOUTH DAKOTA
The South Dakota State Historical Society hosted a public program around the presentation of the Smithsonian Channel’s Stories from the Vault: Let’s Eat show, in Pierre, 12.15.

CALIFORNIA
Cerritos Library opens SITES’ I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story exhibition in Cerritos, 1.3.16.

The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum opens IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas exhibition in Palm Springs, 1.19.16.

NEW MEXICO

The Post Diamond Tiara with matching brooches made in the mid-19th century will soon be on view in New Mexico.

The Post Diamond Tiara with matching brooches made in the mid-19th century will soon be on view in New Mexico.

The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science will announce their affiliation with the opening of the Post Diamond Tiara exhibition featuring the object which is on loan from the National Museum of Natural History, in Albuquerque, 1.9.16.

COLORADO
Smithsonian Undersecretary Dr. Richard Kurin will give a public lecture on his book The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects at History Colorado in Denver, 1.11.16.

IOWA
Affiliations director Harold Closter will announce the Smithsonian’s new affiliation with the Dubuque Museum of Art in Dubuque, 1.12.16.

CONNECTICUT
Carlene Stephens, curator at the National Museum of American History, will present a talk on Connecting the World in Time as part of the Stars of the Smithsonian lecture series at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, 1.14.16.

FLORIDA
The Art of Video Games exhibition, organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, will open at the Frost Art Museum in Miami, 1.23.16.

PUERTO RICO
The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico will host the traveling exhibition, Impressionism and the Caribbean featuring the self-portrait of painter Pío Casimiro Bacener on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, in San Juan, 1.29.16.