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Coming up in Affiliateland in March 2017

Spring is stirring, and so are Affiliates with fresh activity!

NEBRASKA
National Museum of American History curator Shannon Perich will give a lecture on popular culture in the 1970s at the Durham Museum to complement the SITES exhibition currently on view, Searching for the Seventies: The DOCUMERICA Photography Project, in Omaha, 3.21.                       

Dolores Huerta / by Barbara Carrasco / Silkscreen 1999 / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, © 1999 Barbara Carrasco

RHODE ISLAND

National Portrait Gallery curator Taína Caragol will lecture on Dolores Huerta for Women’s History Month at the Rhode Island Historical Society in Providence, 3.23.                          

NEW YORK
The Rockwell Museum continues with its Smithsonian Speaker Series with a talk by Adriel Luis of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, in Corning, 3.23.

National Museum of American History conservator Sunae Park Evans will speak on conserving First Ladies gowns at the Long Island Museum to complement the exhibition Brilliant Partners: Judith Leiber’s Handbags and the Art of Gerson Leiber, featuring the loan of Mamie Eisenhower’s purse from the Smithsonian, in Stony Brook, 3.26.

MICHIGAN
Rahim Al Haj, Smithsonian Folkways performer and oud player, presents Letters from Iraq at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, 3.24.

The Michigan State University Museum will host a workshop on the Will to Adorn initiative of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in East Lansing, 3.30.

MARYLAND
Members of the Smithsonian will enjoy lunch and tours at the B & O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, 3.30.

 

Affiliates in the news: May edition

Congrats to these Affiliates making news!  If you have a clipping that highlights a collaboration with the Smithsonian or with a fellow Affiliate, or a clipping that demonstrates leadership in education, innovation, and arts/culture/history/science you’d like to have considered for the Affiliate blog, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee

The musicians Terri Davis, left, and Bill Saxton at the opening of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. Credit Yana Paskova for The New York Times The National Jazz

The musicians Terri Davis, left, and Bill Saxton at the opening of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. Credit Yana Paskova for The New York Times

National Jazz Museum in Harlem (New York, NY)
National Jazz Museum in Harlem reopens in new location
On the very same day that the United States Postal Service held a ceremony in Newark, New Jersey, to celebrate the new Sarah Vaughn postage stamp, Harold Closter, Director of Smithsonian Affiliations, told a funny anecdote about his contribution to the history of jazz. Addressing the audience at the opening night of The National Jazz Museum in Harlem’s new location, Closter joked that his contribution to jazz history was the time he was tasked with carrying the train of “the Divine One’s” (as Vaughn was known) dress onstage once.

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem Finds a Permanent Home
The museum found its footing, in incremental steps, under the executive leadership of Loren Schoenberg. A veteran saxophonist, pianist, educator and historian, Mr. Schoenberg brought an air of authority to the museum, while strengthening its bonds with the jazz public and institutions like the Smithsonian.

Saint Louis Science Center (St. Louis, MO)
Saint Louis Science Center selected as Smithsonian Institution Affiliate
“We are very pleased to join the ranks of some very distinguished organizations and institutions across the country,” said Bert Vescolani, president and CEO of the Saint Louis Science Center. “Having the opportunity to share Smithsonian artifacts, including space capsules, aircraft and rare minerals with our visitors will help to spark interest and excitement in science and the important role it plays in our lives.”

Mid-America Science Museum (Hot Springs, AR)
Mid-America Science Museum wins prestigious national award
Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs has landed the Institute for Museum and Library Services National Medal for Community Service. The award stands out as only 10 museums and libraries around the country are awarded it each year.

Visitors at "The Art of Video Games" exhibition. Photo courtesy Frost Art Museum.

Visitors at “The Art of Video Games” exhibition. Photo courtesy Frost Art Museum.

Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum (Miami, FL)
Remember ‘Pac-Man’? Museum exhibit has fun with classic video games
From “Pitfall!” and “Space Invaders” to “Super Mario Brothers,” the collection celebrates the artistic and creative factors involved in creating the games’ virtual landscapes and moving images.

1960s Living Room at the Senator John Heinz History Center. (Photo: Rachellynn Schoen)

1960s Living Room at the Senator John Heinz History Center. (Photo: Rachellynn Schoen)

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
Playing With the Past
There were many other surprises in this exhibit of nearly 500 favorites developed in partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society. For those of you who destroyed or failed to hold on to your childhood treasures, the 8,000 square-foot exhibit may well be worth the trip to Pittsburgh. Your head will be swiveling as Mr. Potato Head, Gumby, Barbie, and action figures from three decades vie for your attention.

National Inventors Hall of Fame
The Greatest Celebration Of American Innovation Inspiring The Future And Honoring The Past
The National Inventors Hall of Fame and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will host the Greatest Celebration of American Innovation May 4-5. The two-day event will include the Induction of 16 innovation trailblazers into the Hall of Fame [at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery] and the unveiling of the expanded National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum.

DuSable Museum of African American History (Chicago, IL)
DuSable Museum named as Smithsonian Institution affiliate
Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History has been granted affiliation status by the Smithsonian Institution. The distinction, announced Thursday, gives the museum access to Smithsonian artifacts and traveling exhibits. The DuSable is the second Chicago facility to receive Smithsonian Affiliate status, joining the Adler Planetarium.

coming up in Affiliateland in April 2016

shiftingPENNSYLVANIA
Rex Ellis, associate director for curatorial affairs at the National Museum of African American History and Culture will deliver the keynote talk at the Shifting Narratives symposium, to be held at the African American Museum in Philadelphia in partnership with the National Park Service, 4.16.

GEORGIA
Smithsonian staff from the National Zoo, National Portrait Gallery and more will speak as part of the People, Passion and Purpose event to be held at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, 4.19.

WASHINGTON
Smithsonian Acting Provost Richard Kurin will speak on the Hope Diamond: The Legendary History of a Cursed Gem at the Northwest Museum of Art and Culture in Spokane, 4.21.

Everyone Eats! South Dakota's Food Heritage history conference in Pierre in April.

Everyone Eats! South Dakota’s Food Heritage history conference in Pierre in April.

RHODE ISLAND
Jeff Post, curator at the National Museum of Natural History, will give a public talk on the Hope Diamond and other gems in the National Gem Collection at the Rhode Island Historical Society in Providence, 4.28.

SOUTH DAKOTA
Susan Evans McClure, Director of the American Food History Project at the National Museum of American History will deliver the keynote talk at the 2016 History conference sponsored by the South Dakota State History Museum in Pierre, 4.29.

visiting Affiliate artifacts… in Washington

In Affiliations, we like to say that our partnerships are two-way streets. We learn as much from our Affiliates as we share. Our Affiliate partners lend ideas, energy and expertise not only to the Smithsonian, but to each other. They also lend artifacts, and often, the very best, rare ones they have in their collections.

Recently, I took an afternoon out of the office to visit the handful of loans currently on view from our Affiliate partners to the Smithsonian. What better pleasure to run in to our Affiliate friends across the country than by discovering pieces from their collections here in Washington?!

A case featuring inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

A case featuring inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame

My first stop on this walkabout was the National Museum of American History and its newly-opened innovation wing. The Inventing in America exhibition features a case that honors inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, our Affiliate in Canton, OH. Visitors can marvel at a selection of inventions made by some of the 500 men and women who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and learn about inventions such as the first intravascular stent from 1984, 3M sticky notes, the first digital camera from 1975, and the 1976 Apple computer.

exhibitcase4_atNMAH.Jan2016

Descriptions of the inventions of Hall of Fame inductees

Notably, the case explains the invention of Kevlar, the high strength fabric (used for example, in bullet-proof vests) invented by Stephanie Kwolek in 1965 while she worked at DuPont. Luckily, our Delaware Affiliate, the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, has an extensive collection of material about Kevlar (including Kwolek’s papers) and lent two artifacts from their collection to bring her story to life.

I wandered over to the National Portrait Gallery to see its Dark Fields of the Republic: Alexander Gardner Photographs, 1859-1872 exhibition. At one time, Gardner worked for the famous photographer Matthew Brady before casting out as an influential documentarian in his own right. The profound Civil War-era images on view in these galleries are haunting still. Among them are important works from three Smithsonian Affiliates.

at_NPG2.Jan2016

Field of Antietam photo book on loan from the National Civil War Museum

The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA lent a photographic book titled the Field of Antietam from 1962. Before photomechanical reproduction, books like this one were made by printing each of the original photographs by hand, adhering them to mounts, and binding them as a book. Knowing this process makes the book feel all that more special.

Our Affiliate in Indianapolis, the Indiana Historical Society lent chilling images of the executions of the Lincoln assassination conspirators. Notably, Alexander Gardner was the only photographer allowed to document the hangings, and his position on the wall of the prison grants a panoramic view that is searing and unforgettable.

Sketchbook of the War, on loan from the Western Reserve Historical Society

Gardner’s Photographic Sketchbook of the War, on loan from the Western Reserve Historical Society

Finally, the Western Reserve Historical Society, our Affiliate in Cleveland, OH also lent several works to the exhibition, including what feels like an incongruous view of a picnic in the woods. Alas, one discovers its main subject is Walt Whitman, who lived in Washington, D.C. for part of the war, writing letters for injured soldiers. It’s an unsettling yet bucolic image among the battlefields represented on the walls around it. Another impressive loan is Gardner’s Photographic Sketchbook of the War in two volumes. This large-scale folio published in 1866 features 100 images from Gardner’s vast collection that successfully distill the chronological narrative of the war in a meaningful and emotional way.

Finally, I ended my excursion at the Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian. This retrospective – her first major one – traces the artistic journey of WalkingStick, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Emerging from the art world of New York in the 1960-70s, the show traces her 40+ year career from early figurative work through her famous diptychs to recent paintings of monumental landscapes with symbolic references to their Native links.

Three Affiliates are represented in this exhibition as well. One of our newest, The Rockwell Museum in Corning, NY lent a diptych, Letting Go/From Chaos to Calm from 1990. These rich paintings of mixed dry media on sculptmetal juxtapose the figurative and abstract, the visual and visceral in stimulating and thought-provoking ways.

Visitors can leaf through a touchable version of WalkingStick's artist book, on loan from the Heard Museum.

Visitors can leaf through a touchable version of WalkingStick’s artist book, on loan from the Heard Museum

The Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ (where the show will travel after Washington) lent two works. One canvas, Cardinal Points from 1983-85, uses acrylic paint and saporified wax to achieve a textured and active surface that rewards prolonged study. Her artist book on loan from the Heard contrasts depictions of herself with the kinds of stereotypical comments about her identity that continue to plague Native people. (Flip through the book here.)

Finally, the Denver Art Museum lent a commanding diptych of a different style, Farewell to the Smokies from 2007. This oil painting on wood blends two views of a majestic mountain landscape, with silhouettes of figures walking across their base. It’s a powerful reminder of Native history, and at the same time, of the indelible legacy of Native peoples on the American landscape.

Thank you Affiliates, for all the ways that you enrich the Smithsonian!

Farewell to the Farewell to the Smokies, 2007. Oil on wood panel, 36 x 72 x 1 in. Denver Art Museum: William Sr. and Dorothy Harmsen Collection, 2008.14. Photo courtesy of the Denver Art Museum

Farewell to the Smokies, 2007. Oil on wood panel, 36 x 72 x 1 in. Denver Art Museum: William Sr. and Dorothy Harmsen Collection, 2008.14. Photo courtesy of the Denver Art Museum

 

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