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Kudos Affiliates! May 2018

Congratulations to these Affiliates on their recent accomplishments! Do you have a kudos to share? Please send potential kudos to Aaron Glavas, GlavasC@si.edu.

Funding

The PNC Foundation announced a five-year, $1 million grant to Union Station, Kansas City, Inc. (Kansas City, MO) in support of science education that will benefit approximately 14,000 members of the community, with a focus on Head Start preschool students, children, and families. The funding, made possible through the PNC Foundation as part of its signature philanthropic early education initiative, PNC Grow Up Great, will also support the establishment of a multipurpose classroom space at Science City and touch an additional 260,000 annual visitors to the science center. The grant is PNC’s largest to date in Kansas City.

Fred Beans Family of Dealerships donated $25,000 to Mercer Museum for its educational program, National History Day, through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program. This gift will fund the Mercer’s regional program for students in Pennsylvania’s Bucks and Montgomery counties. Students choose historical topics related to an annual theme and conduct extensive primary and secondary research involving interviews and visits to libraries, archives, museums and historic sites. During the competition, they present their work in original papers, exhibits, performances and documentaries. Students who win at the regional level will go on to participate in statewide and national competitions.

NASA has awarded a $750,000 grant to a research effort led by Wichita State University to develop more efficient and compact thermal and water management systems. The grant will also support engineering outreach activities at the partner universities as well as the Kansas Cosmosphere.

Larimer County recently awarded 11 small grants totaling $20,646 to neighborhood and community projects designed to connect people to the outdoors and to promote education and sustainability. This includes a grant for $3,000 to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to study mass extinction and conduct geologic fieldwork and lab analysis of the Lykins Formation at Red Mountain Open Space.

L to R: George Guastello – Union Station; Kim Herman and Dale Klose – PNC Bank; Mayor Sly James – Kansas City, Missouri.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced $18.6 million in grants for 199 humanities projects across the country including the following Affiliate projects:

University of Arizona: $298,000
Project Title: Implementing a Consolidated Collections Information System
Project Description: The continued development and completion of a single, searchable public database for the Arizona State Museum‘s ethnographic and archaeological collections, which document 13,000 years of cultural heritage in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The database, which contains more than 360,000 entries, will include links to archival records of original excavation notes and reports.

Florida International University Board of Trustees: $91,309
Project Title: War and Healing: A Century of Veterans’ Reintegration
Project Description: A two-day intensive training seminar followed by two four-week discussion programs for veterans in the Miami, Florida, area.

Florida International University Board of Trustees: $6,000
Project Title: Balloon Flight and British Literature of the 18th and 19th Centuries
Project Description: Research and writing for a book on the emerging technology of ballooning in 18th-century England and its impact on literature and the techniques of omniscient narration.

Abbe Museum: $50,000
Project Title: Access to Native American Collections at the Abbe Museum                                              Project Description: The Abbe Museum holds 70,000 objects documenting the 12,000 year history of the five Wabanaki Nation tribes that inhabit northern New England, Maritime Canada, and Quebec. The project will develop a pilot program to work with local tribal leaders to digitize these artifacts, collect information about their history, and share the collections with the public in a way that respects tribal customs.

University of Massachusetts, Boston: $181,000
Project Title: Digitizing Plimoth Plantation’s 17th-Century Historical Archaeology Collections
Project Description: Cataloging, digitization, and creation of access to the archaeological collections connected to the early colonists of Plimoth Plantation. The project encompasses field notes, plans, drawings, and photos associated with the excavations of four key sites. Materials will be made accessible to the public, teachers, students, and scholars via an online database and finding aids.

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center (Ohio History Connection) (Fremont): $1,000
Project Title: NEH on the Road: Jacob Riis

Upcountry History Museum (Greenville): $1,000
Project Title: NEH on the Road: Power of Children

NEH on the Road is a traveling exhibition program presented in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities and Mid-America Arts Alliance, to strengthen communities and improve lives through extraordinary cultural experiences.

Leadership Changes

After 13 years, Devon Akmon will leave his post as director of the Arab American National Museum (Dearborn). Akmon’s last day is May 31. A national search is underway to select the next leader of the museum, the first and only of its kind focused on Arab-American history and culture.

Dr. Doug Bradburn, new president and CEO of George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

 

The Pacific Aviation Museum Board of Directors named Elissa Lines new Executive Director for the museum. Lines, who joined the Museum in 2013, previously served as the executive director of development at the museum.

The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association announced the selection of its current library director, Dr. Doug Bradburn, to serve as the new president and chief executive officer of George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

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.

 

 

affiliates in the news: july/august 2016 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

DuSable Museum of African American History (Chicago, IL)
DuSable Gala honors rising stars and history-makers
Harold Closter, director of Smithsonian affiliations, presented Irmer with a certificate recognizing the DuSable’s official status as an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. “Dr. Margaret Burroughs was a visionary who built this museum from scratch and recognized the need to build a museum from within the community for the community,” Closter said.

Orange County Regional History Center (Orlando, FL)
Preserving love and sorrow: The History Center collects Pulse tributes
Perkins said he conferred last week with curators at the Smithsonian in Washington about the challenge of keeping the keepsakes. But now is still “far too soon” for the history center’s executive director to envision a permanent exhibit of the June 12 tragedy that killed 49 people and wounded more than 50 others inside the nightclub which served as a gathering place in Orlando for the LGBTQ community, he said.

Efforts underway to preserve memorial for Pulse shooting victims at Dr. Phillips Center
“It is our mission to make sure the  community’s response is not forgotten and is memorialized in its own way for future generations,” said Michael Perkins, manager of the Orange County Regional History Center. Employees from the history center will begin the preservation process. The plan is to save items left in honor of the victims. Teams will box everything up and document each detail.

Museum of Design Atlanta (Atlanta, GA)
Art review: User-centric design focus of inspiring MODA show
Not only considering the needs of the user, “Beautiful Users,” which originated at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, also looks at how users have “hacked” existing products. It’s one of the most entertaining, and also inspiring, segments of the show because their inventions show the ingenuity of ordinary people in adapting design to fit their needs.

Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West (Scottsdale, AZ) (Affiliate to Affiliate loan)
Historic ‘Lone Wolf’ exhibition opens at Scottsdale’s Museum of the West
“This wonderful exhibition is made possible through the support of numerous institutions and private collectors who contributed in various ways, including the Museum of the Plains Indian and Crafts Center, the Montana Historical Society, the Sheldon Museum of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Adelante Foundation, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and the Butterfly Lodge Museum.”

Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI)
Small Arab-American Museum Attracts Diverse Visitors
The museum has garnered unusual national attention for a facility of its size winning accrediation from the American Alliance of Museums in record time and being picked as one of 210 Smithsonian Institution affiliate museums, meaning the two organizations share artifacts, exhibits, and educational programming.

Arab-American museum steps into second decade
AANM has become a key cultural player in Metro Detroit,  won coveted recognition from the Smithsonian Institution, and — perhaps most significant, given its mission — succeeded in attracting half its 2015 attendance of 52,189 from outside the Arab community.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science (Dallas, TX)
Research on massive vertebrae sheds new light on Alamosaurus sanjuanensis
“The paper is just the culmination of almost two decades of hard work and incredible collaboration and partnerships between so many agencies and institutions,” said Tykoski. “From people at UT-D, Big Bend National Park, Bell Helicopter, the Smithsonian Institution, the Vertebrate Paleontology Lab at UT-Austin, the dedicated staff and volunteers at the Perot Museum, and other paleontologists who offered advice and insight about these animals, so many people contributed to getting the science done and the information out there for the world to see.”

Historic Annapolis (Annapolis, MD)
Historic Annapolis partners with Smithsonian
Smithsonian Affiliations “admires” Historic Annapolis for its work to preserve the structures and stories of Annapolis, Closter said. The city has important history, he said, and it can dissipate if people aren’t taking care of it. “We complement each other,” Closter said. “We tell a national story and they tell a local story, but there’s so many places where we intersect.”

Historic Annapolis partners with Smithsonian
The Annapolis nonprofit is now a part of the Smithsonian Affiliations program and will have the opportunity to borrow items from the Smithsonian museums, as well as organize educational collaborations and traveling exhibitions, said Carrie Kiewitt, spokeswoman for Historic Annapolis. The organization is one of six affiliates in Maryland and one of 200 in the country.

Mennello Museum of Art (Orlando, FL)
Pop Art Prints from the Smithsonian pack a serious punch at the Mennello
There will also be the Family Days the Mennello is known for, with kids’ activities involving Lichtenstein’s dots and a “Make Your Own Warhol” event. But, Fitzgerald says, “I want more things for adults to do. We need to connect what’s going on in here with the outside world.” Pop Art Prints seems like the ideal show for the Mennello to bridge the gap between kids and adults, between folk and fine art.

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
Shaler Area teacher helps to test Smithsonian online lab for schools
Gray was one of 33 middle school teachers in 15 Allegheny County schools to test out the new Smithsonian Learning Lab over the last school year, Naranjo said. The opportunity was made available through the Allegheny Intermediate Unit and Heinz History Center thanks to a grant from the Grable Foundation.

Idaho Museum of Natural History (Pocatello, ID)
Smithsonian water exhibit traveling through Idaho
Idaho Humanities Council Director Rick Ardinger believes the latest Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit to grace the state is especially timely, given the Legislature’s recent commitments to maintaining a stable water supply… The exhibit will be displayed in six Idaho cities, moving to the Sun Valley Museum of History in Ketchum from July 16 through Aug. 28, to the Idaho Museum of Natural History in Pocatello from Sept. 3 through Oct. 16…

Denver Art Museum (Denver, CO)
Denver Art Museum to display original ‘Star Wars’ costumes
‘Star Wars’ fans are in for a treat served up by the Denver Art Museum this November, 2016. The ‘Star Wars and the Power of Costume’ exhibit begins Nov. 13, 2016. Fans will get the chance to listen to the music of John Williams while they tour through a display of over 60 original costumes from all seven of the films. Get those phones and cameras ready as attendees will get to meet and take photos with ‘Star Wars’ characters. The costumes of ‘Star Wars’ are not only pop culture, they are a part of most people’s lives. Most any person can be shown a costume and they can instantly identify the character by the brilliance in the design.

High Museum of Art (Atlanta, GA)
Walker Evans Wrote the Story of America With His Camera
Evans, who was born in 1903 in St. Louis and died 72 years later, is the subject of a long-overdue traveling exhibition of 120 pictures—a relatively small sample of his remarkable life’s work—organized by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta (a Smithsonian Affiliate), the Josef Albers Museum Quadrat in Bottrop, Germany, and the Vancouver Art Galley. The show will be in Atlanta from June 11 until September 11.

Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle (Doylestown, PA)
Mercer Museum in Doylestown now Smithsonian affiliate
This year, as the Doylestown museum celebrates its centennial anniversary, it has another honor to fete. Last month, museum officials announced that it was named a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate, along with its sister site, Fonthill Castle, Henry Mercer’s former home. The designation makes them two of 210 affiliates in the country and forges a relationship with the Smithsonian that allows the institutions to share knowledge, artifacts, and exhibitions.

2 Bucks County Museums Named Smithsonian Affiliates
Two Bucks County institutions have been named affiliates of the Smithsonian Institution, giving them a wider cache of collections and artifacts, exhibitions, research and educational collaborations.

California African American Museum (Los Angeles, CA), National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati, OH), DuSable Museum of African American History (Chicago, IL)
12 Incredible Black History Museums Everyone Should Visit

Bakken Museum (Minneapolis, MN)
Bakken Museum is first in Minnesota to be a Smithsonian Affiliate
The Bakken Museum has been named a Smithsonian Affiliate which means it will share research, collaborate on exhibitions, and borrow items from the Smithsonian’s 136 million piece collection. It’s the first Smithsonian Affiliate in Minnesota, but one of more than 200 in 45 states, Puerto Rico and Panama.

Minneapolis’ Bakken Museum is first Minnesota affiliate of Smithsonian
The affiliation means a long-term partnership between the Bakken and Smithsonian Institution with opportunities to collaborate on projects.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor (Honolulu, HI)
Lessons Learned from History
Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii held a regional youth summit May 17 at the museum on the topic of Japanese American incarceration during World War II.  The program engaged young people in a conversation about the nation’s past and its lessons for today, and was sponsored by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in collaboration with affiliated museums.

Saint Louis Science Center (St. Louis, MO)
Science Center now a Smithsonian 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.”

Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, ME)
Abbe Museum’s new exhibition tells difficult Native American stories
“It means not following the standard narrative of how the country was settled and bringing in broader perspectives and multiple points of view,” said Harold Closter, director of Smithsonian Affiliations, which encourages partnerships among museums and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. “It means recognizing there were people here and those people are still here and they are part of the fabric of our history and our national culture.”

Upcountry History Museum (Greenville, SC)
Museum explores political campaigns
“We always do try to link the national traveling exhibit with something local,” says Elizabeth Gunter, the museum’s director of programs and marketing. “As part of that exhibit, we are getting objects on loan from the Strom Thurmond Institute, Clemson’s special collection. … In addition to Clemson, we’re also getting objects on loan from the Smithsonian, we’re getting objects from the National Portrait Gallery.”

Kudos! Winter 2014

Congrats to these Affiliates on their recent accomplishments.

FUNDING
HistoryMiami (Miami, FL) has been awarded $150,000 by the Knight Foundation as one of the 2014 South Florida Knight Arts Challenge Winners. The award will be used to tell Miami stories through images by creating a photography center at the museum focused on curating exhibitions and engaging the community in documenting life in South Florida.

The Justice Planetarium at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center (Hutchinson, KS) will undergo a $400,000 renovation in February, thanks to contributions from the Walter E. & Velma G. Justice Fund for Reno County and from Dave and Dee Dillon.

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA) has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Allegheny Regional Asset District board. The funds will be allocated for general operating expenses.

The Reynolds family and Reynolds Farm Equipment have donated $1 million to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park (Fishers, IN). The Reynolds family placed no restrictions on its use but the museum has mentioned they will use the funds towards a future project.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor (Honolulu, HI) received a $1.5 million grant from the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust. The gift combined with the recent $550,000 State of Hawaii Grants in Aid allocation and a $100,000 grant from the Freeman Foundation will be used for interior restoration of the iconic Ford Island Control Tower Operations Building.

The United States Army Heritage and Education Center (Carlisle, PA) will be the recipient of a $2 million state grant, recently awarded to the Army Heritage Center Foundation.  The funds will be used to add 37,000 sf to the visitor center.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens (Staten Island, NY) will receive $7.43 million from New York City’s capital budget, for the continued restoration of its Music Hall.

Several Affiliates have been selected as one of 919 nonprofit organizations nationwide to benefit from the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works Grant:

  • Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ) – $10,000 to support Free Summer Sundays in July, a multidisciplinary program featuring Latino and Native American musicians, dancers, and storytellers.
  • Denver Art Museum (Denver, CO)- $25,000 to support the exhibition and catalogue “Super Indian: Fritz Scholder 1967-1980.”
  • Robert W. Woodruff Arts Center, Inc. (on behalf of High Museum of Art) (Atlanta, GA)- $60,000 to support the exhibition “Alex Katz: This is Now.”
  • City of Dearborn, Michigan– $10,000 to support the architectural design and related community engagement and outreach for the development of an artist-in-residence unit in the City Hall Artspace Lofts. Facilitated by Artspace Projects Inc., the project will include all design stages for the renovation and adaptive reuse of a unit in the concourse of the existing Dearborn City Hall, as part of a larger development of cultural facilities and space for artists and arts organizations, including the Arab American National Museum.
  • City of East Lansing, Michigan– $30,000 to support the Great Lakes Folk Festival produced by the Michigan State University Museum.
  • Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens (Staten Island, NY)- $10,000 to support residencies for emerging artists and related activities. Residents will live and work alongside established faculty artists with diverse backgrounds and practices. The project will focus on performing artists.
  • International Storytelling Association (on behalf of the International Storytelling Center) (Jonesborough, TN) – $15,000 to support Storytelling Live!, a series of residencies for master storytellers. The program will showcase storytellers representing a broad range of oral traditions from all over the world. In addition to storytelling, the master artists will offer workshops and present special programs intended to serve seniors and youth.
  • Buffalo Bill Memorial Association (on behalf of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West) (Cody, WY)- $40,000 to support “Painted Journeys: The Art of John Mix Stanley (1814-1872).”

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced $17.9 million in grants for 233 humanities projects, including the following Affiliates:

  • Florida International University (Miami, FL)-$6,000 for improving the storage environment of The Wolfsonian–FIU Collection. Evaluating the existing environmental control systems inside the historic buildings would help the museum’s staff better care for this unique collection.
  • Stearns History Museum (Saint Cloud, MN) – $1,000 for NEH on the Road: For All the World to See.
  • City of Las Cruces– (Las Cruces, NM)-$1,000 for NEH on the Road: House and Home

ACHIEVEMENTS AND RECOGNITION
Museum of American Finance (New York, New York)
David Rubenstein to Receive 2015 Whitehead Award for Public Service and Financial Leadership From Museum of American Finance

LEADERSHIP AND STAFF CHANGES
Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Cody, Wyoming)
Cody Firearms Museum gets new associate curator

The Mexican Museum (San Francisco, California)
The Mexican Museum Announces New Officers for 2015

Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix, Arizona)
Musical Instrument Museum names executive director

HistoryMiami (Miami, Florida)
HistoryMiami appoints Holly Davis as vice president of advancement

Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden (Staten Island, New York)
Gabri Christa named new artistic director of Staten Island’s Snug Harbor Cultural Center

Young Historians, Living Histories- Today’s Stop: Honolulu, HI!

Special thanks to Paula Lee, Smithsonian Affiliations intern, for this guest post. This is the third of a five-part blog series she is writing as part of the Young Historians, Living Histories (YHLH) collaboration with the Asian Pacific American Center and our Affiliate network.

pa.2As we travel west to hear from our Affiliates at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor (Honolulu, HI) we take flight almost literally, with those who once navigated overseas when aerial travel was a rare and exciting introduction to history. Shauna Tonkin, Director of Education at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, connects us with Curtis Joe, immediate nephew of Chinese-American aviator and stunt pilot, Tom Gunn and Pan Am Japanese-American flight attendants, Mae Takahashi and Aileen Sodetani.

Tonkin partnered with Chris Facuri, Digital Media Teacher at Aliamanu Middle School, enabling the oral histories collected and edited throughout the school year to be incorporated into students’ curriculum. Participating students in the class took a field trip to visit the museum to meet Joe, Sodetani and Takahashi, where the entire group received a historical tour before sitting down for interviews. The two flight attendants live locally in Honolulu while Joe flew out from San Francisco to be a part of this project. All were very appreciative and realized the value of sharing the experiences that they’ve endured with younger generations. In response, the interactions with the pioneers made the experiences and stories come alive for the students studying them, activating their interests and courage to solicit knowledgeable questions.

Ford Island, where the museum is located is in the middle of Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, HI. On December 7, 1941, Japanese aircraft led a surprise attack initiating World War II. This led to a hard time for both Americans and Asian Americans, because the following year over 150,000 Japanese were ordered into internment camps although 62% of them were American citizens.

“The program served to be education, dynamic and responsive due to the nature of its interactive learning environment” observed by cooperating teacher Chris Facuri. Sparking the curiosity and interests of the youth was an important experience for Tonkin as she empathized with the difficulties of 1st generation children and their journey towards finding homage and respect for their culture while adapting to American influence. Tonkin emphasizes that this collaboration has “instilled a greater appreciation for diversity and culture of the Asian American Pacific experience. The oral histories collected barely scratched the surface.” She said, revealing her excitement towards starting new projects.

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Students capture footage of Curtis’ interaction with youth of YHLH during a field trip tour to Pacific Aviation Museum

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Students take a tour of the museum to learn about Pacific Aviation history

 

Curtis Joe, nephew of Tom Gunn, Chinese Aviator of the Pacific Ocean sitting in for an interview

Curtis Joe, nephew of Tom Gunn, Chinese Aviator of the Pacific Ocean sharing the stories of his childhood

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Students take a tour of the museum to learn about Pacific Aviation history

Young Historians, Living History- Today’s Stop: Greensboro, NC!

Special thanks to Paula Lee, Smithsonian Affiliations intern, for this guest post. This is the second of a five-part blog series she is writing as part of the Young Historians, Living Histories (YHLH) collaboration with the Asian Pacific American Center and our Affiliate network.

Students of the Montagnard community proudly representing the Smithsonian Museum and Greensboro Historical Center

Students of the Montagnard community proudly representing the Smithsonian Museum and Greensboro Historical Center

 

Greensboro, North Carolina is home to the largest Montagnard community living not only in the United States, but outside of Vietnam which makes Greensboro, a pretty big deal. Today I’ll share what the Young Historians, Living Histories project has enabled the Smithsonian and its collaborators to discover in the recent weeks! Dean Macleod, Curator of Education at the Greensboro Historical Museum (Greensboro, North Carolina), guided me through some fascinating facts about the Montagnard community that he learned through interacting with the community’s youth.

French for “mountain people,” the Montagnard (pronounced mon-tuhn-yahrd), are the indigenous people of the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Due to political, religious, and land disputes initiated by the Communist majority of North and South Vietnam, the natives were evacuated from the highlands at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 through American efforts. The refugees began their resettlement to Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte, NC starting as early as 1986 in multiple but slow waves of immigration. There are as much as 9,000 Montagnard refugees in North Carolina with a majority in Greensboro, some of which have identified as Americans.

No 'I' in Team - Students take on different roles in order to complete the oral histories.

The diverse Montagnard youth unite to complete each role required for the interviewing processes.

With this in mind, Macleod approached the community with caution and respect and discovered that “the youth of the Montagnard community were thrilled that the Museum was engaging with them, and interested in digitizing their stories.” Although the 15 Montagnard students are of one community, they are unique to each other. Each student represented separate tribes as well as being refugees from different waves of immigration; some were born in Cambodia, others raised in Vietnam, and a few even born in America. Macleod remarks that the students’ involvement in the program was a way for them to feel like they were giving back for the sacrifices made by their ancestors.

The Montagnard stories in Greensboro even inspired other participating Affiliates to learn more. “I didn’t know anything about the Montagnard until hearing about this project. Thanks to the Greensboro Historical Museum, I’ve done a bit of research as a result,” said Shauna Tonkin, Director of Education at the Pacific Aviation Museum (Honolulu, Hawaii).

Because of this research, Greensboro Historical Center included the stories and artifacts in their Voices of a City: Greensboro North Carolina  exhibition. This exhibit displays 300 years of local history that enlighten its viewers on the extraordinary stories that the city has to say about the community that shaped it.

Voices of a City Exhibition Photo Credit: Greensboro Historical Center

Voices of a City Exhibition. Photo courtesy Greensboro Historical Center

Don’t forget to check back, next week’s entry will highlight students in action as we step into the spotlight and begin filming and interviewing!

Mic Check! Students prepare to begin filming the interviews.

Mic check ! Let’s get these stories heard.

Students help edit each other's interviews using Mac OS Editing Software

Students are using Mac OS Editing Software to edit their videos.