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The Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion Highlights the Best of Affiliate – Smithsonian collaboration

Three people stand in front of an exhibition at its opening.

The director of the Peoria Riverfront Museum, community leader, and Affiliations Director Emeritus Harold Closter stand in front of the Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion at its debut opening in Illinois in 2008.

During the Affiliations annual conference in 2007, an Affiliate director marveled at a red sandalwood carving on display in the Ripley Center on the Smithsonian’s campus. The structure was one-fifth scale model of the celebrated and intricate classical Chinese pavilion that stands within the Forbidden City in the heart of Beijing, the Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion.

The director of Lakeview Museum (now Peoria Riverfront Museum in Illinois) had been exploring ways to connect with the local Chinese community and inquired about the availability of the exhibition. After a series of conversations with staff from the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute, the exhibition was approved for travel. This simple inquiry sparked a national tour that reached several Affiliate communities and connected with thousands of visitors.

What is the Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion exactly? Made by Chinese artisans using traditional Chinese carving and fine furniture techniques, the model captures the beauty of the original pavilion, and is an outstanding example of traditional Chinese carving. Artisans at the China Red Sandalwood Museum constructed the model of red sandalwood, treasured for its dark glossy color and musty floral fragrance. No nails are used; the entire structure is put together with mortise-and-tenon joinery. The China Red Sandalwood Museum in Beijing donated the model to the Smithsonian.

Pieces of the Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion are laid out on the floor prior to assembly.

The Pavilion’s thousands of pieces are unpacked from customized crates and laid out prior to assembly.

Obviously, the Pavilion was no ordinary exhibition. The model contains 3,000 individual pieces packed into special crates constructed specifically to fit each piece into its own slot. Design and installation advice was provided in both English and Mandarin, and the Smithsonian provided files of photo murals and bilingual labels for Affiliates’ use.

Still, the Pavilion’s specialized construction and installation required specialized expertise. In another stroke of collaboration serendipity, the former senior furniture conservator at the Museum Conservation Institute, Don Williams, was available to travel to Affiliate sites to both assemble and dissemble the Pavilion. In whichever Affiliate city Don traveled, he recruited volunteers from the “Professional Refinishers Group” from across the country to travel to Affiliate cities to assist with the installation.

Expert Smithsonian furniture conservator Don Williams dusts the roof of the Pavilion.

Senior Smithsonian furniture conservator Don Williams accompanied the Pavilion to all of its stops, overseeing installation and deinstallation.

 

 

A volunteer carefully installs the top piece of the Pavilion.

A volunteer expert carefully places the crowning decoration atop the Pavilion.

 

The Pavilion traveled to five Affiliates between 2008-2013. Its tour after Peoria included the International Museum of Arts and Sciences in McAllen and the Irving Arts Center in Irving, TX; Flushing Town Hall in Queens, New York; and the Headley-Whitney Museum, a former Affiliate in Lexington, KY;.

A child makes Chinese lanterns from art supplies.

Crafting Chinese lanterns was one of the many educational programs that Affiliates created to celebrate the Pavilion in their cities.

In every city that hosted the Pavilion, the Affiliate was able to craft significant and meaningful outreach to its Chinese community. Programming included traditional Chinese art workshops such as calligraphy and tea ceremony, as well as presentations on tai chi, traditional medicine, folklore and opera. For the Pavilion’s opening ceremonies, Affiliates invited the Chinese diplomats from their cities, and featured traditional dance troupes. Community relationships forged as a result of the Pavilion flourish still.

While in Flushing Queens, our collaboration saw yet another instance of serendipity. Volunteers assembled at Flushing Town Hall to unpack the Pavilion a day before Don Williams was able to arrive. They had some trouble deciphering the unpacking directions. Flushing Town Hall sits in the center of one of the largest Chinese immigrant communities in America, so a staff member suggested they seek the help of a local resident. A waiter from a nearby restaurant was recruited to translate the instructions from Mandarin so the team could lay out all the pieces to be ready when Don arrived.

Such is the magic—and impact—of Smithsonian and Affiliate collaborations.

The fully assembled Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion made from sandalwood.

The beautifully completed Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion in Flushing, New York (thanks in part to a waiter in a Chinese restaurant near the gallery!)

Kudos Affiliates!! January 2021

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

FUNDING

The Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, ME) and the California African American Museum (Los Angeles, CA) are recipients of an Art Museum Futures Fund grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The emergency COVID-19 grants will be used to support general operations.

The Ohio State Controlling Board approved $1.2 million to Ohio History Connection (Columbus, OH) for the support of educational initiatives. The funding is part of Ohio’s response to the health and economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Guinness Open Gate Brewery is donating to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture (Baltimore, MD) as part of its Guinness Gives Back Baltimore Community Fund. As an extension of the brewery’s mission to contribute to America’s craft brewing scene in a positive way as makers and creatives, the brewery’s support will champion underrepresented artists to inspire the next generation.

Springfield Museum of Art (Springfield, OH) received $61,200, an Ohio Arts Council CARES Act Economic Relief for the Arts award, to support salaries and operating expenses. In addition, the museum received $61,227 from the Park National Bank to support general operating expenses.

The Andrew W. Mellon and William Penn Foundations selected the African American Museum in Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA) as one of 37 institutions to split an $8 million fund. The museum was awarded $200,000 to support general operating costs.

The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission announced nearly $2 million in grants to museums and historical societies across the commonwealth including the following Affiliates:

Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded grants to the following Affiliates as part of its Religion and Cultural Institutions Initiative. The funding will be used to develop exhibitions and education programs that accurately portray the role of religion in the U.S. and around the world.

  • Conner Prairie (Fishers, IN) ($500,000) – to create a new storyline on the role of religion in African American history in the early 19th century.  The project will “explore the vital role of religion in the lives of antebellum Black settlers, who often thought of the Northwest Territory as their Promised Land.”
  • Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ) ($2,500,000) – to develop a permanent exhibition that will explore the origin stories of four North American indigenous tribes — the Seneca in the Northeast, the Yup’ik in the Arctic, the Akimel O’odham, and the Navajo in the Southwest — in an immersive and educational presentation that seeks to educate about the diversity and beauty of indigenous religion and spiritual practices.
  • Plimoth Patuxet Museums (Plymouth, MA) ($2,499,110) – to support The Light Here Kindled: Providence, Manitou and the Legacy of America’s Founding Faiths program that seeks to strengthen and expand the museum’s capacity to incorporate the crucial role of faith, particularly the beliefs and practices of Reformed Christianity, into its interpretations of Colonial Plymouth and the people of the indigenous Patuxet.

Putnam Museum (Davenport, IA) received a $35,000 grant from the Scott County Regional Authority to support the design and construction of a world culture gallery.

Wisconsin Maritime Museum (Manitowoc, WI) received a $138,000 State COVID-19 Cultural Organization grant to help sustain operations through challenges posed by the pandemic.

Peoria Riverfront Museum (Peoria, IL) received $700,000 through the Illinois Public Museum Capital Grants Program to support its STEM Inspires program for dome planetarium capital upgrades.

National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library (Cedar Rapids, IA) received a $10,000 Virtual Arts Experience grant through the Iowa Arts Council, to offer 15 virtual music performances by local artists for K-12 music classrooms and aging adults in care centers. Participating students and aging adults will engage in a virtual pen pal program. Students will submit music-related questions to adult learners who will record their responses with the help of care center staff.

Four Affiliates received a grant from the Iowa Arts and Cultural Recovery Program to provide relief for lost income or extra expenses incurred due to the pandemic. The grants may be used to offset operating expenses, as well as costs associated with reopening in person or adapting programs to virtual formats.

The Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, OH) will renovate its library using a $3 million gift made by the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Foundation. The gift allows for the continuation of the physical and cultural transformation of its main campus and headquarters by renovating the library’s first floor public reading room and consolidating staff workspaces.

LEADERSHIP

Dr. Kimberly Robinson, a 31-year NASA veteran, has been named the executive director and CEO of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (Huntsville, AL). She will assume her role Feb. 15. Robinson is NASA’s Utilization Manager for Advanced Exploration Systems and was previously the Payload Mission Manager for Artemis I, the first integrated flight test of the NASA’s Orion spacecraft, the Space Launch System rocket, and the Exploration Ground Systems at Kennedy Space Center.

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture (Baltimore, MD) announced the appointment of Terri Lee Freeman, former President of the National Civil Rights Museum (Memphis, TN) as the new Executive Director. As a national leader, who brings an entire career in philanthropy, focused on fundraising and building strategic alliances, she will join the museum in February.

Ben Jones was named the new executive director of the South Dakota State Historical Society (Pierre, SD). Ben is the former Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Education.

Dan Joyce announced he will retire as executive director of the Kenosha Public Museums (Kenosha, WI) at the end January following more than three decades at the museum.

Kudos Affiliates!! July 2019

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

FUNDING

The National Atomic Testing Museum (Las Vegas, NV) has received a $1 million matching grant from the state to assist in their search for a larger space in downtown Las Vegas.  The additional room will allow the museum to expand their exhibitions on nuclear testing in Nevada.

IBEW Local 252 and National Electrical Contractors Associated donated $25,200 to the Yankee Air Museum (Belleville, MI) for its Save the Bomber Plant effort. The museum is raising funds for renovation work required to transform the historic WWII Willow Run Bomber Plant into the future home of the Yankee Air Museum.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services recently announced awards totaling $2,231,000 in Museum Grants for African American History and Culture (AAHC) including the following Affiliate projects:

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, AL)-$167,852.00 award to expand its Legacy Youth Leadership Program for high school students to 20 historic sites in the Alabama African American Civil Rights Heritage Sites Consortium.

Museum of the African Diaspora (San Francisco, CA)-$247,880.00 award to expand ìMoAD in the Classroom, a visual literacy and arts outreach program offered to Title I and under-served third grade students in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem (New York, NY)-$49,876.00 award to develop a new website that provides public access to its digital collections.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced the first grant projects funded through the Inspire! Grants for Small Museums initiative featuring the following Affiliate organization:

Springfield Museum of Art (Springfield, OH)-$38,744.00 award to build its capacity to work with preschool children and teachers by expanding the professional development components of its Artful Play program.

Battelle has awarded $753,000 to fund 19 different out-of-classroom education programs that build skill in Central Ohio students including the Community STEM Center Initiative at The Works by The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology (Newark, OH). Partnering with middle schools in Licking County, The Works will build on activities from previous years, supporting teachers through professional learning and cross-district mentorship and collaboration while expanding student access to creative out-of-school learning opportunities to explore STEM concepts and careers.

Sullivan Museum and History Center (Northfield, VT) will receive part of a $269,000 gift from the TAWANI Foundation to cover the operating expenses of new student activities.

The Peoria Riverfront Museum (Peoria, IL) received a $1 million donation from T. Bondurant “Bon” French and Hollis “Holly” S. French to honor work Bon French’s parents performed for the museum’s predecessor, Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences. Some of the donation will endow a fund to support the Center for American Decoys at the museum.

The California Assembly voted to approve a funding bill to allocate $5.8 million for the Columbia Memorial Space Center (Downey, CA). $5 million will be used to construct a second building on the space center grounds. The remaining $800,000 is earmarked to purchase a 3D printer and audio/visual system.

LEADERSHIP

The Putnam Museum & Science Center (Davenport, IA) board of directors announced that community leader and education advocate Rachael Mullins Steiner will become president/CEO of the Putnam effective July 1. Steiner will replace Kim Findlay, who retired from the Putnam after more than a decade of service.

H. Alexander Rich, an assistant professor of art history at Florida Southern College has replaced Claire Orologas as leader of the Polk Museum of Art (Lakeland, FL). Orologas, who became the museum’s executive director in 2012, will become executive director emerita.

Ivy Barsky, who has served as director and CEO at the National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia, PA) since 2012, will be stepping down at the end of June. The museum board has asked Dr. Misha Galperin, a consultant to philanthropic and nonprofit organizations, to serve as interim leader.

Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, ME) President and CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko will be resigning from the museum at the end of June to accept a post as executive director of the Illinois State Museum in Springfield. The Board of Trustees is in the process of choosing an interim leader for the organization.

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.

kudos Affiliates! for August 2017

Congrats to these Affiliates on their recent accomplishments!

FUNDING

The Smart Museum of Art and DuSable Museum of African American History (Chicago, IL) have been jointly awarded a $250,000 grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art in support of the special exhibition South Side Stories. The collaborative exhibition opens in September 2018 as part of Art Design Chicago and explores the artistic production and cultural legacy of Chicago’s South Side. At the DuSable Museum, Holdings will consider the ways in which individuals, artists, and institutions collect, shape, and embody history, and how these histories—whether personal memories or institutional archives and collections—are subsequently shaped and reshaped over time through research, curatorial forgings, individual motivations, and incorporation into contemporary artistic practices.

The National Park Service announced that Mystic Seaport (Mystic, CT) is the recipient of a National Maritime Heritage Grant. Mystic Seaport was awarded $49,959 to support development of From Clippers to Containers: The Benjamin F. Packard and the History of U.S. Deepwater Cargo Transport, a long-term exhibition that will explain changes in the maritime cargo trades from the mid-19th century to the present.

The Harry Wilson Loose Trust has awarded a $200,000 one-year grant to Union Station Kansas City (Kansas City, MO) to complete an expansion project that includes an outdoor event space and outdoor Science City exhibit.

Officials at the Peoria Riverfront Museum (Peoria, IL) unveiled the Every Student Initiative, a program to fund once-a-year visits to the facility for 9,000 children across central Illinois through a $250,000 grant from the Barton Family Foundation.

 AWARDS and RECOGNITION

Javier Cevallos, the president of Framingham State University (Framingham, MA) was appointed to serve on a new state-wide Latino Advisory Commission which will promote the economic prosperity of Latinos in Massachusetts.

LEADERSHIP and STAFF CHANGES 

 The DuSable Museum of African American History (Chicago, IL) has named Lee Bly as the museum’s first ever vice president for planning, education and museum experience.

Ahmad Ward, former Vice President of Education and Exhibitions at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute accepted an Executive Directorship role at the Mitchelville Preservation Project in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. The mission of the Mitchelville Preservation Project is to replicate, preserve and sustain a historically significant site and to educate the public about the sacrifice, resilience and perseverance of the freedmen of Mitchelville, which in 1862 was the first self-governed town of freed slaves in America. Among the project’s key partners is the Coastal Discovery Museum (Hilton Head Island, SC).

Jeff Nathanson, new Executive Director of the Museums of Sonoma County

Jeff Nathanson has been selected as the new Executive Director of the Museums of Sonoma County (Santa Rosa, CA). Nathanson served as Executive Director of the Arts Council of Princeton in Princeton, New Jersey.

Read all about it! Affiliate’s making headlines this month

Genomics, special Smithsonian speakers on the road, famous horse skeletons, and air mail…April was a busy month in Affiliateland! Check out the Affiliates making headlines across the network:

A soldier in Vietnam writes a letter.

A soldier in Vietnam writes a letter. (Photo: National Archives)

Yankee Air Museum (Belleville, MI)
Smithsonian’s Mail Call heading to Yankee Air Museum
“We are very pleased to bring Mail Call to southeastern Michigan,’’ said Kevin Walsh, Executive Director of the Yankee Air Museum in a news release. “This is the natural encore to our recent project that assembled and mailed nearly 100 care packages to our troops in the Middle East. Yankee Air Museum proudly joins the past with the present as we look to the future.’’

North Carolina Museum of History (Raleigh, NC)
Historical immersion
The N.C. Museum of History, which is a Smithsonian affiliate, has a uniform worn by North Carolina aviator Kiffin Rockwell on loan from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Rockwell grew up in Asheville and was the first American pilot to shoot down an enemy aircraft in WWI.

International Museum of the Horse (Lexington, KY)
Beyond The Derby, Meet Lexington Kentucky’s Great Thoroughbreds — Past And Present
Making a name for himself not only through his racing but also as the most successful sire of the second half of the 19th century, Lexington’s remains were kept at the Smithsonian for decades before finally coming back to his namesake. You can now find his bones on display at the International Museum of the Horse.

Numerous Wild West Personnel with Deadwood stagecoach, ca. 1889. Buffalo Bill stands in front of the smaller wagon wheel with Major Burke behind his right shoulder. (Photo: Buffalo Bill Center of the West)

Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Cody, WY)
Wild West PR man mounts comeback, 100 years after death
In suitably Burke-like promotion, historians and descendants of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West P.R. man, a rotund fellow dubbed “Major,” gather at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 12, at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Washington, DC, to “right a historical wrong,” according to event organizers. … Haynes, Fuqua and his sister and cousin, along with their families, plan to attend the Wednesday ceremony. Guest speakers include Dr. Jeremy Johnston, Curator of the Buffalo Bill Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, and Managing Editor of the Papers of William F. Cody; Steve Friesen, Director of the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave in Golden, Colorado; and Dr. Michelle Delaney, Senior Program Officer for History and Culture at the Smithsonian Institution, whose forthcoming book, Art and Advertising in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, is scheduled for release in 2019.

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture (Baltimore, MD)
Lewis Museum Expects Bright Future Under New Management
As the museum continues to reorganize and redevelop, their partnership with the Smithsonian [Institution]’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., has had a positive influence on their progress. Draper said that the Lewis Museum has had a long history with the Smithsonian and the museum is also a Smithsonian affiliate. “We do things with them now,” Draper said. “We premiere their movies in this market, Smithsonian channel movies, and we’re looking at sharing some objects.”

seated guests

Guests at the Rockwell Museum for Smithsonian Speakers Series.

The Rockwell Museum (Corning, NY)
Rockwell Wraps Up Smithsonian Speaker Series This Week
“Eduardo is going to bring his area of expertise which is working in the Latino community,” Rockwell Programs and Events Manager Brett Smith said. “In particular for this program he’s going to be discussing how the Smithsonian is actively insuring that the Latino voice is maintaining a presence throughout the Smithsonian network.”

Peoria Riverfront Museum (Peoria, IL)
Smithsonian’s ‘Genome’ exhibit at the Peoria Riverfront Museum
The “Genome” exhibition will reveal the revolutionary nature of genomic science and unravel the mystery behind it. … The exhibit was developed and produced by the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the National Institutes for Health’s National Human Genome Research Institute in association with Science North.

Did we miss something? Or do you have a clipping you’d like to submit? Email Elizabeth Bugbee (BugbeeE@si.edu). All clippings must have a Smithsonian connection, cover significant research or staff changes.