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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. 

Affiliates in the news

Here’s a recap of our Affiliate news makers in October. 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 Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. (Tamika Moore | tmoore@al.com)

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. (Tamika Moore | tmoore@al.com)

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, AL)
Birmingham Civil Rights District should be designated a national park
While I walked through NMAAHC and shared information with my two daughters, I was reminded of Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s long connection with the museum. Before there was one brick in place, BCRI collaborated with NMAAHC on numerous projects, including showcasing one of its traveling exhibitions, “Let Your Motto Be Resistance,” back in 2009. Our staff has supported its efforts in planning, the securing of objects and community support.

Springfield Museum of Art (Springfield, OH)
New Smithsonian museum has Dayton connection
A traveling exhibit “A Place for All People” is also designed to pique interest in the new museum. That show, a collection of posters, is currently on display at the Springfield Museum of Art. Ann Fortescue, the Springfield museum’s executive director, says one of the many benefits of being a Smithsonian Affiliate museum is sharing what’s happening at the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. with audiences in the Miami Valley.

"Star Wars and the Power of Costume" showcases not only the outfits that have become iconic, but the process behind the creation of the characters and their adornments. In the exhibition, you'll see both concept art (left) and the final looks (right), including these of C-3PO and R2-D2 from "Star Wars: A New Hope" and "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back." —Photo © & ™ 2016 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. Used under authorization

“Star Wars and the Power of Costume” showcases not only the outfits that have become iconic, but the process behind the creation of the characters and their adornments. In the exhibition, you’ll see both concept art (left) and the final looks (right), including these of C-3PO and R2-D2 from “Star Wars: A New Hope” and “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.” —Photo © & â„¢ 2016 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. Used under authorization

Denver Art Museum (Denver, CO)
Behind the Scenes of the DAM’s Upcoming “Star Wars” Exhibit
It’s been a few days since the latest Rogue One: A Star Wars Story trailer was released, and it’s another two months until the film hits theaters—but don’t despair. You can get your fill of the Star Wars world in the interim with Star Wars and the Power of Costume, which takes over the second floor of the Denver Art Museum (DAM) from November 13 through April 2.

New Mexico Museum of Space History (Alamogordo, NM)
New Exhibit to Showcase Gene Roddenberry’s Vision
But the smallest exhibit cases may be the ones that hold the real treasures, straight from the vault of the Smithsonian. The Star Trek episode The Trouble With Tribbles, written by David Gerrold who will be a special guest on opening night, revolves around furry little critters that multiply at an incredible rate and who also have a serious dislike for Klingons. Although the Starship Enterprise was overrun by tribbles at the time, only a very few remain in existence today. The tribble visitors will admire inside its eight inch case was actually used in that episode and is on loan to the museum from the Smithsonian.

National Civil Rights Museum (Memphis, TN)
The Smithsonian Names the National Civil Rights Museum as an Affiliate Museum
The National Civil Rights Museum has been named a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate. The Museum is the second Smithsonian Affiliate in Memphis, and seventh in the state of Tennessee. 

Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA)
National Museum of American History Examines Religion in America
Led by Richard Pickering, deputy executive director of Plimoth Plantation, the documentary theater program will explore the intersection of two musical traditions: hymns and psalms from the Church of England and Calvinist congregations and the sacred songs and dance of the Wampanoag, the indigenous people of Cape Cod, the Islands and southern Massachusetts.

Peoria Riverfront Museum (Peoria, IL)
Peoria Fine Arts Society hosts lectures on new national African American museum
Author, lecturer and teacher John W. Franklin will speak at the Peoria Riverfront Museum on Oct. 13 about the National Museum of African American History and Culture that recently opened on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

ncbirdstudy

Researchers simulated a gannet plunging into water, capturing the process with a high-speed camera. (Image by Sunny Jung/Virginia Tech)

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, NC)
STUDY SHOWS HOW BIRDS DIVE SAFELY AT HIGH SPEEDS
To analyze the bird’s body shape and neck musculature, the team used a salvaged gannet provided by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. They also created 3-D printed replicas of gannet skulls from the collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, which helped them measure the forces on the skull as it enters the water. 

DuSable Museum of African American History (Chicago, IL)
What’s Ahead for Chicago’s DuSable Museum (VIDEO)
The DuSable Museum of African American History was founded in 1957 and it continues to showcase a rich and sometimes difficult history. Over the last year, two new executives have taken charge of the DuSable Museum. President and CEO Perri Irmer and chief curator Leslie Guy join host Eddie Arruza in discussion.

Las Vegas Natural History Museum (Las Vegas, NV)
Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Introduces World’s Largest Snake
Slithering in at 48 feet long and weighing an estimated one-and-a-half tons, a realistic replica of the world’s largest snake will on exhibit at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum from Oct. 14 through Jan. 8.

dusable

 

affiliates in the news- October 2014

Congrats to these Affiliates making news! Each month we highlight Affiliate-Smithsonian and Affiliate-Affiliate collaborations making headlines.  If you have a clipping highlighting a collaboration with the Smithsonian or with a fellow Affiliate you’d like to have considered for the Affiliate blog, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee.

A life-size version of Mr. Rogers, originally from the Pittsburgh area, appears in the Heinz Center’s exhibition on innovation. (Senator John Heinz History Center)

A life-size version of Mr. Rogers, originally from the Pittsburgh area, appears in the Heinz Center’s exhibition on innovation. (Senator John Heinz History Center)

Senator John Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
Celebrating Pittsburgh, the City Behind Pro Football, Big Macs and the Polio Vaccine
Pittsburghers, locals say, are proud in a quiet sort of way. For that reason, outsiders may not realize that the western Pennsylvania city is responsible for everything from banana splits to the emoticon. For years—16,000, to be exact—Pittsburgh has served as a hub for innovation across industries as varied as sports, weaponry, board games and condiments. 

Riverside Metropolitan Museum (Riverside, CA)
Metropolitan Museum celebrates Smithsonian Week
For Smithsonian Week, Sept. 23 to Sept. 27, the museum will feature two special Smithsonian guests, who will give presentations related to the “Cahuilla Continuum” exhibit.

Ellen Noël Art Museum (Odessa, TX)
Ellen Noël Art museum to host Community Art Day
“SouthWest Bank is excited to once again support the Smithsonian Affiliation with the Ellen Noel Art Museum of the Permian Basin,” Dewey Bryant, CEO of SouthWest Bank said in an emailed statement. “We appreciate the Ellen Noel Art Museum as well as their constant efforts to educate the Permian Basin in the Arts with the exhibits that they provide for the benefit of the Permian Basin including the Smithsonian exhibits.  We are proud to support this community organization in our great city.”

Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum (Clewiston, FL)
Exhibit Features Skate Culture on Big Cypress Reservation and Across U.S.
Native American skateboarders are the subject of a traveling Smithsonian exhibit at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in Hendry County. 

Philip Leslie Hale. American, 1865-1931. Wisteria, circa 1895. Oil on canvas. (Collection of Dr. William H. and Nancy Marshall). On view at the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

Philip Leslie Hale. American, 1865-1931. Wisteria, circa 1895. Oil on canvas. (Collection of Dr. William H. and Nancy Marshall). On view at the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

Peoria Riverfront Museum (Peoria, IL)
Impressionism Into Modernism: Crafting America’s Unique Style of Art
To McKinsey, the Armory Show’s appeal is local as well as historic, as the Peoria Riverfront Museum sits a mere three hours outside of Chicago. “Chicago was full of these artists who were at the forefront of Modernism, but perhaps just not as broadly known,” she says. “This is an opportunity to celebrate Chicago’s contributions to Modernism in America.”

Stafford Museum (Weatherford, OK)
Stafford Museum Invites Members For Special Events, Discounts
September also marks the month-long National Smithsonian Membership Drive. The Stafford Museum is celebrating their status as a Smithsonian Affiliate and the opportunity to share the Smithsonian Membership with all Oklahomans by discounting all membership levels by $10.

The Biomuseo (Panama City, Panama)
Frank Gehry’s Biomuseo in Panama, Finally Open for Business
Visitors must begin at the Gallery of Biodiversity which acts as an introduction to Panama’s genetic, ecological and biological bounty. …Also covered in this gallery are the current bio-prospecting initiatives that are being carried out in the country by organizations such as the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). 

National Inventors Hall of Fame (North Canton, OH)
National Museum of American History Innovates
In collaboration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, this space will display technological breakthroughs from various eras, trademarks and explain intellectual property protection. It also will showcase inventions of National Inventors Hall of Fame members. 

William Greiner’s photographs, including Merry’s, are on view in “Oh! Augusta!” at the Morris Museum of Art in Georgia. (William Greiner/Morris Museum of Art)

William Greiner’s photographs, including Merry’s, are on view in “Oh! Augusta!” at the Morris Museum of Art in Georgia. (William Greiner/Morris Museum of Art)

Morris Museum of Art (Augusta, GA)
Capturing First Impressions of a City in Transition
The Morris Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate museum, holds 32 Greiner photographs in its permanent collections and selected 20 of those to include in “Oh! Augusta!” Eschewing digital, Greiner used a 35mm film camera and a half-a-century-old lens. Schulte says that Greiner took so many photos during his 2012 visit that he had to ask museum staff to run out and buy him more film.

Virginia Museum of Natural History (Martinsville, VA)
3D Printing Extinct Animals: The Passenger Pigeon in the Age of Digital Zooarchaeology
The post-cranial bones of the Passenger Pigeon came from the collection of the Virginia Museum of Natural History. It was with the guidance of Dr. Elizabeth Moore that these elements were made available for this landmark project. Brian Schmidt, Director of the Division of Birds at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History was able to provide two skulls for the project.

South Dakota State Historic Society (Pierre, SD)
South Dakota Society To Show Smithsonian Webcast
The South Dakota State Historical Society will show a webcast of a Smithsonian Channel program on the history of California’s Silicon Valley. The historical society says its museum in Pierre will show the free webcast on Sept. 14. It was produced in 2010 for Smithsonian and explores the growth of Silicon Valley in the late 1950s, before people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates ruled the technology sector.

St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum (St. Augustine, FL)
Lighthouse will celebrate Native American History with award-winning chef
“The Mitsitam Café is one of the more popular places to eat lunch on the mall in D.C.,” said Mollie Malloy, Senior Director of Museum Services at the lighthouse. “I have met Chef Hetzler and had the very rare opportunity to experience, first hand, his passion and talents for bringing history to life through the culinary arts. His research of Native American food and customs can be tasted in everything that he prepares.”

Two days of adventure at the St Augustine Lighthouse
Historic City News readers are invited to be guests of the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum on Saturday, September 6th, to take a bite out of history with award-winning chef Richard Hetzler.

During the affiliation announcement at the Sullivan Museum, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Norwich University President Richard W. Schneider viewed a Lincoln mask produced with a 3D printer using Smithsonian 3D model. Photo credit: Norwich University/Mark Collier

During the affiliation announcement at the Sullivan Museum, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Norwich University President Richard W. Schneider viewed a Lincoln mask produced with a 3D printer using Smithsonian 3D model. Photo credit: Norwich University/Mark Collier

Sullivan Museum and History Center (Northfield, VT)
Sullivan Museum is now a Smithsonian Affiliate
Senator Leahy, the Senate’s President Pro Tempore and since 2001 one of three Senate members of the Smithsonian’s 17- member governing Board of Regents, said: “As a Vermonter and a Smithsonian Regent I’m doubly proud of this designation. Acceptance into the Smithsonian Affiliates program is a great credit to the Sullivan Museum and History Center and to Norwich University. It signifies the Sullivan museum’s vitality and high standards. Hitching our star to the Smithsonian, and the Smithsonian to the Sullivan Museum’s energy, is a winner from every perspective. This broad partnership will deepen the Sullivan Museum’s and Vermonters’ access to a broad array of professional and educational resources, as well as to the Smithsonian’s unparalleled collections. It will bring Norwich’s rich history to wider audiences beyond our borders.”

Norwich University’s Sullivan Museum Becomes Smithsonian Affiliate
“It offers us the opportunity to work with the 19 museums in the Smithsonian,” says Henrich of the mammoth Washington, D.C., institution. “When we’re planning our exhibits, we can borrow objects from those museums, and we can bring in subject specialists for lectures and programming … they have a fabulous speakers’ series.” 

Norwich museum becomes first Smithsonian Affiliate in Vermont
In association with the Smithsonian since 2014, the Sullivan Museum and History Center is part of a select group of museums, and cultural, educational, and arts organizations that share the Smithsonian’s resources with the nation.

U.S. Space and Rocket Center (Huntsville, AL)
U.S. Space and Rocket Center adds heavyweight helicopter exhibit
“As a Smithsonian affiliate, this is part of our job to tell the story of the Smithsonian in our neighborhood,” the Space and Rocket Center’s CEO Deborah Barnhart said.  “The Chinook is certainly part of the backbone of the story in our neighborhood here with Team Redstone.”

Center for the History of Psychology (Akron, OH)
University of Akron receives $3.5 million gift for Center for the History of Psychology
Nicholas Cummings, a trailblazing psychologist, and his wife, Dorothy, have committed $3.5 million to the University of Akron, which will secure the future of its Center for the History of Psychology. In recognition of the gift, which follows an early commitment of $1.5 million, the center will bear the Cummings name. 

After examining a century-old quilt brought in by Birmingham resident Nora Bell (not pictured), Renee Anderson (left), from the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and textile historian Susan Neill offered tips for preserving and storing the family heirloom.

After examining a century-old quilt brought in by Birmingham resident Nora Bell (not pictured), Renee Anderson (left), from the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and textile historian Susan Neill offered tips for preserving and storing the family heirloom. Debbie Elliott/NPR

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, Alabama)
New Smithsonian Workshops Show You How To Preserve Black Cultural Artifacts
But now a new program by the Smithsonian is teaching people how to preserve their own cultural artifacts, which have value to society and, quite frankly, monetary value.

Preserving Black History, Americans Care For National Treasures At Home (NPR All Things Considered)
It looks like the TV program Antiques Roadshow has come to town. But these are experts from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, here as part of a series of workshops around the country to help identify and protect items of cultural significance.

Smithsonian coming to Birmingham to evaluate African-American treasures
“We are extremely proud of bringing ‘Save Our African American Treasures’ to Birmingham and of our partnership with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute,” said Lonnie Bunch, director of the Smithsonian museum, in a statement.

november 2013 Affiliate kudos

Even though the weather is getting chilly, Affiliate accomplishments continue to shine!!

Funding

The Illinois Arts Council Agency recently awarded Peoria Riverfront Museum (Peoria, IL) a grant of $20,600 from state funds. The grant will be used specifically for general operating support of the museum. In addition, Peoria Riverfront Museum received a $2000 grant from Target. The award will be used for a brand new educational kit involving Bee Bots, a new robot designed for use by young children.

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation has awarded $407,000 to the Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, OH) to support a three-year youth entrepreneurship program for students in grades 4-6 in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

The Long Island Museum (Stony Brook, NY) announced that its Long Island Long Ago school program was awarded a grant from Target Corporation. The grant will help the museum reach more than 12,000 Long Island school children annually, including those from underserved communities. Long Island Long Ago encourages students to explore farm life in the mid-nineteenth century through historic tools, paintings and dance.

RFL

Making flags for military use in the quartermaster corps depot, Philadelphia, Penn, 1942. Photograph courtesy of Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-95525. Photographer: Howard Liberman.

The State of Maryland has granted $128,000 to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum (Baltimore, MD) as part of its continuing support of programs and events commemorating the War of 1812.  The Museum will use the funds toward the presentation of a new exhibition entitled For Whom It Stands: The Flag and the American People.

Awards

Mr. Courtney Wilson, Director of the B & O Railroad Museum, was honored with the 2013 Katherine Coffey Award at the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums conference.  The award is given each year to recognize distinguished achievement in the museum field.  

 

‘old betsy’ makes multi-generational connections in Peoria

Special thanks to Monica Reardon, Smithsonian Affiliations summer intern, for authoring the 2013 Smithsonian #MuseumDayLive! blog series.

The Peoria Riverfront Museum, located in Peoria, Illinois, focuses on interdisciplinary learning, ranging from art to science to history and then some.  The space includes a planetarium, a sculpture garden, art studios, gallery spaces, and more.  The museum even has a “Green Tour,” which showcases the museum’s sustainable aspects.  Most importantly, it plays a role in the community it is in.

"Old Betsy" at the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

“Old Betsy” at the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

In fact, this Affiliate found a piece of its own community’s history at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.  “Old Betsy,” a 1931 prototype of the first diesel engine mass-produced by Caterpillar, Inc. was brought back to Peoria.  The engine is now an iconic object in the museum’s display of local history, and in the telling of the story of local manufacturing and innovation.  On loan to the museum since 2012, visitors during Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Live! can get a close-up look at the 3,500 pound “Old Betsy,” officially called Caterpillar Diesel Engine No. 1.

“Probably the most rewarding aspect of having “Old Betsy,” as the engine prototype has long been known, on display at Peoria Riverfront Museum is the reaction of retired Caterpillar, Inc. employees who see it….They immediately comment on their memories of the engine when it was displayed at Cat” noted Kristan H. McKinsey, Curator at Peoria Riverfront Museum.  These memories can lead to “multi-generational conversations about a myriad of topics such as farming, invention, Caterpillar and this community.”

She adds “I hope that visitors might understand that museums play many roles in society, and “Old Betsy” demonstrates several of them.”

Is the Smithsonian in your neighborhood? Find out which other Affiliates are participating in #MuseumDayLive on September 28, 2013, here.

Check out a video from a local Peoria news station on the arrival of “Old Betsy” here- Historic piece comes to museum

Installing Old Betsy

“Old Betsy” arrives at the Peoria Riverfront Museum.