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Kudos Affiliates! September 2018

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

In the final round of fiscal year 2018 funding, nine Affiliates received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of a $43.1 million award to 218 projects across the U.S. Grants support research, education, preservation and public programs in the humanities:

University of Arizona-Arizona State Museum (Tucson, AZ): $350,000
Project Title: Creating a Sustainable Environment for the Preservation of ASM’s Anthropological Photographs
Project Description: An implementation project to create a secure and controlled, multi-climate suite for the Arizona State Museum’s anthropological photographic collection, which contains over 525,000 prints, negatives, and transparencies providing visual documentation of the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and technologies of the indigenous peoples of the American Southwest.

Juanita Ahill gathers saguaro fruit. Photographer, Helga Teiwes. One of the over half a million anthropological photographs in the Arizona State Museum’s collection.

Colorado Historical Society-History Colorado (Denver, CO)-$224,000
Project Title: Colorado Digital Newspaper Project
Project Description: Digitization of 100,000 pages of Colorado’s historic newspapers published between 1859 and 1922, as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP)

Dubuque County Historical Society-National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium (Dubuque, IA): $500,000
Project Title: Preservation & Restoration through Campus Improvements
Project Description: The renovation of climate control systems along with the restoration of several associated historic structures, which together document the history of the Mississippi River and of the people who lived on its banks.

Montana Historical Society (Helena, MT) : $267,000
Project Title: Montana Digital Newspaper Project
Project Description: Digitization of 100,000 pages of Montana newspapers dating from 1864 to 1963, as part of the state’s continuing participation in the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).

Ohio History Connection (Columbus, OH): $246,798
Project Title: Ohio Digital Newspaper Project
Project Description: Digitization of 100,000 pages of Ohio newspapers published between 1920 and 1960, as part of the state’s participation in the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).

South Dakota State Historical Society (Pierre, SD): $280,200
Project Title: South Dakota Digital Newspaper Project
Project Description: The digitization of 100,000 pages of historic South Dakota newspapers published between 1836 and 1922 as part of the state’s participation in the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).

McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture (Knoxville, TN)
Project Title: NEH on the Road: For All the World to See
Project Description: Ancillary public programs to accompany NEH on the Road: For All the World to See traveling exhibition.

Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture (Seattle, WA): $450,000
Project Title: New Burke Museum Construction of Long-Term Cultural Exhibits
Project Description: The construction of three, long-term cultural exhibit spaces as part of the new facility for the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. The grant will support building out the Ethnology Gallery, the Archaeology Gallery, and the Northwest Native Art Gallery, including casework, graphic panels, physical interactives, models, dioramas, lighting, and electrical elements.

Wing Luke Museum (Seattle, WA): $168,532
Project Title: From Immigrants to Citizens: Asian-Pacific Americans in the Northwest
Project Description: Two, one-week workshops for 72 school teachers to explore the histories and cultures of Asian immigrants in the Pacific Northwest and their significance to the nation.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded new Partnerships for Research and Education in Materials (PREM) grants to support collaborations across the U.S. aimed at fostering cutting-edge materials research while increasing diversity. NSF will give $1,288,750.00 to the University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras Campus for collaborative work with the Metropolitan University, the Universidad del Turabo (Gurabo, PR), part of the Hispanic-Serving Institution program, and the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source. This educational effort of collaborative research of materials seeks to gather and develop a diverse and talented interdisciplinary scientific community with experience operating synchrotron X-ray techniques, to improve energy storage and conversion devices.

The Dubuque Historical Society (Dubuque, IA) received two grants from the Historical Resource Development and one grant from the Iowa Arts Council’s Cultural Heritage, totaling $81,675 to help fund programs and continue preservation efforts. Some of the award will be used for an innovative exhibit highlighting local businesses at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium.

Awards and Recognition

The New England Museum Association (NEMA) announced that Plimoth Plantation won Best in Show in the NEMA Publication Award Competition for Plimoth Life. The publication won first place in the Newsletters and Magazines category.

EDsmart, a nationally recognized publisher of college resources and rankings, has revealed its 2018 edition of the Most Astounding College Museums in the United States including the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture (Seattle, WA) and the University of Nebraska State Museum (Lincoln, NE).

Leadership

Montana State University has hired Christopher Dobbs to serve as the next executive director of the Museum of the Rockies (Bozeman, MT). Dobbs will begin on September 1, 2018. He succeeds Shelley McKamey, who announced her retirement in January.

The president and CEO of the Saint Louis Science Center (Saint Louis, MO), Bert Vescolani, will step down from his position to take a post at the Denver Zoo. Bert will work through the end of August and help with transition through mid-September. Barbara Boyle, the center’s chief operating and financial officer, will serve as interim president and CEO, effective September 1. Board and other community leaders will conduct a national search for Vescolani’s successor.

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.

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

 

November in Affiliateland

Is the Smithsonian in your neighborhood? Probably so! These Affiliates are bringing the Smithsonian to communities across the U.S. in November!

Georgia

From Clay to Copper: The Story of the Etowah Valley, a new exhibition at the Tellus Science Museum, includes 64 Native American artifacts and minerals from the National Museum of Natural History, in Cartersville beginning 11.5.

from-clay-to-copper-fb-event

Washington, D.C.

National Museum of American History features Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA) in Waking the Ancestors: Recovering the Lost and Sacred Sounds of Colonial America, a public program at the museum on 11.5-6.

plimoth-fur_1200

Florida

Daniel Piazza, curator at the National Postal Museum will present a lecture on communicating during the Revolutionary War at St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, in St. Augustine 11.10.

 

Colorado

Rebel, Jedi, Princess, Queen: Star Warsâ„¢ and the Power of Costume opens at the Denver Art Museum, in Denver 11.13. The exhibition was developed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in partnership with the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art and Lucasfilm Ltd.

costumesbanner

Wisconsin

The Civil War Museum, part of Kenosha Public Museums, will display Changing America:  The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963, an exhibition presented by the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of American History, in Kenosha 11.16.

Button for the 1941 March National Museum of American History, gift of Rita Jaros

Button for the 1941 March
National Museum of American History, gift of Rita Jaros

Coming Up in Affiliateland in June 2015

Even though we’ll see many Affiliates in DC for the Affiliations National Conference, some will be home leading this great roster of events.

MASSACHUSETTS
Dr. Libby Haight O’Connell (Chief Historian, Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, History Channel and A+E Networks, and Alumnus of the Board of the National Museum of American History) presents The American Plate: A Culinary History in 100 Bites, a time-traveling dinner program at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, 6.4.

Attendees at the Jewel City Jamboree in Huntington, WV will hear Smithsonian Folkways recordings.

Attendees at the Jewel City Jamboree in Huntington, WV will hear Smithsonian Folkways recordings.

WEST VIRGINIA
The Heritage Farm Museum and Village will live stream Smithsonian Folkways recordings during its Jewel City Jamboree in Huntington, 6.6.

FLORIDA
The Wolfsonian at Florida International University opens SITES’ Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise exhibition in Miami, 6.12.

The Tampa Bay History Center opens SITES’ Patios, Pools, & the Invention of the American Backyard exhibition in Tampa, 6.20.

PENNSYLVANIA
A team of textile conservators from the National Museum of the American Indian will be touring and consulting with the U.S.  Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, 6.16-18.

CALIFORNIA
The Museums of Sonoma County opens SITES’ I Want the Wide American Earth exhibition in Santa Rosa, 6.20.

NATIONWIDE
Twelve Affiliates will welcome interns from the Smithsonian Latino Center’s Young Ambassadors Program from June 29-July 31.  Thank you to the Adler Planetarium (Chicago, IL); California Science Center (Los Angeles,  CA); Chabot Space and Science Center (Oakland, CA); Fort Worth Museum of Science and History (Fort Worth, TX); History Colorado (Denver, CO); Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (San Juan, PR); Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, CA); Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix, AZ); Museum of Flight (Seattle, WA); and the Witte Museum (San Antonio, TX).

 

Playing in New England

#FindingNEMA - the Boston Terrier mascot for the conference.

#FindingNEMA – the adorable Boston Terrier mascot for the conference.

The New England Museum Association conference is one of my favorite events of the year.  It always takes place in November – when the air is crisp and Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  What could be a better time to visit New England?

This year’s conference took place in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was the biggest to date with about 1100 participants.  Even with that number, the conference feels intimate, and I was so delighted to run into so many Affiliate colleagues during the week.  The theme of this year’s conference was Health and Wellness – so appropriate as museums play such a critical role in the health of their communities.

The keynote panel set the tone for the week.  The panel brought together three local museum directors and two physicians, an interesting mashup that revealed all the ways that museums heal people and communities.  They talked about museums being among the most trusted community resources, and places of respite and beauty, which is why people tend to flock to cultural institutions in times of crisis.  The doctors for example, discussed the importance of careful looking when making a diagnosis – a skill they teach in part by taking students to museums.  What a great discussion.

Looking through a 19th century telescope at SAO.

A colleague from the Abbe Museum looks through “the Great Refractor” telescope at SAO.

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Looking directly at the Sun.. or live images of it anyway, at SAO.

A few Affiliate colleagues and I got an opportunity to hang out at an amazing research center near the hotel, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory [SAO].  There, a Smithsonian educator showed us the Great Refractor, built in 1847 and once the largest telescope in the United States.  We all got the chance to try out the unique seat designed for looking through the telescope, an elegant 19th century solution.  From the old to the new, we then visited SAO’s state-of-the art control room for studying the Sun, and “saw” it at several different temperature iterations in close to real time.  It was beautiful and flaring in a way we’d never seen before.

Conference attendees also had the great fortune to visit the USS Constitution Museum for an evening reception.  The Museum, an Affiliate since 2011, is a trailblazer in terms of research into family learning. They have already published the Family Learning Forum website  based on research and testing on engaging exhibition techniques.  The Museum is now turning its attention to programming with the same vigor, and funds from an IMLS National Leadership Grant.  One

Which role would you play?  Learning the importance of teamwork at the USS Constitution Museum.

Which role would you play? Learning the importance of teamwork at the USS Constitution Museum.

of the activities under testing asks visitors to be part of a 4-person team required to fire cannons from the USS Constitution ship, a much more difficult process than I imagined.  With a blue tarp as the ocean and a print of an enemy ship on the other side, my team fired an “alka seltzer cannon” and learned about the teamwork required to be successful in those conditions.  The Museum staff is refining a body of knowledge about family learning and best practices that will ultimately and undoubtedly benefit the entire museum field.

On the last day of the conference, I was honored to speak in a session with colleagues from our other New England Affiliates, Mystic Seaport and Plimoth Plantation.  Titled, It CAN be all Fun and Games, we looked at Affiliate examples of incorporating games and physical activity into museum interpretation.  The best part was that the directors of interpretation and education from Mystic and Plimoth brought actual games that they play on their 17th and 19th century living history sites, like skittles, Wampanoag football, stoolball, stilts, hoop games, harpoon throwing, marbles and even stilts.  I was a little anxious that audience members might not want to “play” on the last day of the conference.. but I was wrong.  It reminded me of an important lesson – adults also want to play and have fun like kids do.  Give them an opportunity – at a conference or at a museum – and they will literally run with it.

This game from 17th century Plimoth is harder than it seems!

This game from 17th century Plimoth is harder than it seems!

I attended so many useful sessions and heard so many great ideas.  Here’s a quick roundup of the highlights:

•    Think socially responsible or responsive programming might introduce mission creep at your museum?  But what if your mission wandered into a place that made you more relevant to your community?

•    Think it’s hard to engage millennials (ages 21-40)?  Think again.  They are visiting cultural institutions in droves, and there are about 80 million of them in America right now.  Don’t know how?  It’s easy.  Ask them.  And then empower them to create the programming they want to attend at your museum themselves.  For a great example, check out the Portland Museum of Art’s Contemporaries group.

•    Do your public spaces achieve the magic power of 10?  That is, can people find 10 things to do in your plazas, courtyards, front steps, etc.? (eat, people watch, see a performance, access wifi, meet friends, etc.)  For ideas, check out the Peabody Essex Museum.

•    Attending a conference is a great opportunity for a networking game. It’s super fun when it’s easy and for example, on your cell phone.  The one we played at NEMA had us asking questions of each other like “have you ever lived abroad?” and snapping photos for extra points.  Thanks Museum Trek.

Given the breadth, depth and richness of the conversations I attended last week, it’s abundantly clear that the museum community in New England is very healthy, and helping to make their communities amazing places to live.  A big thanks to the small but mighty staff at the New England Museum Association for bringing us together and expertly facilitating such enriching dialogue.  And Happy Thanksgiving to all!