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Thanks in part to Affiliates, the Smithsonian is on a Summer Road Trip

A new 40-page activity booklet for young explorers.

Summer vacations may look differently this year, but families can still have fun no matter where they spend the summer. With its new 40-page activity booklet, Summer Road Trip, the Smithsonian invites kids and their families to follow their curiosity through a variety of activities that can be done at home, on the road, at a campsite, in the backyard… or wherever they let their minds wander.

Developed and distributed in collaboration with USA Today, the Summer Road Trip invites students to explore puzzles and games, make art and identify wildlife among other hands-on activities. Travelers can follow the tracks of Monarch butterflies, invent new modes of transportation, create a mini-exhibit of objects in their homes, or create a gallery of artworks, all inspired by Smithsonian exhibitions, programs, collections and research.

Smithsonian Affiliates proved to be key partners in helping the Institution to distribute the printed booklets in their communities. As anchors in cities and towns across the nation, Smithsonian Affiliates energized their local networks of school districts, youth organizations, housing partners, recreation centers and more to offer these free resources to students in all corners of their communities. Through Affiliates, the Smithsonian was able to distribute over 20,000 additional booklets. THANK YOU to all the Affiliates below for your help in sharing our educational resources with kids nationwide.

Download your free Summer Road Trip here. (Adults are welcome to use it too by the way.)  Share your “souvenirs” and pictures with us at #SmithsonianEDU. Have fun and bon voyage!

Booklets were distributed in 20 states, thanks to:

Playing with the Smithsonian’s Summer Road Trip booklet at the Oklahoma History Center. Credit: Oklahoma History Center

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, Los Angeles, CA
History Colorado, Denver, CO
HistoryMiami, Miami, FL
Peoria Riverfront Museum, Peoria, IL
Conner Prairie, Fishers, IN
Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort, KY
National World War II Museum, New Orleans, LA
Framingham State University, Framingham, MA
Springfield Museums, Springfield, MA
American Jazz Museum, Kansas City, MO
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC
University of Nebraska State Museum, Lincoln, NE
City of Las Cruces Museum System, Las Cruces, NM
National Atomic Testing Museum, Las Vegas, NV
Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati, OH
The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology, Newark, OH
Oklahoma History Center, Oklahoma City, OK
African American Museum of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Children’s Museum of the Upstate, Greenville, SC
South Dakota State Historical Society, Pierre, SD
Birthplace of Country Music Museum, Bristol, TN
City of Austin-Parks & Recreation, Austin, TX
Witte Museum, San Antonio, TX

New Benefit: Smithsonian Voices

We want to help share your story! Smithsonian Voices is a blog on Smithsonianmag.com, the online version of Smithsonian magazine. Millions of visitors browse the content online per month and learn about science, history, art, popular culture, and innovation. The blog shares the unique voices that make up the Institution and now will include our Affiliate partners. A new blog—Smithsonian Affiliations Voices—is in development specifically for our Affiliate partners.

Smithsonian Affiliates are currently the only organizations outside of the Smithsonian invited to join the hundreds of scholars, researchers, and curators telling stories about their work. Smithsonian Voices content doesn’t have to have a Smithsonian connection—although having one is encouraged. Here, we want to provide a platform for our Affiliates and feature the incredible work they are doing every day, how they are engaging their communities, and demonstrate the importance of our Affiliate network in reaching broader and more diverse audiences.

As we finish developing the page, we invite our Affiliate partners to submit story ideas to be be featured on our page. Visit  the Smithsonian Voices blog page to get ideas and see how other Smithsonian units are telling stories.

Are you interested in sharing a story on our Smithsonian Affiliate Voices page? Contact Elizabeth Bugbee for guidelines and more information- BugbeeE@si.edu. 

2020 Invent It Challenge

Credit: Cricket Media, Inc.

The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and Cricket Media have partnered for the past nine years to bring the Spark!Lab Invent It Challenge to students across the globe. The challenge is a free, STEM-focused contest open to students ages 5-18 that inspires them to solve real-world global issues through creativity and exploration. Smithsonian Affiliates are invited to share this opportunity with their visitors and incorporate it into Affiliate programming!

Here are some easy ways to promote the Challenge to your visitors or use in your own programming:
  • Use this flyer to spread the word about the 2020 Invent It Challenge to your visitors, school groups, and teachers.
  • Post this image across your social media outlets to inform your audience of the wonderful opportunity the Challenge presents for students to use their creativity and knowledge of science to make a positive impact on the world around them.
  • Introduce students to the 7-Step Invention Process using this introduction video and challenge them to think of how it can be applied to help create a solution to a wide variety of local, regional, or global issues.
  • Set up a whiteboard and have students play this interactive game from Smithsonian called “Pick Your Plate” to stimulate conversation around healthy food and how people across the globe might access it.
  • Show this inspirational video for possible ways to help solve the global issue of accessing healthy food and hold a question and answer session with students to get them thinking about what they could invent to address this issue.
Want to learn more about how the 2020 Invent It Challenge aligns with your programming, and what resources are available to you to promote it? Join our webinar on January 22nd, 2020, from 2-3 pm (EST)! Featured presenters include:
  • Sharon Klotz, Head of Invention Education at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
  • Laura Woodside, Senior Vice President of Education Products at Cricket Media, Inc.
  • Patricia Genovese, Teacher of Past Winners from California

RSVP for the webinar!

About the Invent It Challenge
Each year, the Lemelson Center and Cricket Media develop a theme related to an important global issue. By choosing themes that address significant global issues, the Invent It Challenge allows students to realize they can make an important difference in their world by applying their skills, knowledge, and creativity to come up with solutions to the challenges people around the world face daily. The 2020 theme focuses on what students can invent to help improve people’s access to healthy food. The fact that approximately 25% of the world’s 7.8 billion people struggle to access safe, nutritious food illustrates the importance and global nature of this issue.

Credit: Cricket Media, Inc.

To submit an entry, students have to follow the Lemelson Center’s 7-Step Invention Process and document their progress through each step in a PowerPoint or video. To help them get started, students should review the Entry Guide, which includes everything they’ll need:

  • A list of Topics and Resources to help them generate ideas,
  • an Inventor’s Notebook to help them keep track of their progress through the seven steps,
  • and a Rubric to help them self-assess.
When students are ready, they can use this PowerPoint template to document their journey, or they can create their own presentations or videos. Judges at the Lemelson Center and Cricket Media evaluate each entry according to how deeply students engage with each step and how well they document their journey. In addition to great prizes from Faber Castell, Cricket Media, and others, students can win a multi-day trip to Washington, D.C. where their inventions get permanently displayed at the Spark!Lab! Entries are due by 11:59 pm (EST) on April 10, 2020.

Questions before the webinar? Email affiliates@si.edu.

Credit: Cricket Media, Inc.

Wiki + Affiliates Part II: Wikimedia Commons and Image Releases

Following up on our successful call in October, we’re hosting a second webinar on Monday, December 16 at 3 pm Eastern focusing on another aspect of Wikipedia. After this webinar, we’ll announce dates for our next session covering the nuts and bolts of hosting your own edit-a-thon! Need a refresher on what we discussed in Part I? Read the Wiki+Affiliates: Help Represent the Under-Represented blog post.

Wikimedia Commons is an online repository of free-use images, sounds, and other media. Files from Wikimedia Commons can be used across all Wikimedia projects in all languages, including its most popular platform, Wikipedia. Wikimedia Commons contains over 55 million free media files, managed and editable by global volunteers. The Smithsonian has been contributing images to Wikimedia Commons for almost a decade. You can view some of the images and media files on the Smithsonian Commons page.

During this presentation we will build on the initial Wikimedia conversation from October with the Smithsonian’s Open Knowledge Coordinator, Kelly Doyle. She will highlight the ways in which Wikimedia Commons functions in the information landscape and how GLAM organizations (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) use and interact with this platform. We will discuss the nuances of image copyright, releasing, and practical implementation guidance. A walk-through of image tagging, search functions, and tracking image metrics over time will be presented.

 

Wiki + Affiliates: Help Represent the Under-Represented!

Wikipedia is created and edited by volunteers around the world—and Affiliates can help! As one of the web’s most visited reference sites, Wikipedia serves as a starting point for many individuals looking to learn about art, history, and science. Smithsonian Affiliations and the Smithsonian’s new Open Knowledge Coordinator,* Kelly Doyle, are looking for Affiliate partners to help add under-represented groups and topics on Wikipedia. And we need your help. Affiliate collections and archives contain countless local stories and images that can help tell a fuller and more accurate history.

The first way Affiliates can become involved is through the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative (AWHI). The AWHI illuminates women’s pivotal roles in building and sustaining our country and strives to be the nation’s most comprehensive undertaking to document, research, collect, display, and share the rich, complete and compelling story of women in America. With a digital-first mission and focus, the initiative uses technology to amplify a diversity of women’s voices to reach millions of people across the nation and around the world.

“Local and regional histories are an important part of the national story,” said Doyle. “We know that the collections of our Smithsonian Affiliates include notable women from their communities. Affiliates can provide this content to make sure these incredible women are represented online.”

Affiliates that contribute content will support the Smithsonian AHWI initiative and its goal to tell a more inclusive history. Each Wiki post will note the contributor’s connection as an Affiliate, and the post will be linked back to the Affiliate providing the content. We want to be clear that our Affiliates have amazing content to contribute to not only the Smithsonian initiative, but to the larger historical record of our nation’s women.

On October 10, 3:00 pm Eastern Time, we’ll host a call to introduce interested Affiliates to the Wikipedia project and talk about how Affiliates can help improve the quality and accuracy of Wikipedia entries. Together, our goal is to make sure those often overlooked in history are represented.

African American abolitionist and women’s rights activist, Sojourner Truth. This clearer, historically appropriate image was sourced from the National Portrait Gallery during the first AWHI Wikipedia edit-a-thon.

What you can expect on the call:

  1. Why is the Smithsonian investing in this initiative?
  2. How can Affiliates participate in Wiki edit-a-thons?
    • Host an event
    • Provide content
  3. Next steps

Want to learn a little bit more about similar successful projects? Check these blogs out:

* So, tell me, what does the Smithsonian Open Knowledge Coordinator do?
The Open Knowledge Coordinator (OKC) for the American Women’s History Initiative (AWHI) works to bring notable American women from Smithsonian collections into digital spaces, specifically the Wikimedia projects. Wikipedia is the 5th most visited website globally, with thousands of libraries, galleries, archives, and museums contributing content for free public use. However, Wikipedia’s content has a significant gender imbalance. Only 18% of biographies on Wikipedia English are about women. The OKC, together with curators and archivists across the Smithsonian, makes our content and collections about women visible on Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons. This allows for greater public access to our collections and gender equity online.

Questions prior to the call? Email affiliates@si.edu.

No cost poster exhibitions featuring “Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans And World War II” and more!

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) consistently offers traveling exhibitions to organizations across the U.S. and around the globe. But did you know SITES also develops and offers FREE poster exhibitions on a variety of subjects? Below we’ve compiled a list of poster exhibitions you can bring to your community free of charge:

Mochida Family, Courtesy of National Archives

Featured Poster Exhibition
Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II
This exhibition traces the story of Japanese national and Japanese American incarceration during World War II and the people who survived it. Young and old lived crowded together in hastily built camps, endured poor living conditions, and were under the constant watch of military guards for two and a half years. Meanwhile, brave Japanese American men risked their lives fighting for the United States. Some 40 years later, members of the Japanese American community led the nation to confront the wrong it had done—and urged Congress to make it right. Based on an original exhibition at the National Museum of American History, the Righting a Wrong poster exhibition centers around eight core questions that encourage viewers to engage in a dialogue about how this happened and if it could happen again. Embracing themes that are as relevant today as they were 75 years ago, the poster exhibition brings forth themes of identity, immigration, prejudice, civil rights, courage, and what it means to be an American. A limited quantity of printed posters are available on request at no cost. These posters are expected to be ready for shipping by Fall 2019. Request a copy here.

Additional available poster exhibitions:

  • A Place for All People
  • Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964
  • Choosing to Participate
  • City of Hope: Resurrection City and the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign
  • Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission
  • Earth from Space
  • From Sea to Shining Sea: 200 Years of Charting America’s Coasts
  • I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story
  • Journey Stories
  • World War I: Lessons and Legacies

Click here to see more information about each poster exhibition.

Poster exhibitions are available for download at sites.si.edu. Each poster exhibition includes design files to print posters, as well as programming resources. Recipients are required to complete a short survey about how the poster exhibition was used. Some poster exhibitions are also available as free printed copies. For more information, visit the website or contact SITES’ Poster Coordinator Stephanie McCoy-Johnson at (202) 633-3105 or mccoys@si.edu.