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Road Report: Smithsonian Dazzles in New Mexico

The beauty of the “Land of Enchantment” began gradually as the plane started its relatively smooth descent over the Sandia Mountains into Albuquerque, home of two Smithsonian Affiliates and the nature of my visit. As I drove to my first destination of the day-National Museum of Nuclear Science & History-I understood why the Sandia Mountains got its name as the reddish hue of the coming sunset came into view. (Sandia means watermelon.)

I arrived at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History to find Museum Director, Jim Walther, and Deputy Director, Greg Shuman, working tirelessly painting an exhibition space for the upcoming show “Art of the Reactor.” Jim extended me enough time to show some new collection additions, including a Delorean, which fit nicely in the “Pop Culture” gallery and explained how he has spent the past few days fielding media inquiries regarding the “hydrogen bomb” and its potential repercussions.

Chris highlights the Apollo Capsule (NASM) and details the story behind the lettering on the capsule.

Chris highlights the Apollo Capsule (NASM) and details the story behind the lettering on the capsule.

Friday, I woke up early to begin my three hour drive through southwestern New Mexico to Alamogordo, site of the New Mexico Museum of Space History and home to over 30 artifacts from the National Air and Space Museum (NASM). I found Chris Orwoll, Division Director, at the Museum Support Center, appraising a huge collection donation from California. Chris showed me the lunar rover from NASM and explained the details for the restoration project, scheduled to be completed in 2017. Chris took me to the main museum complex, located in the foothills of the Lincoln National Forest and provides a magnificent view of the Tularosa Basin, home of Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range. Chris highlights the Apollo Capsule (NASM) and details the story behind the lettering on the capsule.

The culmination of my visit ended with a series of events at one of our newest Affiliates-New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science for the opening of the “Post Diamond Tiara” exhibit. A year in the making, the Post Diamond Tiara, on loan from the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), was unveiled by new Executive Director, Margaret (Margie) Marino to the “oohs” and “aahs” of the excited crowd of volunteers, donors and general public. The events were capped with the formal presentation of Certificate of Affiliation. The Post Diamond Tiara excitement will continue on March 15, when NMNH curator, Jeffery Post, will present a lecture on this and other artifacts of the NMNH gem collection.

My flight home allowed me to reflect on my stay in New Mexico and as with so many other trips, I understood and appreciated all the hard work, energy and enthusiasm the Affiliate staff members put into maintaining and showcasing their partnership with the Smithsonian. The reward was seen on the faces of the visitors seeing a thousand glistening diamonds for the first time and an appreciative smile came across my face.

So if you find yourself in New Mexico or any of the other 44 states where Affiliates reside, I encourage you to stop in and put a smile on your face.

affiliates in the news!

Congrats to these Affiliates making news!  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.

IndiVisible, a Smithsonian traveling exhibition on African-Native American Identity, is set to open at the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum on January 19 in Palm Springs. Photo: Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun.

IndiVisible, a Smithsonian traveling exhibition on African-Native American Identity, is set to open at the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum on January 19 in Palm Springs. Photo: Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor (Honolulu, HI)
Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Named Hawaii’s “#1 Historical Spot Worth Traveling For” By TripAdvisor’s® FlipKey®
“For us to be given this designation couldn’t have come at a better time as we celebrate our 10th anniversary this year. We remain committed to giving visitors the best experience at a historic site where they learn of the sacrifices of those who served in WWII.”

Agua Caliente Cultural Museum (Palm Springs, CA)
African-Native American exhibition comes to Palm Springs
“We are very excited,” said Michael Hammond, executive director of the museum. “The exhibition offers a glimpse on issues of race and prejudice faced by African-Native Americans throughout history, and how we are still dealing with these issues today.”

Conner Prairie (Fishers, IN)
Conner Prairie taps new president
The board of directors of the interactive history park announced the hiring of Norman O. Burns II on Monday after a national search. Burns, 54, succeeds Ellen M. Rosenthal, who retired from the museum’s top position Jan. 4 after 12 years at the helm. 

Dubuque Museum of Art (Dubuque, IA)
Our opinion: 2nd Smithsonian pact a boon for Dubuque
This community added a couple of feathers to its cultural and tourism caps this week when the Smithsonian Institution, the largest and, arguably, best network of museums in the world, named our Dubuque Museum of Art a Smithsonian affiliate.

Harold Closter (left), director of Smithsonian Affiliations, and David Schmitz, executive director of the Dubuque Museum of Art, mark the local museum's designation as a Smithsonian affiliate.

Harold Closter (left), director of Smithsonian Affiliations, and David Schmitz, executive director of the Dubuque Museum of Art, mark the local museum’s designation as a Smithsonian affiliate.

Dubuque Museum of Art joins Smithsonian network
“The mission of Smithsonian Affiliations is to bring the Smithsonian into the local community,” Closter said. “To make it easier for people to see what we have and what we do in their neighborhood.” 

Smithsonian adds ‘national treasure’ to Dubuque
The Dubuque Museum of Art will join The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium as a Smithsonian Affiliations site.

Dubuque Museum of Art now Smithsonian Affiliate
We are thrilled and honored to join the Smithsonian Affiliates network,” said DuMA Executive Director David Schmitz in a press release.  “This long-term partnership will enhance our exhibitions and programs, for the benefit of our community and region, and further establishes Dubuque’s reputation as an arts and cultural destination.” 

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (Albuquerque, NM)
Museum of Natural History and Science celebrates 30th anniversary with a year of special exhibits
“We can take some of the great work that the Smithsonian does and we can build on their cutting-edge work to drive our programs and exhibits.”

New Mexico’s natural history museum now Smithsonian affiliated (VIDEO)
“Not everybody can come to the Smithsonian and Washington D.C. to see things, so if you can’t come to us, it’s our objective to bring the resources and come to you,” said Aaron Glavas, Smithsonian outreach manager.

History Colorado (Denver, CO)
PATTY LIMERICK NAMED STATE HISTORIAN AS HISTORY COLORADO LOOKS TO FUTURE
History Colorado has been making some history of its own over the past six months, with a complete reconfiguration of the board to make it leaner and meaner (at least when it comes to financial matters), buyouts and layoffs of staffers, and the departure of many of the organization’s top managers, including state historian Bill Convery.

‘History of America in 101 Objects’ focus of event
Dr. Richard Kurin…offers a new perspective on American history, explaining how objects end up in the Smithsonian collection and encouraging us to reconsider objects we think we know and understand.

Multiple Affiliates
Smithsonian collecting material for traveling exhibit about Latinos in baseball
“Baseball has played a major role in everyday American life since the 1800s, providing a means of celebrating both national and ethnic identities and building communities,” said John Gray, director of the museum in a statement. “Through the lens of baseball, the Smithsonian seeks to illuminate the rich history and culture of Latinos, and their impact on American culture and society.”

Smithsonian Announces “Latinos and Baseball” Collecting Initiative
…the museum is currently working with 10 partner organizations as well as the Smithsonian Latino Center and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture to carry out the “Latinos and Baseball” initiative: California State University, San Bernardino; California State University, Channel Island; California State University, Los Angeles; The Institute of Texan Cultures at the University of Texas, San Antonio; the Kansas City Museum; LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes in Los Angeles; Los Magnificos Film in New York; La Casita Cultural Center at Syracuse University; the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; and the “Sugar Beet Fields to Field of Dreams, 1920s?1960s, Mexican/Spanish Contributions to America’s Favorite Pastime” traveling exhibition based in Colorado and Wyoming.

Mystic Seaport (Mystic, CT)
‘Stars of the Smithsonian’ series starts Jan. 14
Carlene Stephens, curator at the National Museum of American History, will present “Connecting the World in Time” at the Mystic Seaport’s Stars of the Smithsonian Lecture Series. Programs are at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at the River Room, Latitude 41° Restaurant & Tavern.

Cerritos Library (Cerritos, CA)
Smithsonian Exhibition Coming to Cerritos Library January 3
In commemoration of the important history of Asian and Pacific Americans, Cerritos Library will present the exhibition “I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story” from Sunday, January 3 through Sunday, February 28, 2016. The exhibition was created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and is part of a national tour.

On the Road Again with 101 Objects

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Dr. Kurin uses a 3D printed replica of Lincoln’s Top Hat during his talk about his book at the Sullivan Museum and Library. Photo credit: Sullivan Museum

Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, Richard Kurin, helped kick-off our 20th anniversary year at the Sullivan Museum and History Center (Vermont) in September and he’s on the road again sharing stories from his recent book, The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects, with Affiliates across the country.  Since 2013 he’s visited 11 Smithsonian Affiliates and will travel to two more in January and February 2016.

On January 11, Kurin visits History Colorado in Denver. As an expert storyteller, Kurin tells the story of the nation through some well-known treasures and unexpected objects that inspire learning and curiosity in everyone. He’s noted, “using objects to tell the story of the nation presents a great opportunity. Rather than learning history by memorizing names and dates, objects have a way of conveying historical times and events in a dramatic but tangible way.”

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The very first stop on the “101 Objects” book tour was at the National Museum of American Jewish History. Photo credit: NMAJH

On February 16, he’ll visit the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh where he’ll continue to “wow” visitors with stories about the Star-Spangled Banner, Abraham Lincoln’s Hat and less-well-known objects like Harriet Tubman’s hymnal and Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine.

And keep a lookout…Dr. Kurin often travels with 3D printed replicas of some of the treasures in the books. If he uses one, snap a photo and tag us at #SIYN20 and share with us! In the meantime, enjoy these photos of Dr. Kurin’s travels through Affiliateland speaking about his book.

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Dr. Kurin traveled to the West coast and visited the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Seattle in 2014 for a gallery talk about the book. Photo credit: NW MAC

 

20 years in your neighborhood!

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Twenty years ago, during the 150th anniversary celebration of the Smithsonian Institution, Secretary I. Michael Heyman announced the creation of a national outreach program that would extend the reach of the Smithsonian collections to communities, museums and research organizations across the nation. To fulfill the Smithsonian’s mission for the “increase and diffusion of knowledge,” Smithsonian Affiliations was created to provide access to Smithsonian collections and vast resources. The program’s goal was to make sure those who cannot travel to Washington, D.C., could experience and enjoy the Smithsonian in their own neighborhoods.

At the end of its first year, Smithsonian Affiliations welcomed 21 museums as Affiliates. Today, the program has established partnerships with more than 200 organizations in 45 states, Puerto Rico and Panama.

This month begins our series of highlighting the Smithsonian in Affiliate communities. We’ll be posting blogs, sharing photos on social media, inviting Affiliate guest authors to share their stories of being an Affiliate as well as Smithsonian guest authors sharing their history with Affiliates. We’ll be continuing this series through October 2016, so follow us along on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram and this blog. We hope you’ve experienced the Smithsonian in YOUR neighborhood!

A gift to Smithsonian Affiliations will enhance our efforts to reach Americans in their own communities. Donate to the I. Michael Heyman Smithsonian Across America Fund today. 

Are you a Smithsonian Affiliate? Contact us (affiliates@si.edu) for the logo and guidelines.

About Smithsonian Affiliations’ 20th Anniversary

About Smithsonian Affiliations

 

 

Smithsonian Institution and Affiliate Collections Come Together for “Super Indian” at the Denver Art Museum

Special thanks for this guest post to: Eric Berkemeyer, Curatorial Assistant of Native Arts, Denver Art Museum

This October the Denver Art Museum opened Super Indian: Fritz Scholder, 1967-1980 which explores how Fritz Scholder used color and composition to create the powerful and innovative works of his Indian series. The exhibition features more than 40 monumental paintings and lithographs, including works loaned from Smithsonian Institution and Affiliate museums. With the support of these institutions the Denver Art Museum was able to realize an exhibition that fully engages with Scholder’s work from the period of 1967 to 1980; highlighting major themes and artistic approaches within the series.

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Fritz Scholder, “Indian and Rhinoceros,” 1968, Oil paint on canvas, 68 × 120 in. Collection of the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, 268066.000 Photographer: Walter Larrimore, NMAI, © Estate of Fritz Scholder.

From the National Museum of the American Indian comes two works that draw attention to Scholder’s Pop art sensibilities with their bright color, scale, and use of popular, everyday imagery. These paintings, Indian and Rhinoceros (1968) and Walking to the Next Bar (1974), also exhibit his interest in social issues such as the conflicted relationship between American Indians and the Federal government and alcoholism respectively.

Also on view is Indian in Contemporary Chair (1970) from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. With the figure’s gritty, expressionistic rendering, its inclusion contributes to the interpretation of English artist Francis Bacon’s influence on Scholder’s style and composition. Furthermore, the contrast of an Indian subject within a contemporary setting serves to challenge viewers’ assumptions of the place of American Indians in the present day, another theme that runs throughout the exhibition.

Fritz Scholder, Indian at a Gallup Bus Depot, 1969, Oil paint on canvas, 40 × 30 in. Booth Western Art Museum permanent collection, Cartersville, GA, 2013.011.001 Photo courtesy Louis Tonsmeire, Jr., © Estate of Fritz Scholder.

Fritz Scholder, “Indian at a Gallup Bus Depot,” 1969, Oil paint on canvas, 40 × 30 in. Booth Western Art Museum permanent collection, Cartersville, GA, 2013.011.001. Photo courtesy Louis Tonsmeire, Jr., © Estate of Fritz Scholder.

In addition to the fourteen works from the Denver Art Museum, works from two other Smithsonian Affiliates are also featured in the exhibition. From the Booth Western Art Museum is Indian at a Gallup Bus Depot (1969) depicting what Scholder called an “Indian cowboy” in front of an arcade machine, highlighting Scholder’s Pop art sensibility as well as the influence of his teacher Wayne Thiebaud. And, from the Heard Museum comes Indian Dying in Nebraska (1972) adding to the exhibitions exploration of dark and mysterious subjects.

With generous institutional support such as this, visitors to the exhibition are better able to explore the rich work of Fritz Scholder. The exhibition continues at the Denver Art Museum until January 17, 2016. It will then travel to the Phoenix Art Museum February 16, 2016 to June 5, 2016 and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, KS June 23, 2016 to September 18, 2016.