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YWCA Bristol TechGYRLS: Radio Stars at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum

Special thanks to Rene Rodgers, curator of exhibits and publications at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, Virginia, for this guest post.

As a new museum, this past September was the Birthplace of Country Music Museum‘s first time participating in Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day Live! So we were excited when a special Museum Day Live! event was planned for March 12, 2016. Having been open for a year and a half, we were ready to make something special of this special day.

Being held during Women’s History Month, this year’s Museum Day Live! was focused on encouraging all people – and particularly women and girls of color – to explore our nation’s museums and cultural institutions. We wanted to see new visitors come through our doors for this March event – and we did! We saw around 340 visitors bearing their free admission ticket, many of whom had never been to the museum before, along with several dedicated volunteers and members.

TechGyrls1More importantly, we wanted to create a learning opportunity at the museum for underserved girls within our community. Therefore, in keeping with this year’s theme, we partnered with the YWCA Bristol TechGYRLS, a local afterschool program based on a STEM-focused curriculum and geared towards supporting girls aged 9—15 who would otherwise have limited access to and experience with technology.

We decided that a fun focus for this partnership would be helping the TechGYRLS to create a special radio program for WBCM, our in-museum working radio station. To prepare for their radio debut, the girls toured the museum in early February, exploring the exhibits to find topics to cover in their radio program. They also got the chance to record a “radio drop,” or teaser, to promote the show. With very little rehearsal, the girls nailed their radio drop – they were complete naturals!

Using the ideas they had gathered from their tour, the TechGYRLS then worked directly with museum and radio staff to develop their script and create a lively complementary playlist of songs from Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited. They also got the chance to learn more about how a radio station works and how to put together a radio program from our radio staff.

For their Museum Day Live! radio program, we decided on three main spoken segments:

  • Telling radio listeners about the YWCA Bristol TechGYRLS program and how being a TechGYRL will impact their future
  • Talking about which exhibits they enjoyed during their tour of the museum
  • Picking one subject in the museum that particularly interested them and doing a feature on it

After a bit of tweaking and some rehearsal time, the TechGYRLS came back to the museum a few days before Museum Day Live! to pre-record their show. Their interviews were filled with energy and enthusiasm. They described how their visit to the museum showed them how important the Bristol Sessions were in American music history and that the old-time music playing in our exhibits made them want to dance! And they shared the many ways the YWCA Bristol TechGYRLS program impacts their lives, with one student saying that it “teaches you to include everyone no matter how different…and that just because you aren’t a man, doesn’t mean you can’t grow up and be what you want to be.” Wisdom out of the mouths of babes!

TechGyrls3

When March 12 finally arrived, we were excited – and so were the girls. YWCA Bristol brought several of them to the museum an hour or so before their radio broadcast, giving them plenty of time to explore the museum further and take a peek at our new special exhibit “Made in Tennessee: Manufacturing Milestones.” A few parents came along too, and we heard that a couple of families were ready to listen together at home to the show on WBCM. While the show was broadcasting on the radio, we streamed it into the museum’s performance theater, inviting our museum visitors to come in and listen as part of their Museum Day Live! experience.

Seeing the girls faces as they listened to themselves on the radio, seeing them really realize that listeners throughout Bristol (and possibly across the world!) were hearing their ideas and thoughts, was amazing. The TechGYRLS shared their time and energy with us, they gave voice to their lives and experiences, and the result was one of the most fulfilling and proudest moments we’ve had at the museum so far.

TechGyrls2Tonja Leonard, Director of TechGYRLS, emphasized how important it is to provide the girls with experiences and opportunities to see technology as part of their everyday lives. She noted that this experience brought huge value to the TechGYRLS program – it not only provided a wonderful learning experience for the girls but also helped to broaden their perspectives and further their educational values, giving them an opportunity that was not possible through the school system. Tonja added, “this opportunity certainly empowered our TechGYRLS.”

We also got to hear directly from the girls about their experience at the museum and on the radio (along with a lovely thank you card, signed by all of them!):

  • Holly:  “It was really amazing to know that the songs I picked were going to be on the radio. I really enjoyed learning the history behind the music and all about the radio and how the broadcast is done.”
  • Michaela:  “It was really fun to have the experience to get to work with the technology in the radio booth. I learned a lot from the museum and learning about classic country music.”
  • Allie:  “As a future engineer, it’s important to learn about technology in other fields.  While at the museum I learned that technology-based equipment is a fun necessity.”
  • Jayda:  “I liked learning about the Carter Family and the Carter scratch [Maybelle Carter’s well-known and influential guitar-playing technique]. The karaoke booth [Sing-Along Station in the Making Music area of the exhibits] was also very fun because we got to sing different types of music and learn about the instruments that were used.”

Hearing the impact this partnership – inspired by Museum Day Live! – had on the TechGYRLS has been incredibly moving. But the things we gained from this experience were just as positive: the use of our radio station as a wonderful community learning tool; the ability to share our museum with young girls and get their feedback in a direct and meaningful manner; the possibilities for further partnerships and outreach programs in the future; and the way a program like this, written and produced by local youth, took our museum and its mission further into our community – to name just a few.

March’s Museum Day Live! was a huge success for us – and an amazing experience. Most importantly, it had as significant an impact on us as it did on the TechGYRLS, and for that we couldn’t be more grateful.

TechGyrls4

All photographs courtesy Birthplace of Country Music Museum.

Here’s what’s happening in your neighborhood in time for Smithsonian Museum Day

In the spirit of the Smithsonian Museums, which offer free admission every day, Museum Day Live! is an annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine in which participating museums across the country open their doors to anyone presenting a Museum Day Live! ticket… for free.

We’ve compiled a list of exhibitions by region so you can see what is happening at Smithsonian Affiliates during Museum Day. Download your ticket today!

Click here to view the complete list of Smithsonian Affiliates participating this year.

Southeast

Tampa Bay History Center (Tampa, Florida)

Florida’s Got the Blues
Augustine at 450: A Look at the Oldest European Settlement in the U.S.

Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History (Kennesaw, Georgia)

Seeking Justice: The Leo Frank Case Revisited

US Space and Rocket Center (Huntsville, Alabama)

Science Fiction, Science Future


Upcountry History Museum – Furman University (Greenville, South Carolina)

The Forgotten War: Korea 1950-1953

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Orange County Regional History Center (Orlando, Florida)

Long Way to the Top: Hard Rock in Orlando, 1972-1985

100 Historic Orlando Icons

The Museum of Arts and Sciences (Daytona Beach, Florida)

Septembers with the Smithsonian

Faces from the Past: Portraits from the MOAS Collection

John James Audubon: Prints from the MOAS Collection

Contemporary Paintings from the MOAS Collection

Midwest

beach

“Awkward Family Photos” at Peoria Riverfront Museum.

Peoria Riverfront Museum (Peoria, Illinois)

Awkward Family Photos: The Exhibition

Science Rocks! 2015

Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, Michigan)

Ten: The Exhibition

 

 

Mid-Atlantic

Museum of American Finance (New York, New York)

Legal Tender

America in Circulation

Long Island Museum (Stony Brook, New York)

Gilding the Coasts:  Art and Design of Long Island’s Great Estate Era

Beth Levine:  First Lady of Shoes

Young Island:  William Sidney Mount’s Scenes of Childhood

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture (Baltimore, MD)

Businessman First: Remembering Henry G. Parks, Jr.

Antique Automobile Club of America Museum (Hershey, Pennsylvania)

station_wagon_JimButler

“A Family Affair: Station Wagons” at AACA.

A Family Affair:  Station Wagons

Motorbikes for the Masses

Back to the Future 30th Anniversary Tribute Car

1932 REO Royale

Cammack Tucker Collection (The World’s Largest Collection of Tucker Automobiles)

Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts at Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)

Steampunk

Mountain-Plains

UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures (San Antonio, Texas)

Sikhs: Legacy of the Punjab

Our Part of Victory: Texas in World War II

Denver Art Museum (Denver, Colorado)

Fritz Scholder (1937-2005); "Indian and Contemporary Chair;" oil on linen; 1970; Smithsonian American Art Msueum, Gift of Judge and mrs. Oliver Seth. On view at the Denver Art museum.

Fritz Scholder (1937-2005); “Indian and Contemporary Chair;” oil on linen; 1970; Smithsonian American Art Msueum, Gift of Judge and mrs. Oliver Seth. On view at the Denver Art museum.

Super Indian: Fritz Scholder, 1967-1980

The Durham Museum (Omaha, Nebraska)

Omaha – Shizuoka: 50 Years of Friendship, 1965-2015

This May Hurt a Bit: Medicine in Old Omaha

Station to Station: KETV and the Burlington

Union Station: Built to Last

Montana Historical Society (Helena, Montana)

Our Forgotten Pioneers: The Chinese in Montana

Eloquence in Wood: The Art of John L. Clarke

New England

Pleiades Star Cluster Simone, 7th Grade, Indian Township School. Part of Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos at the Abbe Museum.

Pleiades Star Cluster
Simone, 7th Grade, Indian Township School. Part of Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos at the Abbe Museum.

Norwich University’s Sullivan Museum & History Center (Northfield, Vermont)

Women of Norwich: Trailblazers and Torchbearers

Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, Maine)

Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos exhibition 

Coming Home

2015 Waponahki Student Art Show

Four Directions of Wabanaki Basketry

Layers of Time: Archaeology at the Abbe Museum

West

Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture (Seattle, Washington)

Titanoboa: Monster Snake 

The Anchorage Museum (Anchorage, Alaska)

Polar Night: Life and Light in the Dead of Night

"Home Field Advantage" at the Anchorage Museum.

“Home Field Advantage” at the Anchorage Museum.

City Limits

Florian Schulz: To the Arctic

Home Field Advantage: Baseball in the Far North

Vox Van

 

road report: Harold in San Antonio

I had the pleasure of announcing our new Affiliation with The Witte Museum in San Antonio on October 7, 2014.  By coincidence The Witte was also celebrating its 88th birthday, so it was a double pleasure.  Marise McDermott, President and CEO presided over the announcement ceremony which included San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor and City Council member Keith Toney.  Kind words were spread all around; as always I was humbled and honored to represent the Smithsonian.

San Antonio River runs by the Witte Museum, creating a 13 mile trail from Breckenridge Park to downtown.

San Antonio River runs by the Witte Museum, creating a 13 mile trail from Breckenridge Park to downtown.

I met many wonderful people at the Witte and discovered interesting connections between the Witte and the Smithsonian, especially in the field of paleontology and archaeology.  Dinosaurs once ruled south Texas, and Witte Museum Curator of Paleontology and Geology, Thomas Adams, Ph.D., is literally hot on their trail – uncovering dino tracks and other significant fossil remains.  Harry Shafer, Ph.D, Witte Museum Curator of Archeology, Professor Emeritus at Texas A&M University,  has been studying rock art along the lower Pecos River, among the most sophisticated finds in North America.

San Antonio's Chili Queens are alive and well (and widely appreciated) at the Witte Museum.

San Antonio’s Chili Queens are alive and well (and widely appreciated) at the Witte Museum.

The Smithsonian has many long-term interests in San Antonio.  The Smithsonian American Art Museum includes works by artists, Jesse Trevino and Mel Casas; Smithsonian Folkways documents the musical heritage of San Antonio, from legendary corrido singer Lydia Mendoza to Grammy Award winning Los Texmaniacs; and the Smithsonian Magazine recently paid tribute to San Antonio’s fabulous Chili Queens, 19th century food entrepreneurs who helped make the taco the world’s favorite meal.

The new South Texas Heritage Center at the Witte Museum -- a taste of more to come.

The new South Texas Heritage Center at the Witte Museum — a taste of more to come.

There’s a lot going on at the Witte on which to build our partnership and more to come when the museum completes Phase II of its grand expansion project in 2017.

Angelica Docog and Aaron Parks of the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, our other Affiliate in San Antonio, joined the festivities and then brought me back to see an amazing exhibit on Texas Quilts on display in their facility in Hemisphere Park.  We talked about several new exhibits they are planning to install including one on Sikh history and culture from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Angelica filled me in on the success of their Smithsonian Youth Access Grant, Young Historians/Living Histories and how it helped the Institute build bridges to San Antonio’s Korean community.

What would a Texas be without a long-horned steer?  This might be one of the longest long-horns.

What would a Texas be without a long-horned steer? This might be one of the longest long-horns.

One cannot visit San Antonio without feeling a sense of vibrancy – a growing city with a strong economy, a major convention and tourist destination, a proud history and a bright future.  How wonderful to see our Affiliate colleagues leading the charge.

Tomorrow, I get to announce another new Affiliate – Space Center Houston.  It’s a good week for lifting off!

let’s source the crowds

While it may seem like a contemporary term, many museums, including the Smithsonian, have been using crowdsourcing as a strategy for years.  At the Smithsonian, we’ve been at it since 1849, when the first Secretary, Joseph Henry, used 150 weather observers all over the U.S. to contribute data, an activity that led to the formation of the National Weather Service.

The Smithsonian still sources the power of our audiences today on topics ranging from tree leaves and gardens to immigration and stories from rural America.  We’d love to hear from you!  Please contribute your voice, or let your visitors know, about the projects below.  Do you have a crowdsourcing initiative you’d like to share?  Let us know in the comments.

SI Transcription Center– Crowdsourcing transcriptions of primary source documents https://transcription.si.edu/

Leafsnap – Crowdsourcing tree images for mobile app http://leafsnap.com/

worksgarden

crowdsourced image of kohlrabi growing in the garden of The Works, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Newark, Ohio.

Encyclopedia of Life – Crowdsourcing species-related media http://eol.org/info/contribute

Our American Journey (National Museum of American History) – Crowdsourcing oral histories of American experience of migration and immigration  http://my.si.edu/oaj/story

Community of Gardens (Smithsonian Gardens)- Learn from the ways that gardens and gardeners of all backgrounds have shaped America’s landscape.  https://communityofgardens.si.edu/

Agriculture Innovation and Heritage Archive (National Museum of American History) – Think about how transformations in American agriculture have affected you, your family, your community, and the environment.    http://americanhistory.si.edu/agheritage/how-to-participate

Stories from Main Street  (Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service)– Crowdsourcing stories about rural America  – http://www.storiesfrommainstreet.org/

Ask Smithsonian (Smithsonian Magazine) – Try to stump us with a question about anything.  Really, anything.  http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/ask-smithsonian/ask-form/?no-ist

Will to Adorn (Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage) – Listen to and contribute your stories about the choices you make everyday when you dress for school, work, fun, or special occasions. http://www.festival.si.edu/2013/Will_to_Adorn/GetTheApp/

eMammal (National Museum of Natural History) – Work with researchers to document mammals using camera traps. http://emammal.wordpress.com/about/

Finally, here’s a look at some spectacular online exhibitions created by crowdsourcing:

from the crowdsourced exhibition, A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America

from the crowdsourced exhibition, A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America

A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America (Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center) – The first crowdsourced gallery of the Asian Pacific American experience around the world as lived on one day.  http://smithsonianapa.org/life2014/

My Space Shuttle Memories (National Air and Space Museum) Did you ever see a space shuttle launch or land in person?   http://airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/moving-beyond-earth/memories.cfm

Portraits of Planet Ocean (National Museum of Natural History) - Stunning photo gallery of the world’s magnificent oceans by oceanographers and enthusiasts.   https://www.flickr.com/groups/portraitsofplanetocean/

 

 

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.

‘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.