Join the Universe of Learning

Universe of Learning logo

Smithsonian Affiliations, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and funded through NASA’s Universe of Learning, is launching a new, two-year science literacy pilot program and looking for participants. Funding is available–up to $2,000 per year– for seven Affiliate organizations to use resources from the Universe of Learning site to develop programs exploring  art, history, and natural science. The goal of the pilot is to create sustainable models of innovative STEM learning for youth, families, and lifelong learners.

To participate, interested candidates must complete three of  seven professional development online webinars.* The webinars are hosted by astrophysics scientists and educators and discuss NASA’s three main questions: How does the Universe work? How did we get here? Are we alone? An accompanying online forum will further strengthen the discussion topics and address how your organization can best use the available resources to develop and share your program model.

Webinars are every two weeks on Wednesday at 2pm EST (the next one is on Sept 13th). *Two out of the seven webinars have already occurred. However, they were recorded and we encourage for your institution to partake in this great opportunity.

The application opens in November and is only available to Smithsonian Affiliates.

For any inquiries, please email Patty Arteaga at

Kudos Affiliates! for December 2012

Congratulations to Affiliates for a great year, and may 2013 be just as prosperous! 

Three Affiliates received MetLife grants to support programming around SITES exhibitions: 

  • Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center (Mashantucket, CT) received $4,990 to fund construction of an outdoor skateboard park which will be used during the public opening and summer kick-off events for the exhibition Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America.  The grant will also support an honorarium for skate-boarder, Walt Pourier, who will lead a skate deck workshop, art projects, and skating skills demonstration, as well as act as the artist-in-residence at the summer kick-off event. 
  • Sonoma County Museum (Santa Rosa, CA) received $4,700 to fund the honoraria and marketing for an event featuring a local story-telling group whose performance will involve narratives connected to the theme of military mail, particularly focusing on the ways it has connected service men and women to the public during war time. The grant will also support materials and marketing for a free family day. Additionally, funding will assist with the cost of materials and marketing for an augmented tour program which will be a series of docent-led tours for school children. All programming relate to themes of the exhibition Mail Call. 
  • American Textile History Museum (Lowell, MA) received $5,000 to fund speaker fees and promotion for lecturers such as astronaut, Daniel Barry, space suit designer, Dava Newman, and Apollo 13 Mission Control engineer, David Reed.  The grant will also support craft and activity materials for a free family day, as well as the construction of and materials for hands-on interactives at activity stations. All programming relate to themes of the exhibition Suited for Space.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his wife, Gene  donated $5 million to the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science (Dallas, TX).  Their donation funded the Perot Museum’s atrium, the naturally lit entrance area that spans almost 14 stories high. The area will be named the Gene and Jerry Jones Dallas Cowboys Atrium. 

The Ohio Historical Society (Columbus, OH) received $30,000 from the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area to help repair damage to the Bimeler Museum in Zoar, which was badly damaged by a flood in 2005. 

Challenger Space Center (Peoria, AZ) has been selected to receive a STEM grant for $94,013 from the APS Foundation. The grant will support the Center’s new Statewide STEM Mobile Outreach program, which will bring hands-on learning activities to schools in rural areas around the state beginning in 2013.