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June 2021 Kudos!

Kudos Affiliates!! June 2021

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

The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium (Dubuque, IA) and its national outreach program RiverWorks Discovery, received a combined $200,000 from three foundations to support a new RiverWorks Discovery national traveling exhibit. The Walton Family Foundation awarded $100,000, with American Electric Power (AEP) Foundation and the Eugenie and Joseph Jones Family Foundation awarding $50,000 each. Grants will support the design and development of a new hands-on, educational exhibit designed to educate the public on the importance of the commerce, culture, conservation, and careers of America’s inland waterways.

The Adler Planetarium (Chicago, IL) is collaborating with Empirical Brewing to help raise money for science education. Empirical Brewing will brew a series of beers in collaboration with the Adler planetarium, called “Space for Everyone.” 25% of all sales will support digital programming, including a science-comedy show called Wow Signal on Adler’s YouTube channel.

Cape Fear Museum of History and Science (Wilmington, NC) has been selected by the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) as a recipient of an IF/THEN® Gender Equity Grant for $8,600. The IF/THEN® Gender Equity Grant program offers science centers the opportunity to launch projects that increase the representation of women and gender minorities in STEM, as part of the broader efforts to advance diversity, accessibility, inclusion, and equity.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced the High Desert Museum (Bend, OR) was one of 6 recipients of the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to libraries and museums that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.

USA Today announced their 10Best Museums of 2021. The winners included the following Affiliates in their respective categories and place:

Best Pop Culture Museum

1.Birthplace of Country Music Museum (Bristol, Virginia)

Best Science Museum

3. Tellus Science Museum (Cartersville, GA)
5. Michigan Science Center (Detroit, MI)
6. Denver Museum of Nature & Science (Denver, CO)
8. Perot Museum of Nature and Science (Dallas, TX)
9. Fort Worth Museum of Science and History (Fort Worth, TX)
10. Saint Louis Science Center (St. Louis, MO)

Best Art Museum

1. Booth Western Art Museum (Cartersville, GA)
2. Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ)

Best History Museum

2. National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati, Ohio)
5. USS Constitution Museum (Boston, MA)
6. Museum of History & Industry (Seattle, WA)
7. National WWII Museum (New Orleans, LA)

The North Carolina Museums Council honored the Greensboro History Museum (Greensboro, NC) with a 2020 Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion Award for its History Happening Now initiative and the Pieces of Now exhibition. The Museum developed its History Happening Now initiative last spring to focus efforts on collecting people’s stories, experiences, and feelings about the upheavals of 2020. The initiative led to the creation of the exhibition Pieces of Now: Murals, Masks, Community Stories and Conversations, featuring more than 20 pieces of street art created as part of 2021’s Black Lives Matter protests, along with photos, objects, and video interviews with artists and organizers.

LEADERSHIP

Van Romans, president of the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History (Fort Worth, TX), is retiring after more than 15 years leading the institution. Kippen de Alba Chu, the current chief of staff, will serve as the interim president while the museum looks for Romans’ replacement.

Kudos Affiliates! May 2021

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

The Minnesota Historical Society announced the newest recipients of 30 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Small Grants including The Bakken Museum (Minneapolis, MN). The Museum received $9,994 to process the Earl Bakken Legacy Collection, allowing for greater public access to these resources. The Bakken Museum will also be a core research partner as part of a $1.5 million grant awarded to Binghamton University faculty. The grant will help improve makerspace learning for youth.

Frank Leta Honda has donated two new 2020 Honda Odyssey minivans to the Saint Louis Science Center (Saint Louis, MO) to transport Youth Exploring Science (YES) Program teens and Science Center educators to events during the summer as COVID-19 safety protocols allow. The YES Program was founded to help teens, particularly those from underserved communities, to recognize their potential in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) career fields.

Framingham State University (Framingham, MA) has been awarded a $62,250 grant from the Massachusetts Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) to coordinate a multi-day Racial Equity Policy Review Institute. Designed for up to 150 leaders within the campus community, participants will gain a better understanding of systemic racism in higher education and how it manifests on campus, be able to define what a racist policy is and how it shows up in student outcomes, and create an initial yearlong plan to undertake policy review.

History Colorado (Denver, CO), Hagley Museum (Wilmington, DE) and USS Constitution Museum  (Boston, MA) were among several Affiliates awarded humanity grants from The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Grant awards support the preservation of historic collections, humanities exhibitions and documentaries, scholarly research, and curriculum projects.

  • History Colorado was awarded a Media Projects Production grant for $310,536 to support the production of the Lost Highways Podcast series, an eight-episode offering focused on Colorado and Western history. History Colorado also received an Exhibitions-Implementation grant for $400,000 for The Sand Creek Massacre Exhibition. The permanent exhibition details the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre of Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal members.
  • Hagley Museum and Library ($194,400) and Center for Jewish History (New York, NY) ($153,292), each received a Fellowship Programs grant. The grants will support 12 months of stipend support for 1–3 fellowships per year for two to three years.
  • USS Constitution Museum will receive a Dialogues on the Experience of War grant for $96,264 to develop Sailors Speak: The Impact of War on Naval Veterans, their Families, and the Country. The award will be used for the training of facilitators to lead three discussion series for naval veterans and their families, based on historical documents and material culture from the War of 1812 and the post-9/11 wars.
  • City Lore (New York, NY) was awarded an Exhibitions-Planning grant for $75,000 to create a traveling exhibit about the 1970s Federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), that provided work for artists.
  • American Jewish Historical Society (New York City, NY), part of the Center for Jewish History, received $131,681 for a Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grant for The People’s Relief Committee Project to preserve and digitize materials that document the work of the People’s Relief Committee for Jewish War Sufferers (1915–1924), an American Jewish organization that sought to help Jewish communities and individuals in Europe during and after World War I.

The Rhode Island Historical Society (Providence, RI) received a donation of $50,000 from Walmart to pay for the creation of a curriculum to teach Black history and heritage in the local schools. The curriculum will include lesson plans, teacher training, and virtual learning tools.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

The Rockwell Museum (Corning, NY) announced Janelle Steiner, events coordinator, and Kate Swanson, interpretation and public engagement educator, have been selected to participate in The Museum Association of New York’s (MANY) “Building Capacity, Creating Sustainability, Growing Accessibility” program. The IMLS Cares Act grant project is designed to help museums impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic share their collections and reach audiences who cannot physically visit their museums. In this two-year program, museums will identify an event or project to deliver virtually to their audiences, focusing on developing programs from stories found in their collections that reveal cultural and racial diversity in their communities.

LEADERSHIP

Stephanie Haught Wade was named the new director of Historic Arkansas Museum (Little Rock, AR). Wade has been a historian with the Department of Arkansas Heritage since 2017, where she managed the Arkansas Historical Marker Program and was a member and administrator of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemoration Committee. She began work on April 5.

Kudos Affiliates!! October 2020

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

The Durham Museum (Omaha, NE) received a $25,000 grant from The Iowa West Foundation to develop resources, programs, and projects that focus on economic development, education, place making, and healthy families.

The Nissan Foundation awarded $680,000 in grants to 27 nonprofit organizations for its 2020 grant cycle including awards to:

The NASA in Kansas program received a $2.8 million grant to help continue STEM-based education and research in the Sunflower State. The four-year award from NASA will help fund a consortium of universities and science museums, including the Cosmosphere (Hutchinson, KS).

The International Museum of Art and Science (McAllen, TX) was awarded a Collections Assessment for Preservation grant for $7,000 from the Foundation for the Advancement in Conservation. The funding will be instrumental in providing credible information for long-term planning for collections care and preparing for re-accreditation in 2022.

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission awarded grants to the following Affiliate organizations to support the general operations of the museums:

Putnam Museum and Science Center (Davenport, IA) received a $20,000 Cultural Leadership Partners grant administered by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. The grant will support a wide range of programs and events the Museum and Science Center will provide in the coming year.

New Mexico’s legislative session concluded with a $250,000 allocation for renovations at the Hubbard Museum of the American West (Ruidoso Downs, NM) and $750,000 to the New Mexico Museum of Space History (Alamogordo, NM) for facility and exhibit improvements.

The National Park Service, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, announced $12,800,000 in Save America’s Treasures grants to fund 42 preservation and conservation projects in 26 states including the following Affiliates:

  • Mystic Seaport Museum (Mystic, CT) – $102,000-for the preservation and accessibility to curatorial files.
  • YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (Center for Jewish History), (New York, NY) – $119,433-for the preservation and accessibility for Edward Blank YIVO Vilna Online Collections.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded grants totaling $25,899,000 for museums across the nation to improve services to their communities through Museums for America, and special initiatives-Museums Empowered and Inspire! Grants for Small Museums. Affiliate awardees include:

Museums for America

  • Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI) – $172,000.00-The Arab American National Museum will work with a learning design firm and a museum-focused exhibition design firm to develop, design, and fabricate new components for their children’s gallery spaces. This project will result in four new bilingual, less text-heavy exhibition elements that will allow young visitors in grades K-5 to gain a more balanced perspective on cultural and racial diversity within their communities, as well as an appreciation of the large-scale impact of all immigrant communities on American life.
  • Springfield Science Museum, part of Springfield Museums, (Springfield, MA) – $84,637.00-Museum staff will undergo Disability Inclusion and Universal Design training to redesign and enhance a core multi-use learning space and principle STEM program that can remove physical, cognitive, and social barriers to learning. External evaluators will measure access needs and learning outcomes before and after project upgrades in order to track progress and develop a scalable model of inclusive practice for all the museum’s science programming.
  • Mercer Museum (Doylestown, PA) – $40,000.00-Mercer Museum will conduct a detailed condition survey of 256 windows (including dormers and skylights) located in its original 1916 National Landmark Mercer Museum building. The survey will result in a comprehensive report, with recommendations and methodologies for repair and remediation intended to improve environmental conditions for the exhibited collections.
  • Arizona State Museum (Tucson, AZ) – $122,471.00-The Arizona State Museum will ensure the long-term preservation and accessibility of 50 items including large, handcrafted barkcloth fabrics and woven basketry mats from Indigenous groups in northern Mexico (Pima Bajo, Pipil, Tarahuamara, Tepehuan, Warhio, Yaqui, Tohono O’odham, and Otomi) and the Pacific Islands (Fijian, Hawaiian, Javanese, Melanesian, Philippine, Samoan, and Tongan).
  • Museum of Us (San Diego, CA ) – $249,668.00-The Museum of Us will engage with representatives of the Kumeyaay Nation (Kumeyaay) in a community-driven exhibit and program development process. This project will engage Kumeyaay community members in large forums, focus groups, one-on-one meetings, and written evaluations to accurately capture content for a new exhibit that is self-determined by the community.
  • Adler Planetarium (Chicago, IL) – $248,825.00-The Adler Planetarium will expand access to STEM programs for African American and Latinx Chicago teens through a progressive series of entry-point, introductory, intermediate, and advanced level programs. Students in grades 7-12 will be invited to join teams of scientists, engineers, and educators to undertake authentic scientific research and solve real engineering challenges. In collaboration with schools and community-based organizations, Adler will develop and implement new participant recruitment and retention strategies to reach teens in specific neighborhoods.
  • South Carolina State Museum (Columbia, SC) – $245,239.00-The South Carolina State Museum will improve the stewardship of its collections through a two-year collections inventory and digitization project. The project will result in refined inventory and photography protocols for digitization of collection objects, the implementation of a new collections management system, and the acquisition of a dedicated server to ensure that the database has capacity for future growth.
  • Florida International University (Miami, FL) – $250,000.00-Florida International University will expand the shelving capacity in its Rare Books and Special Collections Library, improve storage conditions for the collection, and improve public access to the collection.
  • National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium (Dubuque, IA) – $206,286.00-The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium will conduct a collections survey and planning project that will build upon previous successful collections stewardship projects and improve the museum’s ability to care for and interpret its historical collections.
  • High Desert Museum (Bend, OR) – $155,280.00-The High Desert Museum will bring together key stakeholders to develop and implement the first High Desert Project, deconstructing the traditional conference structure to create a new approach to engaging broad audiences in dialogue-one that builds on the unique strengths of museums.
  • Connecticut Historical Society (Hartford, CT) – $238,604.00-The Connecticut Historical Society will inventory, rehouse, catalog, and digitize the Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program CCHAP collection which documents the cultural traditions and heritage within the rich diversity of Connecticut’s ethnic and workplace communities.
  • Mystic Seaport Museum (Mystic, CT)-$167,303.00-Mystic Seaport Museum will restore its 1921 fishing schooner-L.A. DUNTON-a National Historic Landmark vessel and one of the last surviving examples of its kind. Progress will be captured on video for podcast and other forms of distance learning to further expand the project reach.
  • Denver Museum of Nature and Science (Denver, CO)-$240,740.00-The Denver Museum of Nature and Science will advance stewardship and public access for 718 objects in its Northwest Coast Collection through collaborative conservation that involves Kwakwaka’wakw, Makah, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Tlingit and Haida tribes.
  • Center for Jewish History (New York, NY) – $52,230.00-The Center for Jewish History will improve stewardship of the 35mm and 16mm motion picture film collections of its five in-house partners: the American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University Museum, and YIVO Institute, as a pilot of a new digitization process.
  • USS Constitution Museum (Boston, MA) – $250,000.00-The USS Constitution Museum will launch a Salute to Service initiative to transform itself into a hub for conversation, connection, and community around military service so the community can see the museum as a trusted space for community engagement, and civilian participants in Salute to Service programs to gain an elevated understanding of military service and family sacrifice.
  • Witte Museum (San Antonio, TX)-$250,000.00-The Witte Museum will improve the conservation and preservation of its paleontology and geology collections to support continued fossil preparation for new fossil finds and acquisitions.
  • Krannert Art Museum (Champaign, IL) – $250,000.00-The Krannert Art Museum will reinstall its collection of ancient Andean art. This reinstallation will transform the ancient Andean gallery into an innovative teaching and research tool that better serves their core constituents and exposes audiences to the historical depth, cultural richness, and contemporary relevance of ancient Andean civilizations.
  • Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA) – $227,272.00-The Plimoth Plantation will develop a suite of educational resources for teachers, students, and the general public focusing on the relationship between the early Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people.

Museums Empowered: Professional Development Opportunities for Museum Staff

  • Ohio History Connection (Columbus, OH) – $249,920.00-The Ohio History Connection will conduct an online professional development program to help the network become better managed, more resilient, and better able to serve the public. Modules will focus on topics such as board development; collections handling; engaging with local communities; and essential museum knowledge for boards, directors, staff, and volunteers from outside the museum field.

Inspire! Grants for Small Museums

  • Dubuque Museum of Art (Dubuque, IA) – $40,975.00-The Dubuque Museum of Art will upgrade its collections management software through a four-phase project that will increase public access to the museum’s collection.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded $52.2 million in grants for 562 humanities projects featuring the following Affiliate initiatives:

  • Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ) – $4,622-The Heard Museum will use the funding for the preservation assessment of a library and archive collection dedicated to Native American art and cultures, covering topics such as Native American fine art, literature, anthropology, and museum studies.
  • Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, CA) – $172,445- The Japanese American National Museum will develop two, one-week workshops -Little Tokyo: How History Shapes a Community Across Generations- for 72 school teachers about the history and culture of Japanese-American immigrants and their place in U.S. history.
  • History Colorado (Denver, CO) – $224,914-History Colorado will digitize 100,000 pages from Colorado newspaper titles, published from 1859 to 1942, as part of the state’s continuing participation in the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).
  • History Colorado (Denver, CO) – $208,808-History Colorado will produce eight 45- to 60-minute podcast episodes about Colorado and Western U.S. history entitled the Lost Highways Podcast Program.
  • Grinnell College (Grinnell, IA) – $6,000-Grinnell College staff will conduct research for a book on the development of the Filipino diaspora in the United States and Europe, as a case study to understand how diasporas evolve.
  • Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA) – $49,200-The Plimoth Plantation will conduct an assessment of the collections and buildings at Plimoth Plantation, which has extensive collections of archaeological artifacts, fine and decorative art, and archival materials.
  • Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, MI) – $9,901-Michigan State University Museum will purchase storage equipment for the Siyazama Project collection, which is housed at the university’s museum and consists of 66 traditional craft works created by South African women as part of an organized art and health initiative during the HIV/AIDS crisis.
  • Center for Jewish History (New York, NY) – $65,500-The Center for Jewish History will provide 12 months of stipend support (1 fellowship) per year for one year and to defray costs associated with the selection of fellows.
  • Museum of Flight (Seattle, WA) – $236,824-Museum of Flight will arrange, describe, catalog, and select the digitization of 170 cubic feet of archival materials and 260 objects from the William P. and Moya Olsen Lear Collection, including correspondence, photographs, model planes, invention prototypes, and 33 audio recordings and 18 films related to groundbreaking discoveries in aviation and radio that span the twentieth century.
  • Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Cody, WY) – $48,933-Buffalo Bill Center of the West will construct a plan for storage spaces at all six of the center’s collecting units to maximize the preservation environment, space efficiency, and access to collections by staff and the public. Center staff would work with a consulting conservator, architect, and engineer to develop the plan.
  • Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (Seattle, WA)-$189,984- Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience will create two one-week workshops for 72 school teachers about the history and culture of Asian Pacific American immigrants in the Pacific Northwest.

The Mary Black Foundation awarded new grants to 19 nonprofits serving Spartanburg County, including $15,000 to Children’s Museum of the Upstate (Spartanburg, SC) to assist with operational costs to provide high-quality learning opportunities for young children in Spartanburg County.

Mid-America Arts Alliance awarded $50,000 to the American Jazz Museum (Kansas City, MO) to assist operational costs and digitizing of their collections.

Oklahoma History Center (Oklahoma City, OK) was awarded a grant through the Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) for personal protective equipment (PPE) to be utilized by the OHC Education Department. The funding has been used to purchase sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer and disinfectant for use by museum visitors and staff, as well as to be included in the trunks for our award-winning Traveling Trunk program.

The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium (Dubuque, IA) received funding from two area foundations to support conservation education and equitable access for Dubuque County residents. Alliant Energy Foundation has awarded the Museum $5,000 towards the expansion of its conservation education live animal outreach program address Iowa bird conservation initiatives and provide teacher workshop opportunities. The McDonough Foundation awarded $2,000 to increase equitable access through the Everybody’s Museum Membership (EMM) program—a free membership program that is open to economically challenged youth and families in Dubuque County, as well as community members with physical and intellectual disabilities.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Mercer Museum & Fonthill Castle (Doylestown, PA) and USS Constitution Museum (Boston, MA) recently received reaccreditations from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).

RANDY PARKER/THE DAILY TRIBUNE NEWS Booth Western Art Museum is named the Best Art Museum in the USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards contest.

The Booth Western Art Museum (Cartersville, GA) was named Best Art Museum in the USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards contest.

The Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society at the Cultural Heritage Center (Pierre,SD) earned an AASLH Award of Excellence for the exhibit “Silent Silos: South Dakota’s Missile Range.”

Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, MI) received the Special Achievement – Excellence in Community Empowerment award for its exhibition – “Finding Our Voice: Sister Survivors Speak” at the 32nd annual Excellence in Exhibition Competition, presented by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).

Framingham State University (Framingham, MA) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign were recognized for their efforts to support diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus with a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award. The award is given by INSIGHT into Diversity, the oldest and largest diversity magazine and website in higher education.

Kudos Affiliates! for October 2015

Affiliates continue to demonstrate significant impact, all over the country. Congratulations to all!

FUNDING

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced grants for 217 museum projects awarded through the highly competitive Museums for America and National Leadership Grants for Museums programs including the following Affiliates:

The San Diego Natural History Museum will improve the management and accessibility of data for more than 1.2 million specimens in its paleontology research collection by upgrading its current database to “Specify 6,” a database designed specifically for natural history collections.

The Denver Art Museum will develop a Latino artist-in-residence program to better reflect the full diversity of the community. The museum will create a series of one-month Latino artist residencies, bringing Latino artists of local, national, and international stature to the museum.

The Denver Art Museum will conduct a first-ever detailed conservation survey of 604 three-dimensional objects in its Architecture, Design, and Graphics collection. The project will advance institutional long-range goals for strengthening collections management by improving curatorial knowledge of the collection condition in anticipation of heightened exhibition, rotation, and program activity.

History Colorado seeks to improve the stewardship of a collection of 6,187 historic objects and more than 50,000 archaeological artifacts through relocation of the items to a new storage facility. Relocation to an 15 environmentally stable and readily accessible facility will allow History Colorado to more effectively preserve and manage its collections.

The Mystic Seaport Museum will improve the physical state of the 1908 steamboat, Sabino, a National Historic Landmark vessel and the last remaining wooden, coal-fired, operating steamboat in the United States.

The Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art will undertake two video projects to help visitors better understand the museum and earth science, and to provide an incentive for more school-driven visits. The museum plans to update its welcoming video, and a second video will focus on earth science with STEM-related material.

Conner Prairie Museum will implement a series of on-going maker programs using the tools, materials, and philosophy of the modern maker movement by drawing inspiration from the historic crafts and trades visitors experience at the museum.  

  • Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, ME) – Award Amount: $150,000;

The Abbe Museum will design, fabricate, and install a permanent exhibit showcasing the history and culture of Maine’s native Wabanaki people. The exhibit will include content, artifacts, images, and interactive elements informed by the museum’s interpretive framework, its Native Advisory Council, and Native advisors.

The USS Constitution Museum will create an online collections, research, and interpretive portal for educators and information seekers of all ages offering free and unlimited access to the museum’s nationally significant collection of manuscripts, rare books, artifacts, and artwork capturing the role of the Constitution during the War of 1812.

  • Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, MI)-Award Amount: $59,898;

The Michigan State University Museum will preserve an important collection of rare and fragile barn models located for decades in substandard space, by rehousing them in the museum’s cultural collections resource center, a climate-controlled repository.

The Senator John Heinz History Center will develop, fabricate, and tour a traveling exhibit that will use life figures, modular panels, hands-on objects, cases with artifacts, oral histories, and video components to help audiences at small local museums explore how World War II transformed the lives of Pennsylvania residents.  

The Museum of History and Industry will launch a two-year project designed to engage participants, pre-K through adult learners, through a coordinated set of museum, classroom, and community experiences in exploring the region’s legacy of innovation, collaboration, experimentation, and perseverance skills.

The Wing Luke Asian Museum will expand and strengthen its guided neighborhood walking tours to provide opportunities for members of the Asian Pacific American community to share their stories, to stimulate the local economy by fostering partnerships with neighborhood businesses and organizations, and to promote the historic and cultural appeal of the Chinatown International District.

Madison Children’s Museum will model a creative approach to behavioral change encouraging increased physical activity by redesigning stairwells in its historic building and by producing related programming to counteract decreased activity and a rise in obesity among Wisconsin children. During the two-year initiative, the museum will produce three examples of stairwell transformation.

Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach, CA) and Framingham State University (Framingham, MA) have been selected to receive a competitive Latino Americans: 500 Years of History grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. As two of 203 grant recipients selected from across the country, both will receive a cash grant of $3,000 to hold public programming – such as public film screenings, discussion groups, oral history initiatives, local history exhibitions, multi-media projects or performances – about Latino history and culture.

The Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor, ME) has received a grant from Grants to Green Maine to provide an energy efficiency audit for the museum’s historic downtown location. The grant complements the museum’s Greening the Abbe Initiative and the near completion of the National Endowment for the Humanities funded projects that have helped reduce the Abbe’s carbon footprint and operating costs.

PNC’s Grow Up Great program has awarded a $30,000 grant to The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology (Newark, OH) to provide early childhood science education this coming school year. The programs will feature classroom instruction, field trips and family nights at the Works. New this year will be a teacher professional development day at the Works facilitated by an instructor from the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center.

The Witte Museum (San Antonio, TX) announced the beginning stages of construction for the H-E-B Lantern, the entrance to the New Witte and home to a Pterosaur, “Quetzy” through a generous donation of $2 million on behalf of H-E-B to the New Witte.


LEADERHIP AND STAFF CHANGES
 

Susan J. Weller, former executive director and curator at the J.F. Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota, has been named director of the University of Nebraska State Museum (Lincoln, NE). She succeeds Priscilla Grew, who has directed the museum since 2003.

Fundraising professional Karrie Zuccarello of Indianapolis has been named chief development officer at Conner Prairie (Fishers, IN). She joins the museum from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, where she was director of development since 2011.

The Denver Art Museum (Denver, Colorado) has named fashion and art historian and curator Florence Müller as its next Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art, Curator of Fashion.

 

 

June 2015 kudos to Affiliates

Congrats to these Affiliates on their recent accomplishments!

FUNDING

surfacing July 10-12, 2015!

surfacing July 10-12, 2015!

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism has given the Wisconsin Maritime Museum (Manitowoc, WI) a $39,500 grant for their first annual submarine festival, Sub Fest. The festival will be July 10-12.  During the festival, visitors will see a Naval Art Collection, film showings, and interactive exhibits. Sub Fest was created to celebrate the community’s ship building history and educate others about the area’s lasting legacy.

Union Station Kansas City Inc. (Kansas City, MO) announced a $360,000 gift from the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation toward a $7.5 million expansion and improvement project. The initiative aims to modernize the streetscape around the station, add a bridge to connect cars and pedestrians to a parking garage and expand the Science City attraction inside Union Station.

The National Park Service announced the recipients of the National Maritime Heritage Grants including the following Affiliates:

Mystic Seaport Museum (Mystic, CT)  The Seaport received $199,806 to restore the 1908 steamboat Sabino, one of two surviving excursion steamers in the US and the only one on the East Coast.
USS Constitution Museum (Boston, MA)  The Museum received $50,000 to create a multi-media experience to welcome and introduce audiences to the history and significance of the USS Constitution.
Oklahoma Historical Society (Oklahoma City, OK)  The Society received $25,000 for the Discovery and Excavation of the Steamboat Heroine, an exhibit and education program on western steamboat travel and the history, discovery, and excavation of a western river steamboat.

The National Endowment of the Arts has awarded their Art Works and State and Regional Partnerships grant awards to the following Affiliate projects:

Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, MI) received $30,000 to support the Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeships and Heritage Awards Program.  The Arts Apprenticeship Program will support master artists in their instruction of apprentices in various traditional arts. The Heritage Awards Program will provide public recognition of the master artists and demonstrations/performances by the artist and apprentice teams at the Great Lakes Folk Festival.  A gallery in the MSU Museum and a website will provide information about the artists and traditions celebrated and perpetuated through these programs.
American Jazz Museum (Kansas City, MO) received $20,000 to support the 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival. The one-day indoor and outdoor festival will feature ticketed performances by jazz and blues artists on multiple stages. Musical offerings are supplemented by educational programming including jazz storytelling, a workshop, and lectures. Additional accompanying project activities may include performance opportunities for local youth jazz ensembles and a public master class with the festival’s artist-in-residence.

a new exhibition in South Carolina, supported in part by the NEA

a new exhibition in South Carolina, supported in part by the NEA

Children’s Museum of the Upstate (Greenville, SC) received $15,000 to support a residency by Japanese anime artist Makoto Shinkai to coincide with the museum’s hosting of the exhibition Hello from Japan. The residency activities will include students from the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and will incorporate art-making workshops, lectures, and an anime film festival. The residency and the exhibition, organized by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, will promote education about Japan’s anime tradition through direct engagement and learning.

The Hubbard Museum of the American West (Ruidoso Downs, NM) will present two touch screen interactive exhibits thanks to a $7,500 Hubbard Foundation grant. The award will be used to enhance the wagon exhibits and offer more detailed information to visitors.

 

ACHIEVEMENTS and RECOGNITION

Dr. Dennis A. Casey, educator at the Virginia Museum of Natural History (Martinsville, VA) was elected District VIII Director of the National Science Teachers Association.

The State of Connecticut named Mystic Seaport (Mystic,  CT) President Steve White the 2015 Tourism Leader of the Year. The award honors an individual who has made a singular contribution to the advancement of the tourism industry in Connecticut.

 

LEADERSHIP

Kate Vengrove has been named interim director of Hunt Hill Farm Trust (New Milford, CT).

Amy Hollander has been named the new executive director at the National Museum of Industrial History (Bethlehem, PA).

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!