January 3, 2011
Juan Villa and friend performing Corridos at the "Free Family Day" at the Sonoma County Museum.
This past November, Sonoma County Museum opened the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service’s (SITES) Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964 and they hoped that their local community would help bring the exhibition alive. The museum was not disappointed. Through a busy schedule of public events at the museum, visitors responded to the exhibition in a very personal way.
When the National Museum of American History (NMAH) began researching the Leonard Nadel photographs that were taken to document the lives of the migrant farm workers, curators realized that they had an enormous asset to learn more about the images: the people who were there. Many braceros are alive today, never having shared their past stories with anyone other than their immediate families. In some cases, their children are not even aware of their pasts. Research focused on collecting oral histories and documenting experiences of the thousands of workers that participated in this government program. When the traveling exhibition was organized, curators hoped that each stop on its tour would yield more stories from this important chapter in American history. Sonoma County Museum’s programs did just that.
Oral history screen in the "Bittersweet Harvest" exhibition.
Eric Stanley, Exhibitions and Collections Curator at the Sonoma County Museum told us how they approached the programming that complemented the exhibition so well. The museum began with video oral histories of local braceros, filmed several months before the opening. “The oral history project was sponsored in part by a programming grant from SITES, which helped facilitate the project,” said Eric. Eric also had the opportunity to see the NMAH installation of the exhibition, while in Washington, D.C. as a Smithsonian Affiliations Visiting Professional. He was able to meet with staff who had planned programming for the original show, which inspired some facets of the installation at the Sonoma County Museum, including a hands on table at which visitors could try out some of the tools braceros used.
The video oral histories became the centerpiece of the opening reception, which drew many of the interviewed braceros and their families. One guest, Cruz Leon Martinez, worked as a bracero before settling in Sonoma County- where he found work in a winery. Mr. Martinez attended with several generations of his family and guests, proud to share the video oral history with them.
Former bracero Cruz Leon Martinez (seated with hat) and his family at the opening reception.
Sonoma County Museum also hosted a “Free Family Day” which featured live performances of corridos and other songs about labor and migration. The standing-room only event featured a recent documentary on the Bracero Program and was well covered in the media. Eric told us that the exhibit has been very popular with tour groups and that he has received many thank you’s from students who have visited the exhibition. One such note says, “I want to thank you because you gave us the opportunity to go see the museum. I learned about how people were living in their past … I’m going to ask my mom to go to the museum with my sister, because I would like to see my little sister learning about our past.”
Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964 is on view at the Sonoma County Museum until January 30, 2011.
All photographs courtesy Sonoma County Museum.
November 19, 2010
Congratulations to these Affiliate making headlines!
Frost Art Museum at Florida International University (Miami, Florida)
Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough to speak at FIU Nov. 19…READ MORE
Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
Art Museum of Puerto Rico will host the most complete collection of works by José Campeche…ENGLISH VERSION / SPANISH VERSION
Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, Massachusetts)
Plimoth Plantation to show History Channel Thanksgiving film…READ MORE
The Air Zoo (Portage, Michigan)
Air Zoo plans 50,000-square-foot addition for exhibits, aircraft and library…READ MORE
Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art (Biloxi, Mississippi)
Frank Gehry-Designed Mississippi Museum Highlights Sculptor George E. Ohr…READ MORE
Conner Prairie (Fishers, Indiana)
History Park Receives National Honor…READ MORE
Agency names Conner Prairie one of top U.S. museums…READ MORE
Poverty Point SHS (Pioneer, Louisiana)
Poverty Point recognition well deserved…READ MORE
Poverty Point gains attention…READ MORE
Poverty Point now a Smithsonian affiliate…READ MORE
Poverty Point Now a Smithsonian Affiliate…READ MORE
Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, CA)
“American Tapestry” Exhibition Tells 25 Stories through Collected Objects, Art…READ MORE
L.A.’s Japanese American National Museum wins federal medal for excellence, and $10,000…READ MORE
National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia, PA)National Museum of American Jewish History Opening…READ MORE
Jewish Museum Opens Its Doors to History: Past, Present, Future…READ MORE
Philly home to one-of-a-kind museum of Jewish history…READ MORE
National Museum of American Jewish History gala…READ MORE…WATCH VIDEO
National Museum of American Jewish History tells ‘story of America through Jewish eyes’…READ MORE
Biden attends museum opening…WATCH VIDEO
Jewish History Museum Gala…VIEW PHOTO GALLERY
A look inside the new museum…VIEW PHOTO GALLERY
An overview of the new museum…WATCH VIDEO
Stories of a people: Star-studded festivities herald a Phila. museum focused on the Jewish role in American culture…READ MORE
Starry night for museum’s debut…READ MORE
Chronicling lives more than religion…READ MORE
Building and message at odds: While the museum’s exhibits tell of Jews’ success in America, the architecture is decidedly downbeat…READ MORE
New museum offers 4 floors of perspectives…READ MORE
Docents train hard and proud…READ MORE
Vice President Attends Jewish Museum Opening…READ MORE
Biden Attends Museum Opening On Independence Mall…READ MORE
Biden among notables attending opening ceremony of National Museum of American Jewish History…READ MORE
Daily Grinder: National Museum of American Jewish History Opens, Biden Is There…READ MORE
Jerry Seinfeld, Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler unite to honour their Jewish heritage…READ MORE
Expansion of National Museum of American Jewish History to open…READ MORE
Philly museum opens with stars, speeches and plenty of American nostalgia…READ MORE
Stu Bykofsky: New Jewish history museum is ‘uniquely American‘…READ MORE
American Jewish History Celebrated in the City of Brotherly Love…READ MORE
Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg On The New National Jewish Museum…READ MORE
Mazel Tov! National Museum of American Jewish History Opens Its Doors…READ MORE
Discovering American Jewish history at new museum (VIDEO)…READ/WATCH MORE
November 12, 2010
Congratulations to these Affiliates making headlines!
National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Jewish history museum set to open near historic Philadelphia sites…READ MORE
New National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia Celebrates Jewish Life…READ MORE
New Philadelphia museum celebrates Jewish life…READ MORE
New museum traces accomplishments of American Jews…READ MORE
Jewish Museum Completes New Home in Philadelphia…READ MORE
American Jewish History Museum To Open…WATCH VIDEO
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Identity…READ MORE
Museum shows view of American history through Jewish lens…READ MORE
A Walking Tour Through Time…READ MORE
Jews You Can Use…READ MORE
A People’s History…READ MORE
Museum of American Finance (New York, New York)
Monopoly’s diamond year…READ MORE
Poverty Point State Historic Site (Louisiana)
Poverty Point accepted as Smithsonian Affiliate…READ MORE
Rubin Museum of Art (New York, New York)
Buddhism’s Influence on Contemporary Artists Explored by the Rubin Museum of Art…READ MORE
The Rich, Detailed Fullness Found in Empty…READ MORE
Historical cottage at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden.
Snug Harbor Cultural Center (Staten Island, New York)
Staten Island gem: A guide to the new Snug Harbor Cultural Center…READ MORE
The Museum of Flight (Seattle, Washington)
Museum Of Flight Names New President And CEO…READ MORE
Heard Museum (Phoenix, Arizona)
Heard Museum receives grant from local tribe…READ MORE
Grant allows more students to visit Heard Museum…READ MORE
Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, Massachusetts)
Thanksgiving Virtual Field Trip Brings More than a Million Students Nationwide to Plimoth Plantation on November 16, 2010…READ MORE
Debunking Thanksgiving Myths at Plimoth Plantation…READ MORE
Plimoth Plantation: A step back in time…READ MORE
October 26, 2010
November is another busy month in Affiliateland!
Sousa and His League of Players: America’s Music and the Golden Age of Baseball opens at the Sousa Archives at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in Champaign, 11.1.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum loans a 1966 Charmion von Wiegand painting to the Rubin Museum of Art, in New York, 11.5.
The Museum of History and Industry will announce their Affiliation at an event with Smithsonian Regent Patty Stonesifer, in Seattle, 11.5.
David Bohaska, collections manager in the Department of Paleobiology at the National Museum of Natural History will participate in the annual Fossil Festival at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, in Raleigh, 11.6.
The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art will host a Grand Opening of their new museum and will unveil “Blackberry Woman,” a Richmond Barthe bronze sculpture, on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, in Biloxi, 11.6.
The National Museum of American Jewish History hosts a Grand Opening Weekend showcasing several Smithsonian loans, in Philadelphia, 11.12-14.
Three José Campeche paintings travel for the first time from the Smithsonian American Art Museum to the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, in San Juan, 11.18.
Smithsonian Secretary, G. Wayne Clough, will give a public lecture at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University, in Miami, 11.19.
The SITES’ exhibition, Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964 will open at the Sonoma County Museum, in Santa Rosa, 11.20.
October 5, 2010
Special thanks to Alma Douglas, Smithsonian Affiliations National Outreach Manager, for this post.
It took several years of negotiations to determine the feasibility of loaning a 135 year-old skeleton of a horse to the International Museum of the Horse in Lexington, KY, but it finally happened in August.
Thomas J. Scott, Portrait of Lexington, 1888, oil on canvas mounted on fiberboard, sight 24 1/8 x 34 3/8 in. (61.3 x 87.4 cm.). Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David K. Anderson, Martha Jackson Memorial Collection. This portrait is on view at the Headley-Whitney Museum, another Smithsonian Affiliate in Lexington, KY.
Lexington, a beautiful bay, was one of America’s and some would say one of the world’s greatest racing champions. He was born in 1850 as Darley and renamed in 1853. He won six races out of seven in addition to what was considered to be the greatest match race of the 19th century. Lexington was also raced against the clock to produce a speed record that held for over 20 years — four miles in seven minutes, 19 ¾ seconds. Forced to retire because he was going blind, Lexington was a leading sire who produced a record number of champions over the course of 16 years. After his death, Lexington’s bones were donated to the Smithsonian and placed on exhibit.
In 1998, Carlene Stephens, a curator at the National Museum of American History, related the significance of horse racing, where races are won by tenths of seconds, to the subject of time while working on the Timex sponsored “On Time” exhibition. Lexington was featured in the exhibition. When “On Time” was de-installed, the skeleton went back into storage.
Interest was rekindled in bringing Lexington back to Kentucky by William Cooke, Executive Director of the International Museum of the Horse. Kudos to the team, headed by Linda Gordon, Collections Manager, Department of Mammals, National Museum of Natural History; Ed Ryan, Assistant Registrar and Carol Slatick, Outgoing Loans Coordinator, National Museum of American History, who worked seamlessly together to coordinate the loan.
Lexington's skeleton, fully assembled, at the International Museum of the Horse. Photo by James Shambhu.
Lexington stands as an iconic symbol for Bluegrass Country. His image is found throughout Lexington, KY in celebration of his greatness. Packed and crated gently for the long ride, the skeleton is now on display at the International Museum of the Horse, along with a full view of his portrait. As thousands of horse enthusiasts from across the country and around the world visit Kentucky for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, Lexington will be “in the house.”
September 20, 2010
On Saturday, September 25, 2010, Smithsonian Affiliates across the country will participate in the sixth annual Museum Day, presented by Toyota on behalf of the redesigned 2011 Avalon. More than 90 Smithsonian Affiliates will open their doors free of charge to all visitors who download the Museum Day Ticket from Smithsonian.com. Find a participating Affiliate in your neighborhood!
And check out the Around the Mall blog to learn where you can find Smithsonian artifacts at an Affiliate near you during Museum Day.
Here’s a sample of what a few Affiliates are doing to bring the Smithsonian to their neighborhoods on Museum Day:
Greensboro Historical Museum (Greensboro, North Carolina) will host The Smithsonian Associates Discovery Theater’s traveling show, African Roots, Latino Soul, a vibrant play that explores what it means to grow up in the American melting pot. Filled with laughs and surprises, and written with the Young Playwrights’ Theater, the play is a look into the triumphs of today’s multicultural kids. There will be two performances at the museum on Museum Day. The performance will highlight their new permanent exhibition, Voices of a City, which emphasizes the expression of voice and their multicultural local story.
Rayna Green, curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History (NMAH), will give a series of talks at two Affiliates over the weekend. At The Silo at Hunt Hill Farm Trust (New Milford, Connecticut) on Friday, September 24, she’ll discuss her experiences as co-curator of the Julia Child exhibition at NMAH, followed by a reception featuring some of Child’s favorite desserts, prepared by The Silo Cooking School. Next, Rayna travels to The Long Island Museum of American Art, History & Carriages (Stony Brook, New York) for an evening “Dinner with Julia” event on Saturday, September 25. She’ll speak about Julia Child’s Kitchen at the Smithsonian and its acquisition. On Sunday, September 26, to complement their exhibition of America’s Kitchens, organized by the New England Historical Association, she’ll discuss her experience with the Smithsonian’s Julia’s Kitchen exhibition during a public lecture on the social history of kitchens.
Virginia Museum of Natural History (Martinsville, Virginia) will be presenting a series of special Smithsonian films in the Walker Lecture Hall on Museum Day. The programs to be shown are part of the Stories from the Vaults series presented by Smithsonian Networks. In the series, host Tom Cavanagh (“Ed”) takes you on an entertaining insider’s tour of the private rooms, high-tech vaults, and cutting edge labs of the Smithsonian Institution, revealing some of the amazing artifacts and rarely seen treasures that visitors can’t see.
Challenger Space Center (Peoria, Arizona) opens their new exhibition, An Astronaut’s Life: Articles Flown In Space, including 23 items on loan from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Nineteen of the artifacts have flown in space on Gemini 8, Skylab 2, and several STS (Shuttle) missions. The artifacts tell the story of how astronauts live in space. Included are personal hygiene items such as a Gemini Survival Kit, a washcloth from the first Space Shuttle, STS-1 Columbia, clothing and bio-belt worn on Skylab 2 by astronaut Paul Weitz, space food from STS-27 Atlantis, and an actual heat shield fragment from Gemini 8 which carried astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott into orbit on March 16, 1966. Photo: Spacecraft Model, Gemini. Courtesy National Air & Space Museum. Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Museum Day 2010 is poised to be the largest to date, outdoing last year’s record-breaking event. Over 300,000 museum-goers and 1,300 venues in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico participated in Museum Day 2009. Last year, two million visitors logged on to Museum Day’s website to learn more about the program.
September 17, 2010
« Newer Posts
Congratulations to these Affiliates making headlines this week!
RUSS KENDALL | BELLINGHAM HERALD - Curtis Mahle, left, exhibit preparator and Scott Wallin, exhibition designer, hang one of the 55 pieces of art loaned to Whatcom Museum by the Smithsonian that make up the exhibition "1934: A New Deal for Artists."
Whatcom Museum of History and Art (Bellingham, WA)
First Smithsonian exhibit at Whatcom Museum showcases Depression-era art…READ MORE
National Jazz Museum in Harlem (New York, NY)
Breaking News from the 30’s Jazz World- Loren Schoenberg of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem joined us to discuss the newly uncovered “Savory Collection”…READ MORE
Durham Museum (Omaha, NE)
Get the “Dirt” on Soil this Fall at Omaha’s Durham Museum…READ MORE
The Museum of Flight (Seattle, WA)
Checking Out the Museum of Flight in Seattle…READ MORE
Anniston Museum of Natural History (Anniston, AL)
‘I’m never bored’: Naturalist Dan Spaulding always has an interesting chore or mission…READ MORE
Julia Child's kitchen kitchen at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, Behring Center.
Hunt Hill Farm Trust (New Milford, CT)
Bon Appétit! Julia Child’s Kitchen Topic of Silo Talk- The great Julia Child (1912-2004) will forever be remembered for introducing French cuisine and cooking techniques to the mainstream American public…READ MORE
— Older Posts »