From programs on the ground in local communities to reaching diverse audiences with new technology, Affiliates and the Smithsonian are creating innovative learning experiences that are changing the role museums play for students. These innovators in education will share their successes during two separate sessions at the 2012 Affiliations National Conference, June 12 – 14.
In September 2004, the Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, CA) began a transformative journey to Little Rock, AR, where former internees and their families, students and educators gathered to examine and reflect upon the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Arkansas students candidly discuss what they learned from studying the Japanese American incarceration and how the experience is connected to their own lives in this video. Allyson Nakamoto, Manager of Teacher Programs at the museum is one of five Affiliate speakers discussing the impact programs like these have on the local community in the session Innovation in Education, Part 1: Smithsonian Affiliates as Catalysts of Change on Wednesday, June 13.
How are inventors inspired by the places where they live and work? What might a place of invention look like? Using 21st-century skills, Places of Invention, will highlight innovative places and communities across the US, including six Affiliate communities. With Lemelson’s training, Affiliates will be conducting community research and producing documentation projects of their own cities with a local community partner. The content they produce – videos, images, oral histories, exhibitions and programs of their own – will enrich the Smithsonian’s exhibition with authentic, locally-based research. Monica Smith, Exhibition Program Manager, Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History, and an Affiliate partner will discuss how Places of Invention will be integrated into interactive educational activities and public programs during Innovation in Education, Part 2: Teaching and Learning with New Technology, Thursday, June 14. Four additional programs that are reaching students using technology will also be highlighted.
Post-it Note ® Inventor Art Fry
Join us at the 2012 Affiliations National Conference, June 12-14, and meet these innovators in education.
The Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference is for current Affiliates only. If you are interested in becoming an Affiliate, or have an application in progress and would like to attend the Conference, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee for more information.
Most of us know little about the War of 1812. What were its causes, when did it start, who were its heroes and how did it end? If we remember anything at all, it may be the burning of Washington, D.C., the bombardment of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry – the event that inspired Francis Scott Key to pen our national anthem – and perhaps Andrew Jackson’s victory at the Battle of New Orleans (fought two weeks after the signing of the treaty that ended the war). For most of us the rest is a long-forgotten chapter in dusty old textbooks. An upcoming exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallerywill assemble a remarkable number of paintings and artifacts from the War of 1812 in an effort to remind us that it was this war that completed the unfinished business of the American Revolution and secured our true independence from the British, once and for all.
The Star Spangled Banner at the National Museum of American History. Photo courtesy National Museum of American History.
The USS Constitution near the USS Constitution Museum in Boston. Photo by Smithsonian Affiliations.
On October 20, I had the honor of announcing our new Affiliation with the USS Constitution Museum, thus symbolically joining these two great artifacts into one family. Both tell us much about the sacrifices of prior generations and the many hardships endured along the road to freedom. Both are also amazing examples of the combined efforts of generations of concerned citizens, public officials, historians and museum professionals to preserve these precious legacies of our nation’s early and fragile years.
We hope that the upcoming Bicentennial of the War of 1812 will draw further attention to the work that museums are doing to preserve our nation’s past and draw lessons for our future. Are there any War of 1812 stories, artifacts, or historic landmarks in your communities? Let us hear from you so that we can work together to present the fullest picture of this critical part of our history.
Harold A. Closter See more photos from Harold’s visit to the museum here.
Smithsonian Affiliations Director, Harold Closter, with USS Constitution commanding officers. Photo by Smithsonian Affiliations.
Thank you to everyone who traveled to Washington, D.C. in June to join us for the Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference. So much happened in just 3 short days! We don’t want anyone to feel left out, so we’ve created a conference recap and included links to important information you may have missed.
Click here to view 2011 Conference photos on our Flickr site and add your own!
Welcome Reception in the Smithsonian Castle Commons. Photo by Smithsonian Affiliations.
Day 1, Monday, June 13: The 2011 Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference opened with a bang at the Smithsonian Castle. During Orientation in the Castle Library, attendees reunited with fellow Affiliates and met new staff members from recently affiliated organizations. Affiliations Director, Harold Closter, discussed the advantages of partnering with the Smithsonian. Click here to view the Orientation session PowerPoint presentation.
We wrapped-up the first day with a Welcome Reception in the Smithsonian Castle Commons. Special guest Sidney Mobell thanked Affiliates and the Smithsonian for hosting Jeweled Objects of Desire, a traveling exhibition based on his jeweled art creations, which over the years has traveled to six Affiliates and is in the National Gem Collection at the National Museum of Natural History. Interested in hosting the exhibition? Contact your National Outreach Manager.
Photo by tony brown/imijphoto.com
Day 2, Tuesday, June 14: Focusing on education at this year’s conference, we invited Claudine Brown, Assistant Secretary for Education and Access, to be our Keynote Speaker. She spoke on the future of education at the Smithsonian, the role of partnerships in advancing the work of Affiliates, and challenged Affiliates and the Smithsonian to expand education and access. “At the Smithsonian, our collections and exhibitions inspire. Our people teach and our programs help students apply what they have learned. We aspire to be a veritable educational engine, using the resources of America’s museum to create a stronger, better America for our children to inherit. Through our National Outreach Programs, we will expand our exhibition-based education programs to cities and towns across the country.” Click here to view Claudine Brown’s Keynote Address PowerPoint.
Photo by tony brown/imijphoto.com
Following Claudine Brown’s keynote, attendees were invited to brainstorm collaborative ideas in education in the roundtable session What’s the Big Idea: Revitalizing Education Through Partnership and Collaboration. From education technology to dedicated spaces, early childhood education to programs in your own backyard, there was ample opportunity to discuss the “big ideas” and then share them at the end of the session. What was shared?Click here to find out.
The afternoon was filled with sessions introducing new initiatives, increasing membership, expanding mobile platforms and STEAM programming. We wound down the day with a curator-led tour of the exhibition Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Warriors: A Photographic History by Gertrude Käsebier.
Click on the links below for the PowerPoint presentations from each session:
Day 3, Wednesday, June 15: The final day of the conference may have been the most exciting of the three days! National Museum of the American Indian Chef Richard Hetzler started the day off with a cooking demonstration and book signing of his cookbook, The Mitsitam Café Cookbook. After the demonstration, several Affiliate attendees shared how they use food to connect with their visitors and Chef Hetzler was enthusiastic about traveling to Affiliate venues for cooking demonstrations and book signings. Want to book Chef Hetzler? Contact your National Outreach Manager.
Following breakfast, conference attendees met with Smithsonian staff at four museums—National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of American History, National Museum of African Art, and National Museum of Natural History—to get a behind-the-scenes look at the Smithsonian loan process. Have a loan policy question? Contact your National Outreach Manager.
In the afternoon, attendees hopped on a bus and took a guided tour of the Anacostia neighborhood before meeting with staff at the Anacostia Community Museum to discuss museum issues at the community level and get a guided tour of the exhibition Word, Shout, Song.
And to top it all off, senators, representatives and Capitol Hill staffers joined Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough and Affiliates at the congressional reception at the Rayburn House Office Building.
Have questions about any of the sessions? Want to contact a Smithsonian staff member from the Resource Fair, or another Affiliate you met during the Conference? Contact your National Outreach Manager who will be happy to assist you!
Here’s what Affiliates said about the conference:
“It was positively exhilarating!”—Natalie De Riso, Community Programs Manager, Heinz History Center
“Thank you so much for an excellent Smithsonian affiliation conference, we all came back full of ideas and inspiration!”—Carmen Fishler, Director, Universidad del Turabo
“I brought back a lot of great ideas and contacts. I think the most important thing I came away from the conference with is a renewed feeling of excitement. It was inspiring to see all the good work people are doing both at the Smithsonian, and at all the sibling museums. Altogether an excellent experience and I’m looking forward to next year.”—David Unger, Director of Interpretation, American Textile History Museum
“I thought it was an excellent conference and a great introduction to the Affiliates program. Thanks for all the efforts everyone made to have a successful conference.”—Will Ticknor, Director of Museums, City of Las Cruces
Panelists (L to R): Robert Singleton, Helen Singleton, Sybil Jordan Hampton (moderator), Tamio Wakayama
I often take for granted how easy it is to follow breaking news. To find out what happened during a raid on a compound in Pakistan, I can turn on a 24-hours news channel or click on a few links to get caught up.
Student with his artwork inspired by the Freedom Rides
But 50 years ago the medium of television was new. And 50 years ago today, the first buses of Freedom Riders (and three reporters) left Washington, D.C. and headed South to test Boynton v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that had desegregated interstate travel. What followed changed the course of the United States history.
JANM was honored to have been selected as the West Coast venue for this program and streamed the Webcast to a live audience of students from LAUSD’s Civitas School of Leadership and Ribet Academy. Following the Webcast, Dr. Robert and Mrs. Helen Singleton, two Los Angeles-based Freedom Riders, and Mr. Tamio Wakayama, a Japanese Canadian member of SNCC, were on a panel moderated by Dr. Sybil Jordan Hampton, a member of JANM’s Board of Trustees and herself an important figure in the Civil Rights Movement. We were star struck!!!
This has gotten us thinking about how the Freedom Rides impacted Japanese Americans, and especially how it may have emboldened those in the Redress Movement. What were the Issei, Nisei, and Sansei who watched these images broadcast on national television (just as that medium was becoming commonplace) thinking and feeling as they watched the buses burning, the cruel racism, and brave individuals standing up for what was right?
What would you have been thinking if you had been watching those Freedom Riders make their way South under the “protection” of Boynton v. Virginia?
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.
Congratulations to these Affiliates making headlines!
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The Rich, Detailed Fullness Found in Empty…READ MORE
Historical cottage at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden.
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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
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.
MISSISSIPPI: 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.