If you missed today’s May All-Staff meeting at the Hirshhorn, watch the webcast here. Acting Secretary Al Horvath chats with Allison Peck, head of public affairs and marketing at the Freer and Sackler Galleries; Sabrina Lynn Motley, director of the 2015 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, previews this year’s program on Peru; Melinda Machado, director of the Office of Public Affairs at the American History Museum, discusses the opening of the museum’s renovated west wing at the end of June; and Ramiro Matos, associate curator and co-director of the Office of Latin American at the National Museum of the American Indian, previews the upcoming exhibition, “The Great Inka Road: Engineering and Empire.”
Acting Secretary AI Horvath is finishing up a successful and busy term. Dr. David Skorton arrives on July 1 to become the Smithsonian’s 13th Secretary.
Smithsonian Theaters launched I MAX’s new laser projection system in the Airbus IMAX Theater at the Udvar-Hazy Center May 1—just in time for the release of the blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is being celebrated in May with an array of programs, performances, exhibitions and activities. It kicked off with “Korea Day: A Family Festival” on May 3, hosted by the Freer and Sackler Galleries.
The Smithsonian played a prominent role in two recent segments of CBS’ “60 Minutes”— Smithsonian Regent and philanthropist David Rubenstein was featured on the May 3 program. On May 17, the Museum of African American History and Culture was featured in a piece highlighted by interviews with founding Director Lonnie Bunch, curators and collection donors. The program shared behind-the scenes stories about some of the remarkable collection items that will be on view when the museum opens in 2016. A second segment is planned.
The Smithsonian is partnering with edX to offer our first-ever Massively Open Online Courses, or MOOCs. “The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Pop Culture,” featuring Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee, began 5.
Air and Space Museum Director General Jack Dailey participated in the WWII Victory Capitol Flyover on May 8, celebrating “Victory in Europe Day.” Numerous planes from that era flew over the National Mall, and General Dailey was in the P-51 Mustang in the number two spot in the last formation for the flyover.
The Natural History Museum hosted a spring festival celebrating Arctic peoples, cultures and sciences. The Arctic Spring Festival took place May 8-10 at the museum to mark the United States’ 2015-2017 chairmanship of the Arctic Council, an international governmental body that coordinates Arctic policy.
Smithsonian magazine offered “The Future Is Here Festival” May 15-17, exploring the future of the brain, body, home and planet. The festival launched in collaboration with the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, the Grand Challenges Consortia, and the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.
On May 14, the Smithsonian Science Education Center celebrated its 30th anniversary with a reception at the Natural History Museum.
James McNeill Whistler’s famed 19th-century Peacock Room has been transformed by painter Darren Waterston into “Filthy Lucre;” the centerpiece of the Peacock Room REMIX exhibition in the Sackler Gallery. The work illuminates the tension between art and commerce; it opened May 16.
“Shirin Neshat: Facing History” opened May 18 at the Hirshhorn Museum, presenting an array of the expatriate Iranian artist’s most compelling films and photographs.
The Smithsonian Associates’ program “Smithsonian Newsflash” offered its sixth public program on May 20. Its topic was North Korea and featured Dr. James F. Person, Project Coordinator of the North Korea International Documentation Project at the Wilson Center. The next program will be June 25.
“America Now” is a three-part program jointly organized by the Portrait Gallery, American History Museum and American Art Museum that captures American innovation in dance, portraiture, music and art. It began May 22 with the “Pilobolus and Portraiture” program at the Portrait Gallery.
At the Natural History Museum, the new augmented reality mobile app “Skin & Bones” is giving the historic Bone Hall, first opened in 1881, new life. The app delivers more 3D augmented reality than any exhibition app has previously achieved, along with video and activities for visitors to take home.
“Elaine de Kooning: Portraits” opened at the Portrait Gallery March 13. De Kooning’s portraits include well known Americans such as poet Allen Ginsberg, critic Harold Rosenberg, President John F. Kennedy, de Kooning’s husband, painter Willem de Kooning, and painter Robert De Niro, Sr.
On March 16, the Smithsonian and Nanyang Technological University of Singapore signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on scientific research and education in forest and marine tropical ecology and global environmental change.
On March 16, the National Zoo, in collaboration with Univision’s ¡Despierta America!, invited people to name two 18-week-old male Andean bear cubs. The newly christened cubs Mayni and Muniri made their public debut on March 28.
The Prince of Wales attended a meeting at the Freer and Sackler galleries March 18 to discuss a 2016 exhibition that will showcase the revival of artisans in Afghanistan. The Prince is a founder of Turquoise Mountain, a non-profit organization created in 2006 to rebuild Kabul’s historic Old City and rejuvenate Afghanistan’s arts and crafts.
The American History Museum convened a one-day symposium March 20, “Religion in Early America.” Led by Stephen Prothero, renowned Professor of Religion at Boston University, the symposium explored three major themes that characterize the role of religion in the formation and early development of the United States.
Founded almost 40 years ago by the Smithsonian, the National Conference on Cultural Property Protection was held at the American History Museum March 26-27. The conference brought together nearly 150 participants from large and small cultural organizations across the United States and around the world to discuss best practices in heritage preservation from the perspective of security, facilities construction and management, risk assessment, and collections stewardship.
Smithsonian.com announced the winners of its 12th annual photo contest March 31. The photo editors pored over 26,500 entries, taken by photographers from 93 countries. One Grand Prize winner, one Reader’s Choice Award winner, and one winner for each of six categories were chosen. In all, more than 10,000 votes were cast online for the Reader’s Choice Award.
“Our American Journey,” the Smithsonian’s immigration/migration initiative partnered with Zocalo Public Square for the third event in their multiyear, free public program series, “What It Means to Be American.” The series seeks to inspire a national conversation on immigration and democracy related issues. The March 31 event at the American History Museum included a panel discussion with a musician, a filmmaker, and two authors on Americans as risk takers.
Winners of the 2014-15 Spark!Lab Invent It Challenge were announced by ePals and the Smithsonian. The four individual and four group winners, as well as the 20 honorable mentions, were selected from 260 submissions from students aged 5 to 18. Top entries ranged from solving problems, such as helping grandparents harvest food from their garden, to global solutions improving the quality of life and the health of the planet. In addition, 590,000 members of the general public cast their votes for the special ePals Choice Award.
The American History Museum received a donation of more than 50 artifacts from the TV drama “Mad Men,” including costumes, props, sketches, a script and notes from creator Matthew Weiner.
The Air and Space Museum, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and NASA, has installed a dynamic sun video wall. The wall shows full sun observations captured the previous day, spaceweather forecasts, and scientific explanations of solar features.
The African Art Museum launched its first online exhibition, “Sailors and Daughters: Early Photography and the Indian Ocean World.”
April was Jazz Appreciation Month. It launched with a special announcement of the LeRoy Neiman Foundation’s donation of a $2.5 million endowment towards the expansion of jazz programming. The foundation also donated Neiman’s painting, “Big Band,” a mural of some of history’s greatest jazz musicians.
On April 8, the Natural History Museum received its largest education donation to date: a $13 million gift from Coralyn Wright Whitney in support of the museum’s science education center Q?rius.
Scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and Smithsonian Tropical
Research Institute, working together as part of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project, opened a new safe haven for endangered amphibians April 8. The state-of-the-art, $1.2 million amphibian center at STRI’s Gamboa field station is the largest amphibian conservation facility of its kind in the world.
A special installation of American masterworks from Gilded Age, Impressionist and Ashcan School artists went on display on April 17 at the American Art Museum.
The American Indian Museum’s George Gustav Heye Center in New York, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Latino Center, opened “Ceramica de los Ancestros: Central America’s Past Revealed,” a bilingual English/Spanish exhibition April 18. More than 150 objects illuminate Central America’s diverse and dynamic ancestral heritage.
The Women’s Committee launched another successful Smithsonian Craft Show at the National Building Museum April 22.
The Museum of African American History and Culture hosted a daylong symposium April 25 titled “History, Rebellion and Reconciliation: Communities Mobilized for Social Change.” The program sparked conversation on race and the unrest that has been prevalent across the country.
Scientists from the National Zoo and Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute artificially inseminated giant panda Mei Xiang starting April 26.
The American History Museum debuted its first e-book for students, “The Mind Behind the Mask: 3D Technology and the Portrayal of Abraham Lincoln,” on April 30.
The Air and Space Museum conducted a pilot project to digitize aircraft instruments, bringing automated processes to bear on the challenge of efficiently photographing multiple views of a single object simultaneously.
Don’t forget! You have until June 5 to take the 2015 Smithsonian Employee Survey.
Posted: 27 May 2015