Education and Access Stories from around Smithsonian.
Cooper-Hewitt Design Center opened in mid-May. It is ot just as a new place to run our same old programs, but for creating new programs (bullying workshops with school districts, CON-Harlem, Harlem focused adult programs) that connect us to a new community. This has involved a lot of community outreach- meeting with District Supts., outreach to centers and other arts organizations. By October, over 5000 people attended Ed programs- well on the way to an annual deliverable of 6,000.
Arts Achieve (i3) was another project where we leveraged our technology expertise. Over 100 NYC teachers and administrators were trained by Cooper-Hewitt Director of Education, Caroline Payson.
Design in the Classroom
Created and oversaw the development of Design in the Classroom, a new program that brings design thinking into classrooms. It is not only a way to stay connected to schools while the museum is undergoing renovation, but is developing into a model for national outreach. It reached 17,000 students, exceeding a deliverable of 10,000 and received a $150,000 Youth access grant to develop it into a national pilot for train the trainer model.
Youth in programs with technology.
This year Cooper-Hewitt demonstrated that they are at the forefront of linking program content with technology to better serve the youth in programs and to be a model for other cultural institutions. Successful (programmatically and financially) projects include Digital Curators, HASTEC badging grant and HIVE Fashion. Most of these grants not only provide technology funding for specific programs, but can support museum-wide goals (for example- the badging grant funds a platform that can ultimately impact all audiences.
Freer Sackler Gallery
Education Technologies – Digital Tablet Technology in Education Workshops
Crafting My Legacy, October 1, 15, 29, 2011
A digital art activity paired with an Artizen-led gallery experience exploring the careful approach that the Empress Dowager Cixi took to creating her photographic portraits. In the classroom, participants will consider how they would like to be remembered, how that can be depicted, and then embark creating their own self-portraits using digital tablets.
iPads were used to take and view photographs, edit photographs and create mixed-media style self portraits, focusing on the theme of legacy. Apps used in this workshop: Juxtaposer, Photogene and Sketchbook HD. Apple TV was also used for iPad viewing on the television monitor.
Teen Workshop: Power|Play – Empress: China’s Empress Dowager
November 4, 18, 2011
A half-day workshop, related to the topic of the exhibition Power|Play, designed for students to build an understanding of the artworks on display through an in-gallery experience, followed by a digital classroom art activity, using a tablet device, in which the topic of power is explored.
iPads were used to take and view photographs, edit photographs and create mixed-media style self portraits, focusing on the theme of power. Apps used in this workshop: Juxtaposer, Photogene and Sketchbook HD.
Asia after Dark: Asian Soundscape
Freer and Sackler educators worked with instrument–maker John Tewksbury and cross-cultural percussionist Steve Bloom on a three-part experience for Asia after Dark: Asian Soundscape on September 28, 2012. (Asia after Dark is the Freer and Sackler Galleries’ most popular afterhours event.) Visitors made their own drums in “DIY Drumscapes,” learned to play learn basic rhythms from Asia in “Rhythm Workshops,” and used their personalized drums to participate in a "Drum Choir" in a finale performance at the evening’s conclusion. Click here for more information.
The Contemporary Voices series consists of programs (conversations, performances, demonstrations and other events) that are innovation-focused. They are inspired by and designed to deepen interest in the themes of our permanent collections and exhibitions while provoking thought and engendering discussions about contemporary issues. They feature artists and other creative minds engaged in shaping the future. Click here for more information
Crafting the My Legacy Inner-Artist Workshops
A total of 57 visitors attended the Crafting the My Legacy Inner-Artist Workshops on October 1, 15, and 29, 2011. The participants visited the Power|Play exhibition with curator David Hogge and the Artizens (Freer |Sackler gallery volunteers who engage visitors in conversations about art and culture) to engage in conversations creating visual self-representations. They then joined teaching artists, David Nash and Laura Sobrado, in the classroom to create their own self-portraits with digital and traditional media. Comments included, “Without today’s program, I would not have noticed the details or understood the context of the photographs in the Power|Play exhibit,” “I gained awareness of the decisions that that went into setting up the photographs in the Power|Play exhibit,” “Expanded my knowledge of digital technology,” “I will be back…today’s experience leaves me wanting more.” “The digital component of today’s program enhanced it a lot. It made me appreciate the connections between art and technology,” and “I learned to appreciate portrait making for the message it is trying to send.”
Sculpting the Seasons Inner-Artist Workshops
A total of 40 visitors attended the Sculpting the Seasons Inner-Artist Workshops on January 15 and February 11, 2012. (These were the final two programs in the series of six workshops begun in May 2011). The participants visited the Seasons exhibition in the Freer gallery with the gallery’s Artizens to engage in conversations about the seasonal expressions in the artworks on view. They then joined artists certified by the Sogetsu ikebana school in Tokyo to learn how the seasons are expressed in the Japanese art of flower arrangement. Each participant created their own flower sculpture. Participants commented: “Helped me look for seasonal clues in the artwork,” “Increased my understanding of the work on view in the Freer galleries,” “I learned to look more closely at the art in the galleries,” “I’ll look at things in the gallery much more deeply;” “Great mix of using galleries as inspiration, subject natter experts for instruction, and hands-on learning;” and “Today’s program really increased my understanding of the theme of ‘seasons’ in Japanese art and culture.”
Woodblock Printmaking: Then and Now
On Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20, four hundred (400) visitors attended “Woodblock Printmaking: Then and Now.” During these demonstrations and conversations artist Keiji Shinohara and Freer|Sackler curator Ann Yonemura demonstrated and discussed the art of Japanese woodblock printing. In a lively conversation with the audience, Mr. Shinohara shared how he mastered his craft and developed his personal style, while Ms. Yonemura provided special insight into the art of woodblock printing during the Edo period. Visitors commented, “I now have more respect for the woodblock printing process.” “It helped me appreciate the work that went into putting the exhibition on.” “It was good to hear from the curator and another artist working in the medium.” “Some exhibits tend to be rather ‘dry,’ and a live demonstration by a master artist was entertaining and fulfilling.”
Inner-Artist Workshops offer adults creative opportunities to investigate various aspects of the museums’ collections and exhibitions by pairing hands-on art-making workshops with gallery experiences. They are designed to provoke thought, inspire creativity, and deepen interest in Freer|Sackler collections and exhibitions in personally relevant ways. They also incorporate new digital technologies, whenever possible and relevant. Click here for more.
Teachers examine portraits of power and create a customized, digital self-portrait, using a tablet device. The goal of this workshop is to build understanding of the artworks and their context. Teachers learn how to incorporate newly acquired information and interactive teaching techniques into the classroom. iPads were used to take and view photographs, edit photographs and create mixed-media style self portraits, in an effort to teach participants how to use iPads as educational tools. Apps used in this workshop: Juxtaposer, Photogene, Sketchbook and Bump. Apple TV was also used to demo apps on the television monitor.
Anime Artist Residency, ImaginAsia
Participants learn the art of anime drawing in this intensive five-day course, led by anime artist Chris Jamison and focused on the Sackler exhibition Masters of Mercy: Buddha’s Amazing Disciples. For ages 9-18. iPads were used as drawing and animating tools, to create anime style drawings and 5 to 10 second animations. Apps used in this workshop: Sketchbook, Animation Desk. Apple TV also was used to demo and screen finished animations on the television monitor.
Claymation: Young Artists Residency
Young artists explore the Freer and Sackler Galleries to find an extraordinary character struggling to break out of the confines of a display case. These figures will become the heroes of the claymation videos that participants create during this five day residency. Corcoran School of Art + Design instructor Erik Swanson teaches storyboarding, scene design, and claymation techniques used to shoot the videos. iPads were used in this workshop to create storyboards, photograph claymation scenes, video and edit completed claymation video pieces. Apps used in this workshop: Photos, Sketchbook, Animation Desk.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Day and Evening Adult Public Programs
Total attendance for major day and evening adult public programs at the Hirshhorn Museum was 9,182.
The most important highlight was connected with Dough Aitken "SONG 1" projection on the entire façade of the Hirshhorn iconic building, transforming it into "liquid architecture" and an urban soundscape. Programs associated included; the annual James T. Demetrion Lecture delivered by Doug Aitken in conversation with Kerry Brougher, chief curator and deputy director.
A day symposium in the Ring Auditorium: “Art in the Expanded Field” included discussions by experts on “Music and Space” and “Liquid Architecture”.
In the evening a special "Happening" took place; it was an event with live musical performances around the Plaza. This evening event was attended by three thousand individuals. During the duration of “SONG 1” show, March through May 2012, public programs also offered outdoor evening series of talks. What was special about this 360-degreee Dough Aitken projection and related public programs was that it addressed how visual art and artists can create transformative impact on public space.
Hirshhorn Museum Partnerships
Hirshhorn Museum had a good year in terms of our partnerships on specific major day and evening public programs with variety of institutions including.
"Lunch Bytes" series of lunch sessions (inaugurated in the fall of 2010), which addressed the role of the digital and artistic practice from a wide range of perspectives. This series was presented in collaboration with the Goethe Institute, ProHelvetia and Embassy of Switzerland.
Hirshhorn Museum also participated in the "John Cage Centennial Festival" with a day program of lectures and a panel discussion entitled “Illuminations 6” – it was part of the city wide collaboration with 17 other organizations including NGA, La Maison Francaise and the Embassy of France, SI Freer Gallery of Art, University of California, American University, Arena Stage and Mead Center for American Theatre, and Library of Congress.
"Earth Matters: Ghada Amer" lecture was co-presented with the SI National Museum of African Art.
ARTLAB+ Teen Program
Hirshhorn's total attendance of the innovative ARTLAB+ teen program for FY2012 was 6,248. It was the most significant increase since we began this teen program in 2010. We are delighted that this daily after school program (except weekends) for teens makes a difference for teens from DC, MD, and VA areas; they have come from 153 different schools across the area - public, private, charter school, magnet schools, and home school groups. Approximately 75% of our teens are from DC, 15% from VA and MD, and 10% other. This program formed important partnerships that linked ArtLab with a number of institutions inside and outside of the Smithsonian including SCEMS, SI Access, National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of African Art, Ghandi Brigade, MLK Library, Holocaust Museum, Enlightenment Initiative, YMCA Young Ambassadors, and Girl Scouts of America.
National Air and Space Museum
Science in Pre-K
Now in its fourth year, Science in Pre-K at the National Air and Space Museum is a professional development program for District of Columbia Public School (DCPS) teachers. Recognizing the substantial benefits for children who attend preschool education programs, the Museum and DCPS are collaborating to improve pre-kindergarten science.
Space Shuttle Discovery
In April 2012, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM) welcomed the arrival the Space Shuttle Discovery. From Thursday, April 19, 2012 through Sunday, April 22, more than 50,000 visitors participated in the Welcome Discovery educational activities hosted by the National Air and Space Museum, in collaboration with NASA and 12 other aerospace agencies.
Collaboration with the Fairfax Network
During FY2012, the National Air and Space Museum, in collaboration with the Fairfax Network, produced two live, national satellite broadcasts: Aerospace Academy: Design a Satellite on November 17, 2011 and Flight School: On the Red Planet on March 21, 2012. After the initial live broadcasts, the programs are replayed on the Fairfax County Public Schools Channel 21 and distributed on DVD through Fairfax Network.
Conspiracies in Aerospace History: A Lesson in Critical Thinking for the Internet Age
National Air and Space Museum Education Department produced an online conference titled Conspiracies in Aerospace History: A Lesson in Critical Thinking for the Internet Age. Targeting secondary teachers and students nationwide, the live conference reached an estimated 6,000 people, representing 41 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and 58 countries. The conference is archived and available here.
How Things Fly
The How Things Fly website is an online companion to the hands-on gallery of the same name at the National Air and Space Museum’s National Mall building. The website offers multiple activities to help visitors learn about the science of flight. Focused on building a step-by-step understanding of the principles of flight, such as lift, weight, drag, and thrust, the narrative lessons are supplemented by imagery, short videos, quiz questions, hands-on experiments, and online activities.
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Programs for the Public and Educators
In FY12, NMAAHC Education conducted 11 public programs, three programs for educators, and four outreach presentations. We conducted a “groundbreaking summer concert” on the Mall, attended by 5000. A “Save Our African American Treasures” program was developed in Albany, Georgia to take place on March 9, 2013. We launched a new interim website and blog, as well as embraced social media with a Facebook page, a YouTube Channel, and Twitter and Flickr sites. In conjunction with SAAM, NMAAHC launched the Oh Freedom! educator’s website and began developed an online conference, which took place on February 6, 2013.
Gallery Cart and Augmented Reality App
In FY12, NMAAHC Education developed our first gallery cart. We also developed a 3-D Augmented Reality app, that allows visitors to see the building before it is completed, expected to launch in March 2013. And we developed an iPad interactive that allows visitors to see how the Emancipation Proclamation affected people based on their location, age, gender, and race, also to launch in March 2013. It will be mounted on our new gallery cart at NMAH and will also be available through iTunes. And NMAAHC continued the development of online access to the Freedman’s Bureau records and a History Pin project, which highlights NMAAHC Harriet Tubman’s objects .
We recruited and hired 50 new volunteers and we expanded our volunteer program to include OVS Visitor Information Specialists to staff our new Welcome Center.
Classroom Treasures is a free in-school program for grades 4 – 6. I FY12, In the 70-minute program, Museum Teachers conduct object-based, standards-related programming that focuses on learning from primary resources and preserving family oral histories and objects. Students who participate in this program strengthen their historical thinking skills as they explore original historical artifacts and other records of the past. This program helps students understand the historical importance of material culture and gives students the tools they need to preserve their own history. We conducted 44 Classroom Treasures programs serving 1405 students (including 12 programs in Houston and three in Atlanta).
Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty
In support of our Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty exhibition, we collaborated with the Monticello Gardens, Smithsonian Gardens, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In SI’s Heritage Garden (seeds had to be 60 years old or older) we planted Monticello varietals of peas, greens, beets, cabbage and condiments. For the first and second harvest, culinary historian, Leni Sorenson, Ph.D., led cooking demonstrations and tastings based on recipes from The Virginia Housewife, by Mary Randolph and the repertoire of Edith Fossett, an enslaved woman and the president’s cook at the White House and at Monticello upon Jefferson’s retirement. In the future we hope to continue with gardening and healthy lifestyle programming targeted to the African American community. See the blog and photographs here.
National Museum of African Art
Let’s Read about Africa and Sounds of Africa
In addition to our successful school-year programs, Let’s Read about Africa (literacy-based storytelling) and Sounds of Africa (inter-active music appreciation), a substantial Grand Challenge Consortia Award ($50,000 from Valuing World Cultures and $50,000 from Understanding the American Experience) was granted for an arts and sciences educational programming collaboration in conjunction with the groundbreaking exhibition, African Cosmos: Stellar Arts ( June 21, 2012-December 9, 2012).
Cross-Cultural and Interdisciplinary Conversations
The sciences of astronomy and astrophysics were powerful tools helping us communicate the many stories in the cultural expressions in the exhibition. Our programs sparked many innovative and exciting cross-cultural and interdisciplinary conversations (putting the Arts in STEM) about cultures and the cosmos and attracted a large cross-over audience interested in and knowledgeable about astronomy.
Galaxy of Activities
Galaxy of Activities - Partner Units and Smithsonian-wide Cosmos related exhibitions, symposium, lectures, special events, and available in gallery and on-line.
Narrated and captioned tours for the World Wide Telescope for the computer station in the exhibition area - Developed by Marie Machacek and Katrien Kolenberg @ SAO:
1. Africa and the Visible Universe
2. Africa and the Gamma Ray Universe
3. Africa and the Radio Universe
4. Fiery Flashes in the Night
5. Fulani Skies
Portable Planetarium at NMAfA
Portable Planetarium at NMAfA – 20 minute shows on the southern hemisphere sky (from Udvar-Hazy) - Kickoff event, first show: July 28, 2012; 10-2 pm; once a month through run of African Cosmos. Facilitated
New Media Platforms of Digital Interaction
Highlights from our on-line community:
Video interviews produced by ArtLAB+ and Washington D.C . area teens with the curator, two astrophysicists, and a South African artist. Teen production teams created media projects while gaining important skills working with visual and audio technology. Product available at the exhibition computer station, through Q/R codes, and online. Videos also available on YouTube.
Dedicated exhibition website incorporates visuals, text, sound, and video and classroom Lesson Plans and object packages.
TWITTER. A working model for ongoing Twitter usage has been developed to facilitate its productive use for the African Cosmos exhibition. Active prior to the exhibition opening in June 2012 through December. Twitter @africancosmos
Highlights: A program with 4th graders at the Washington International School via Twitter—students responded in real-time to "tweeted" folklore by creating digital illustrations. You can see their creations here on the blog
COSMOS BLOG: A live interview with award-winning South African astrophotographer Mitchell Krog. See a transcript of the interview here.
STARGAZERS Photo-sharing project. People from around the world have been submitting their photographs of the African night sky to our Flickr photo-sharing project as part of the African Cosmos exhibition currently on view. New images were selected each month and put on display in the museum pavilion.
We received strong support for the exhibition, book and programming from the South African Department of Science and Technology, and we anticipate linking up with them later in the year to explore possible educational and outreach collaborations in the future.
Deborah Stokes launched an interactive video conference program using themes in African Cosmos to bring content to schools nationally. Other modules are planned. Program registration accessible through the museum and the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC) website.
Exchanging and Sharing Information
Full day-long and week-long program offerings for TEACHER Development Workshops -
NMAfA in partnership with Pearson Foundation/SCEMS, Summer Vision2012 Educators, EDLab MISSION POSSIBLE program, and NASA Educators.
National Museum of American History
Spark!Lab Invent It Contest
In October 2011, the Lemelson Center worked with SCEMS to launch the first annual Invent It contest in collaboration with ePals. Students were asked to think of a problem to solve or challenge to address, develop a solution, and create a prototype of their invention idea. Fifty-two students from K through 12th grades participated in the contest and created inventions including the Overnight Pet Feeder, the Radiation Shield, the Cycle Umbrella, and the Wonder Sweeper. (The Second Annual Spark!Lab Invent It contest has just closed with almost 300 entries!)
Lemelson Center Outreach
The Lemelson Center continued to expand its national and international outreach through its Spark!Lab program:
In September 2011, the Lemelson Center opened its first satellite Spark!Lab at the Nevada Discovery Museum in Reno. Through email, phone calls, and in-person visits, Lemelson Center staff have been actively engaged with the team in Reno, leading training sessions, guiding staff in new activity development, and providing input and advice on a range of operations issues. Since opening, Spark!Lab at the Discovery has served more than 125,000 people and has become the primary destination for museum members and other repeat visitors.
The Lemelson Center is in the process of identifying additional sites to which to expand the Spark!Lab National Network.
In late August 2012, Lemelson Center staff traveled to Kyiv, Ukraine to install a temporary Spark!Lab at Art Arsenale, a contemporary art museum. The Lemelson Center and Art Arsenale worked together to develop the Spark!Lab Ukraine program, identify appropriate activities, design and organize the physical space, train staff and volunteers, and operate Spark!Lab from September 6-30, 2012. Spark!Lab proved to be immensely popular with local Ukrainians, serving more than 32,000 visitors--more than triple what was initially expected. The Spark!Lab Ukraine project was funded by a grant from the U.S. State Department.
The Lemelson Center is continuing to work with the State Department to identify other international opportunities for Spark!Lab outreach.
National Museum of Natural History
21st Century Learning in Natural History Settings
In February 2012, the National Museum of Natural History’s Office of Education and Outreach convened its first NSF-sponsored leadership conference, “21st Century Learning in Natural History Settings.” Over 100 natural history professionals – scientists, educators, collections managers, learning researchers, evaluators, exhibition developers, administrators, and web outreach professionals – from 42 organizations spanning the United States, UK, and Australia spent three full days together outlining a plan for collaborative learning research and programming innovation. The conference led to new partnerships and a second NSF proposal for $1.5 million to extend the network.
Q? RIUS Education Center
The new Q? RIUS Education Center opening in October 2013 is designed to inspire curiosity, promote engagement, and encourage responsibility for the natural world. It will be geared toward young people ages 10-18 who are visiting with families, their schools or independently and will give them unique access to hundreds of science professionals, 20,000 natural history objects, and scientific technology.
Q?RIUS visitors will use innovative resources such as digital fieldbooks as they participate in “natural history challenges” and earn digital badges for developing skills and contributing to projects. Impact and prototyping studies continue to inform our work as well as a Youth Advisory Board, funded by a Youth Access Grant, whose members provided keen insights and research and helped develop a highly interactive scavenger hunt for teens. There will be broad access to Q?RIUS resources at the Museum, via the web, mobile devices, and through distance learning experiences.
In preparation for the opening of the new center, the Education and Outreach office has developed innovative pilot programs that reach new audiences and connect with local, national, and international communities and will be taken to scale.
Think, Engage, Connect a new distance-learning model funded by a Youth Access Grant, increased access to digital collections, provided curriculum-relevant, hands-on activities for diverse middle school students, and put Dr. Briana Pobiner and her fieldwork in Kenya into 14 classrooms reaching 495 students throughout the U.S. and Panama through two-way videoconferencing.
The National Museum of Natural History’s signature Youth Engagement through Science (YES!) program continues to engage 25 students each year from communities traditionally underrepresented in STEM careers with 5,200 total contact hours with scientists and educators through leadership internships and outreach activities at the Museum as well as at the Zoo and SI Gardens. YES students are each required to communicate about their work with at least 100 other students.
A new “Embedded Educator” program sent 2 education staff members ‘into the field’ to work alongside NMNH researchers, participating fully in the research and capturing narratives and rich media that convey the learning, excitement, discoveries, and processes and challenges of fieldwork from the perspectives of both students and scientists.
Media and stories have been distributed across a range of platforms, including the Ocean Portal and Department of State websites and will serve as foundational material for the Q?RIUS education center.
Engaging new stakeholders is a priority for NMNH Education. The Volunteer Program continues to expand to over 700 diverse, dynamic, and dedicated volunteers who contributed more than 26,000 hours of service in programs and activities that have engaged 845,073 visitors throughout the Museum in interactive and enriching ways. A new team of 70 Visitor Concierge Program volunteers expanded our ability to serve visitors for whom English is not their first language by offering tours and information in 7 additional languages. Local STEM Education Partnerships were strengthened, as NMNH joined the D.C. Public Schools STEM Advisory Board and extended partnerships with organizations and schools that serve underrepresented populations, including the Mary’s Center, the Latin American Youth Center, Bell Multicultural School, Caesar Chavez campuses, and KIPP D.C. Public Charter School.
National Museum of the American Indian
Reporting from Indian Country
To ensure the “Native American Voices” web portal does in fact offer resources ‘for and by students,’ the NMAI Education office launched the “Reporting from Indian Country” project which supported Native youth in 5 schools as they produced short videos documenting environmental issues in their communities. The students developed the scripts, filmed and edited the videos and submitted ten for the NMAI website. The site is currently being tested for security with OCIO and is scheduled to launch in late January.
Native American Voices: Building Classrooms for the 21st Century
During 2012, the Education Office completed a year-long strategic planning process and a comprehensive evaluation of its instructional materials and other services to classrooms. The evaluation, along with surveying of technology resources and current teaching practices around Native American topics, and consultations with advisers across the country was used to complete a strategic plan that in turn will guide the launch of the museum’s national outreach to schools, “Native American Voices: Building Classrooms for the 21st Century.”
Interactive Web Portal
Work is under way in 2013 to research and develop instructional materials and to build a large interactive web portal with resources “for and by students and teachers.”
The Living Maya Time—Sun, Corn, and the Calendar
The Living Maya Time—Sun, Corn, and the Calendar website launched September 2012 with multimedia presentations on Maya cultural traditions, astronomy and math. Key elements of the site include online activities for students and video interviews with contemporary calendar keepers.
Woven Together Website
The Woven Together website launched in July. It was designed for family audiences and features a puzzle that pieces together information on the Nuu-chah-nulth people, a weaving activity and the chance to learn words from the Nuu-chah-nulth language.
National Portrait Gallery
Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition
Inspired by the National Portrait Gallery's Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, the Teen Portrait Competition invites young people to appreciate and explore identity through portraiture. Ten local youths from the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland were chosen to be part of a design team that planned and implemented the first annual competition. Starting in December of 2011, the team met regularly at the museum, dividing into subgroups (management, design, and marketing) to design each part of the competition.
The national competition ran from February 1 through April 29, 2012, and received 362 entries. The teens juried the photographs with the help of Dorothy Moss, the Portrait Gallery¹s assistant curator of painting and sculpture, and Andrea Dixon, assistant director of exhibitions at the Maryland Institute College of Art. This project was a partnership with NLI of the Pearson Foundation.
Outreach to District of Columbia Public Schools
Outreach to District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) School groups visiting NPG from DCPS have dropped, in an effort to curb/change that trend, we have launched several outreach programs to DCPS to revive relationships and make new connections. Highlights include a podcasting program with 8th grade students from Stuart Hobson Middle School around pieces in our permanent collection; Heritage months programming with Alice Deal Middle School 8th grade students and teachers; and a dual language biography project with 4 Spanish/English grade schools in DCPS. All programs include multiple school and museum visits.
National Zoo’s Education Department & Smithsonian Scholars Program
In April, two staff from the Friends of the National Zoo’s Education Department traveled to Wyoming with the Smithsonian Scholars Program. Elise Bernardoni and Laura Linn spoke with about 300 elementary school students over the course of three days. Elise taught about amphibian conservation, and Laura shared the National Zoo’s story of black footed ferret recovery and reintroduction. Once thought to be extinct, the last remaining colony of black footed was found in Wyoming, and brought to the National Zoo for preservation and breeding.
George Mason University Washington Youth Summit on the Environment
In June, the National Zoo hosted the George Mason University Washington Youth Summit on the Environment (WYSE) for a third year. 285 high school students from all 50 states, plus territories, spent a day learning from the Zoo’s staff. WYSE delegates participated in a panel discussion and toured sections of the Zoo that are typically of limits to guests such as pathology and the hospital. They also met in small groups with staff for in-depth discussions ranging from captive population management, to coral conservation, to the zoos work with wildlife in Gabon.
Girl Scout 100th Anniversary Rock the Mall
Also in June, the National Zoo participated in the Girl Scout 100th Anniversary Rock the Mall activities by hosting a Women in Science panel discussion with almost 100 scouts and their families attending. The panel featured animal care, research and exhibit staff from both the Zoo and SCBI who described their current zoo careers as well as described their career stories, challenges and successes. The panel then entertained questions from the scouts following the presentation. Other animal care staff also participated in an online Q&A with scouts called Women who Work at the Smithsonian.
In September, the National Zoo opened its newest exhibit American Trail to the public. This new exhibit features nine species of North American wildlife, many of whom have rebounded from the brink after facing severe threats. Conservation efforts—including efforts made by the National Zoo—have helped their populations recover and thrive. Prior to the opening of this exhibit 38 volunteers were recruited and received training on all aspects of the exhibit including species information, exhibit themes and conservation messages, and green/sustainable exhibit features. After putting a combined 920 hours of training and refining their public interpretation skills, volunteers provided tours to NZP and FONZ front line staff in preparation for the exhibit’s public opening as well as contributed time to pre-opening VIP events. In the first month the exhibit was open to the public, volunteers interacted with just over 19,000 visitors to the exhibit.
Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation
In October, the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC) celebrated the completion of the new academic facilities at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, VA. This facility offers students from all different fields (biology, wildlife, environmental sciences, journalism, business, etc.) the opportunity to live and work closely with leading experts in the field of conservation. Highly qualified experts, including SCBI scientists, Mason faculty and prominent conservationists from the United States and other countries, provide students with direct connections to the most current teachings, research techniques and work in the field. Because SCBI is home to more than 20 endangered species, participants in this program have the chance to work with some of the most rare and endangered species on the planet. The students become part of the backbone of groundbreaking research that serves to preserve the diversity of wildlife that surrounds them.
In December, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Friends of the National Zoo partnered with Discovery Education to host a Siemens Academy webcast. Staff from the Reptile Discovery Center (RDC) and research scientists educated students amphibians’ unique and amazing adaptations. Students took a virtual behind the scenes tour of RDC’s giant Japanese salamander facility, and got up close viewing of several different species of frogs, toads, and salamanders. They also learned about the numerous threats facing amphibians and some simple steps children can take to protect them. Staff also answered questions sent in by schools. The Discovery Education webcast reached about 36,000 students in 48 states and Canada. Following is a link to the webcast
Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos
Thirteen Affiliates implemented the Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos program, a collaboration with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and funded by a Youth Access Grant. The goal of the program is to teach youth participants to control robotic telescopes over the internet, and to take and create their own astronomy images of the universe. Images created have been displayed in astrophotography exhibitions featuring their unique images, captions, poems, and comparisons to images taken by NASA’s space-based observatories. Examples of Affiliate implementation projects include a student exhibition at the Miami Science Center and a summer astrophotography camp at the Pinhead Institute in Telluride, Colorado, among others. The program promotes increased interest, awareness, and knowledge of astronomy content, understanding of technology and proficiency in real scientific research skills. Participating Affliates will be offering a second round of astrophotography workshops in 2013.
Colleagues in the Smithsonian EdLab worked with Affiliate educators at the International Museum of Arts and Sciences in McAllen, Texas, to test a pilot model of a program to design mission-based challenges that link the themes of the Smithsonian Immigration and Migration Initiative to school curricula. Two educators from the Texas museum spent weeks in Washington attending EdLab workshops, and NPM colleagues traveled to their site to encourage progress in implementation. EdLab colleagues are interested in expanding the project to work with other Affiliates. They will be leading a workshop on this topic at the Affiliations Annual Conference, June 10-12, 2013.
National Youth Summit
The second National Youth Summit, a collaboration with the National Museum of American History, was very successful and well-received by the nine Affiliates serving as regional town hall locations. Each Affiliate received funds to organize a student-focused program on the Dust Bowl, complementing the one webcast live from NMAH, as well as funds to produce a video question that was including during the Washington, DC event. Plans are currently underway to provide a “conversation kit” to Affiliates for the next Youth Summit, on abolition.
Smithsonian American Art Museum
In-gallery & Interactive Video Conference (IVC) Program Attendance
This year, staff, docents, work-study students, and volunteers welcomed a total of 38,026 students for in-gallery programs at our American Art Museum and our Renwick Gallery, and via our two real-time interactive video conference (IVC) programs.
Twice monthly deaf and hearing visitors share their reflections and knowledge as tour leaders in our award-winning Art Signs program, featuring 30-minute gallery talks presented by deaf gallery guides in American
Project 100 was launched, the Museum¹s multi-year initiative to integrate 100 artworks in our collection into American schools¹ coursework in US history. The chief goal of Phase I was to produce in-depth permanent collections research on more than 100 objects, stressing the use of original sources in exploring the cultural and historical context of each artwork. In total, 108 artworks were researched, 31 online research notes were produced, 12 monthly reports were emailed to staff and docents and 25 individual presentations were made to staff and docents. Online research notes accomplished the secondary goal of helping to illustrate the exploratory process of research, teaching high school students different methods of how to investigate art and history. Phase II, development of practical application for schools, is underway.
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Laboratory for Visual Learning
The Laboratory for Visual Learning made a major scientific breakthrough this year, able to benefit large numbers of young people who suffer with dyslexia. We were able to prove experimentally that a method for reading using e-readers, developed by SAO, significantly facilitates reading in these people. We showed that the number of inefficient eye movements made by young people with dyslexia during reading is cut in half, and reading speeds increased by almost 30%, when SAO's methods were used.
Study of Exoplanets
The SAO has made a significant advance in online learning with the construction of its Laboratory for the Study of Exoplanets. The Laboratory empowers high-school students nationwide to detect and describe planets orbiting stars far beyond our own solar system. As students take images with online telescopes -- and as they assess, interpret and share the data they gather -- they gain first-hand experience with the practice of science. This Smithsonian resource is also serving as an important test-bed for researching the factors that advance online learning.
STEM Career Interest Survey
The SED carried out a NSF-funded retrospective cohort study involving for 6,000 students in 34 two- and four-year colleges to characterize how their interest in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics career changed from ninth to twelfth grade. The percentage of males interested in a STEM career remained stable (from 39.5% to 39.7%), whereas for females it declined from 15.7% to 12.7%. The students' initial specific (disciplinary) career interests were found to influence the stability of their interest, with those interested in physics careers at the start of high school having the highest retention in STEM and earth/environmental science having the lowest.
Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
In the summer of 2012, the Pearson Foundation funded six week-long workshops offered by SCEMS. Each workshop had an overarching theme related to Common Core standards in education and was hosted by a Smithsonian museum with a direct connection to the week’s theme. Workshops were supported by Smithsonian educators and experts within the host museums.
Culture & Community, June 18-22, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
Storytelling, June 25-29, National Museum of the American Indian
Nature & Animals, July 9-13, National Museum of African Art
Civic Engagement, July 16-20, National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum
Perspectives, July 23-27, National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum
Science and Innovation, July 30-August 3, National Air and Space Museum
Broadened the reach of heritage programming and on-line resources for families and schools, for an estimated in-person audience of over 39,000, and on-line viewership topping 75,000. This involved substantive work with ten SI units, an estimated 100 tradition bearers, and dozens of community groups, with in-kind contributions from the Girls Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital, Ford Motor Company, Univision Communications, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Baltimore-Washington section of the Women’s Society of Engineers, and 29 federal departments and agencies. We established a teacher advisory group to use our on-line handmade heritage books resources in their classrooms and contribute their feedback and examples of student work to further expand these literacy-based web offerings. We also expanded our work with youth via ARTLAB+ to create videos that document heritage events and inform youth outreach ideas for future SI/MI projects.
Smithsonian Teachers’ Night 20th Anniversary
Smithsonian Teachers’ Night 20th Anniversary event was held on September 28th, 2012, at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museums. The event brought in over 2,200 educators from over 26 states for an evening with the Smithsonian and its affiliates. Generously sponsored by Target since 2008, this free, after-hours open-house hosted educators and introduced them to museum educators and resources designed specifically for their classrooms. Museum experts were available for any additional encouragement or instruction on the Smithsonian’s educational resources. Teachers watched demonstrations, tried out hands-on activities, toured the galleries, and networked with their colleagues. This Smithsonian Pan-Institutional event, included all Smithsonian Museums and Research Centers in one venue and it built community ties and provided services to thousands of educators and their students.
Montgomery College Paul Peck Humanities Institute
Continued the Montgomery College Paul Peck Humanities Institute -- a series of six seminars for Montgomery College Faculty Fellows -- as well as the MC/Smithsonian Speakers Series for the entire MC community, including a special curator/educator tour of the RACE exhibition at NMNH.
Collaborating with ePals, a learning community of teachers, students, and parents in more than 200 countries, produced a variety of projects. SCEMS and ePals co-hosted a reception for technology educators at the Museum of Man, an Affiliate in San Diego; experts at the National Zoo talked online with classrooms in California and Singapore; and children around the world entered an "invention challenge" contest designed with the Lemelson Center at the National Museum of American History. The high quality of entries in the contest led to a plan to offer the challenge again and make it a permanent way of engaging young people everywhere in real-world problem solving.
All Access Digital Arts Camp
All Access Digital Arts Camp for teens with cognitive and intellectual disabilities.
Smithsonian Quests and the Educator Advisory Committee
“Water Matters" also featured the introduction of two new components: Smithsonian Quests and the Educator Advisory Committee (EAC), which gained additional funding through the award of an internal Smithsonian Youth Access Grant (original funding through The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), which extended the reach and effectiveness of the SCEMS "SHOUT" online conference series. Smithsonian Quests, a project-based initiative, motivates and rewards student accomplishments through digital badges for over 4,000 students registered in FY12. The Educator Advisory Committee (EAC), a professional development opportunity, included training and university graduate-level accreditation for 10 exemplary educators in FY12.
Enhanced Webinar Sessions
Enhanced the webinar sessions by producing two days of live programming on site at STRI (Panama) and SERC (Maryland), with real-time video components.
Created the "Smithsonian Quests" (smithsonianquests.org) online program, which aims to inspire youth to explore their own interests through a series of online activities and related incentive badges. Many of these badges are integrated with content from online education conferences, which highlight a variety of different topics for easy translation into an interdisciplinary academic setting.
Consulted and advised on online conference development and badging initiatives with several units, including CFCH, NPM, SAAM, and the central Consortia office (Michelle Delaney/Jefferson webinar).
Contributed to internal and external grant proposals that have a badge component (e.g. MacArthur/Mozilla, CFCH YAG, etc.).
National Rural Education Technology Summit 2.0
Co-presented on Smithsonian online learning opportunities during the US Department of Education National Rural Education Technology Summit 2.0. Arranged for the filming of remarks by Secretary Clough to be featured during the Summit.
Digital Learning Resources Project
The goal of the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies’s Digital Learning Resources Project is to change online users of museum assets from passive recipients of prescribed content into active creators of digital resources personalized for their learning needs. Made possible by a Youth Access Grant, this yearlong research and development project focused on understanding how teachers create lessons that include Smithsonian images and other digital resources. The research identified steps such as finding and analyzing resources, sequencing them, and incorporating instructional strategies. With this understanding, the project developed a prototype for an online “toolset” that replicates that process. When the toolset is implemented on Smithsonian websites it will improve access to Smithsonian digital content for learning. It will also make it easy for users to save and share their work with their students and colleagues as well as wider Smithsonian audiences. All of the Digital Learning Resources Project documentation is publicly available here .
Facilitation of SI-wide reporting on educational offerings metrics mainly through EDGE and the new dashboard.
Evaluation and Audience Research
SI-wide capacity building in program evaluation and audience research. Built a network of professional development opportunities rooted in reflective practice (systematically scheduled workshops; reflective retreat; coaching in developing logic models and evaluation plans; informal evaluation chats; dedicated website to share resources and foster conversations) for SI-wide educators and staff at large. Engaged museum educators from other local Institutions and prototyped point-to-point professional development with remotely located Smithsonian Affiliates (Balboa Park). As a proved impact, SI-wide initiatives, such as SIMI, Autism Project, SHOUT and Digital Learning Resources for and by 21st Century Educators adopted audience research/evaluation approaches. Units such as NMAH, NMNH and SAAM, among others, are integrating and experimenting with the very same approaches and Units as ACM and NMAAHC, among others, are contemplating possibilities.
evaluation and audience research presentations
Representation of SI program evaluation and audience research by serving in the board of and participating in national (AAM and VSA) and international (ICOM-CECA) organizations and meetings. Proved impact: the SI has been chosen as the hosting institution for the ICOM-CECA 2015. Curator-the Museum Journal solicited a paper on needs and motivations of children within the autism spectrum and their families based on a study in partnership with University of Maryland.
Voices of the Community
Held a Pearson Foundation supported Leadership Summit on “Voices of the Community” on Tuesday, January 10, 2012, at the Hirshhorn ArtLab. This one-day conversation was attended by Smithsonian staff and colleagues and featured three innovators who are using new media for community initiatives. The day included presentations by Nishat Kurwa, Senior Producer of Youth Radio; Andrew Slack, founder and executive director of the Harry Potter Alliance; and Anterro Garcia, U.S. Department of Education Teaching Ambassador Fellow.
Science for Monks
Science for Monks exhibition - both World of Your Senses opening at Exploratorium and in Kathmandu - so it having a second life; as well as work on the new climate change exhibit, My Earth, My Responsibility.
Australian Museum Educators
Arranged two-week visit by the 30 museum educators from Canberra, Australia.
Korean teacher professional development workshops
We offered three full days of Korean teacher professional development workshops (repeating 8 hours of training, three times) serving over 200 teachers. Each day we provided an overview to 72 teachers, then divided the group into middle and elementary teachers with separate sessions targeted to their grade levels. All of the Smithsonian in Your Classroom (SiYC) lessons were translated into Korean and published in a book by the Korean Foundation for the Advancement of Science & Creativity. We modeled the SiYC lessons, showed how to access other Smithsonian resources, and helped teachers develop their own lessons using Korean resources. The resources were enthusiastically received by the teachers.
Sufism at the Smithsonian: Searching for the Divine through the Arts
Produced the first-time-ever-anywhere two-day symposium – Sufism at the Smithsonian: Searching for the Divine through the Arts. Keeping in mind the public understanding or misunderstanding of the widely used term “Sufism” this symposium was an attempt to reinterpret, redefine and broaden the concept of Sufism through scholarly talks, dramatic renderings of mystical poetry, soul-searching music, creative expressions in dance, artist talks and fascinating films. An International body of scholars and performers mainly from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Iran participated in the program. The special guests included Ambassador of India, Ambassador of Pakistan, Pakistan Foreign Secretary, and US Ambassador to Pakistan and the Minister of Cultural Affairs at the Embassy of Turkey. The budget of $100,000 was supported by the Embassy of India, Indian Council of Cultural Relations, The Embassy of Pakistan, Embassy of Turkey and the Culture and Tourism Office in WDC. Additional financial support came from local community organizations and individual private donors. There was wide media coverage including the Washington Post, Voice of America feeding into international TV channels, Ethics and Religion program at PBS, newspapers in India, and TVASIA. The live audience for two days was approximately 2000. The online audience on two days was between 4000 to 5000. The webcast continues to attract an audience. The program is an example of celebrating/understanding world cultures. It produced a learning experience for several students and teachers and attracted a diverse, under-represented, underserved audience.
With support from Microsoft Partners in Learning, conducted the second year of SHOUT/"Water Matters", an interdisciplinary and interactive online learning program focusing on environmental issues. The program included three two-day live conferences as well as three Teacher Preview sessions. 5,096 participants from 22 countries took part in 24 hour-long live sessions and in just the first six months, 782 viewed archived sessions. Smithsonian experts from 13 Smithsonian museums and research centers led 24 live interactive discussions on research methods, findings, and environmental issues related to water quantity and quality.
Developed relationships and worked with several external organizations to increase outreach of the SHOUT online conferences nationally and internationally, including: Participant Media/Last Call at the Oasis, the Earth Day Network, EPA, Qatar Foundation International, and US Department of Education.
Microsoft International Innovative Educators Global Forum
Organized breakout session learning experiences for participants in Microsoft International Innovative Educators Global Forum and aligned content with second year of SHOUT online conferences.
Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center
transitions and growth
The Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC) had a year of transitions and growth. A new Executive Director, Kim Kiehl, arrived in July to replace the retiring founding director, Sharon Shaffer. We moved our classrooms of three and four year olds into a new facility in NMAH and were preparing to move our youngest children to a new facility in NMNH. SEEC continued to grow in its collaboration with others across the Smithsonian and outside. Working with other educators from across the institution, we have begun planning for a national discussion on early learning and museums to be held in spring of 2014. The first phase of a multi-phase research study that will look at the unique characteristics of our curriculum model was completed and the next phases designed and ready to be implemented. We also began work to redesign our curriculum and make it more available to other museums and early educators for use in their own facilities. Our website was redesigned and integrated into the overall SI website and our new Facebook page was launched. As we move into our new fiscal year we are excited about continuing to be a partner to projects around the Smithsonian and to improving our practice and sharing it more widely.
Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibit Service
Ramp It Up
Launched Ramp It Up at the San Diego Museum of Man (SI Affiliate) where they built demonstration half-pipe, hosted public programs that drew adult and teen audiences (41% reported were under age 30) and featured an NMAI collections specialist, and garnered financial and in-kind support from 20 local business and community partners.
Smithsonian Community Grant
Through the Smithsonian Community Grant initiative (sponsored by MetLife Foundation), SITES awarded $102,770 to 23 host museums for a wide range of public programs ranging from school field trips, gallery talks, performances, and family days to outreach to returning military veterans. The programs extend the Smithsonian’s outreach throughout the community during the time that SITES exhibitions are on display.
Choosing to Participate
With a generous grant from the Malka Fund, reprinted the poster project, Choosing to Participate. Set terms for distribution with Teaching Tolerance and Facing History and sent out 10,000 additional sets to teachers in all 50 states and Canada, as well as to requesting institutions in Cyprus, Germany, Russia, the UK, and Zambia.
The University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg, reported that its ongoing public mural project commemorating the bracero movement, inspired by the Bittersweet Harvest exhibition, garnered tremendous media coverage in part due to a lively student blog, and the Oregon Historical Society reported a 59% increase in attendance against the same time period the previous year for its. To further the reach of this exhibition, SITES received funding from the Smithsonian Latino Center to create and distribute 5,000 posters sets to migrant education centers, state libraries and state humanities councils.
Museum on Main Street
Museum on Main Street (MoMS) carried out 29 professional training sessions and 3 webinars for staff and volunteers at small, rural museums hosting MoMS exhibitions. With support from a Youth Access Grant, they piloted digital youth curator training programs for students and staff hosting different MoMS exhibitions in Maryland, North Carolina, and South Dakota. For example, in Deadwood, SD, the Historic Adams Research and Cultural Center hosted a week-long summer camp in conjunction with New Harmonies. Students from across the state (including Eagle Butte reservation) learned to videotape oral histories; they also recorded and participated in a performance by the Kevin Locke dance ensemble featuring Sioux, Lakota, and Ojibwa dance, song, and prayer. In Maryland, the Hosanna School Museum (located in a restored one-room African American schoolhouse in Harford County) presented its Youth Access Grant-supported project in conjunction with the showing of Journey Stories. The museum partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County, Maryland Humanities Council’s scholar, and other volunteers to train youth curators to carry out oral history interviews, create a video, and an exhibit. Each middle and high school student received a certificate and letters of recognition from Maryland Governor O’Malley and U.S. Senators Mikulski and Cardin, along with a commemorative t-shirt.
Mutual Concerns of Air and Space Museums Conference
Staff participated on a panel with NASM colleagues on innovative ways to display Apollo spacesuits at the Mutual Concerns of Air and Space Museums, attended by 235 participants.
Green Revolution at the Planetario Alfa in Monterrey, Mexico
Venues continue to contract with SITES to present to present the eco-zibit Green Revolution, whose downloadable digital files can be personalized by host venues. The exhibition is attracting international attention and staff are working closely with colleagues at the Planetario Alfa in Monterrey, Mexico, to review exhibition plans and Spanish translations for the planetarium debut.
Smithsonian Latino Center
2012 Young Ambassadors Program
In its seventh year, the Center implemented the 2012 Young Ambassadors Program. 22 students were selected from a pool of approximately 300 applicants from across the country and Puerto Rico. The five-week summer program (Washington Week training seminar and four-week internship) included expanded geographic reach with a focus on 17 cities, 21 internship partners (nine Smithsonian affiliates) and 17 community outreach events with 16 library partners. Audience Focus Inc. conducted evaluation of the three components of the program and concluded that the program achieves a transformative experience for both the participant and internship partner as reflected in the mean average accomplishment rating of 4.8 out of 5 (highest rating) of each of the three main framework areas. Overall, 100% of program participants stated that the 2012 YAP program exceeded their expectations.
YAP- Alumni Network
The Center continues to build the YAP- Alumni Network through both online and on-site programming. Among the key accomplishments, the Center’s YAP Alumni Network inaugurated a joint summer internship opportunity with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics and hosted the 2012 Post-Collegiate Seminar for recent college graduates of the program. During the seminar, the Center launched the Young Ambassadors Program Post-Collegiate Game of Life to enable participants to discuss real-life situations and decision making strategies.
Mi Tierra/Mi Mundo Immersive Real/Virtual Watershed Experiences
The Center and the University of Texas at El Paso formalized a partnership this fall through the university’s CYBER-ShARE Center of Excellence. This significant partnership will support the Center’s Latinos in STEM project Mi Tierra/Mi Mundo Immersive Real/Virtual Watershed Experiences. This significant partnership is a sustainability outcome achieved under a 2011—2012 Smithsonian Youth Access Grant award. Through donations of software and staff and student expertise, this partnership will provide the technical and development infrastructure needed to formalize the project as a national bilingual STEM program resource targeting K-12 and higher education students.
Collaboration with EdLab’s Summer Teacher Workshop
The Center continues to expand its pan-institutional and external collaborations. This included collaboration with EdLab’s Summer Teacher Workshop to introduce the Smithsonian Olmec Legacy Collection at the Museum Support Center and the Virtual Exhibition available through the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum. The Center also co-hosted the Hispanic Heritage Month: Central American Traditions Family Day with SCEMS and NMAH which featured 22,375 visitors and several hands-on, performance activities, and educational collateral. Finally, the Center launched the ¡Descubra! Meet the Science Expert family programming as part of its Latinos in STEM initiative. The program promotes STEM for youth during family programming by showcasing Latino role models in STEM, presenting hands-on activities, and discussing possible career paths and areas of interest.
Smithsonian Science Education Center
Department of Education's Investing in Innovation (i3) grant
This past fiscal year, the SSEC has increased it's outreach and success in their Department of Education's Investing in Innovation (i3) grant. We've begun "level 2" professional development training with teachers throughout our regions: North Carolina, New Mexico, and Houston ISD. This professional development entails deepening teachers' content knowledge and comfort in a scientific area, and comes a year after the teacher has received pedagogical training, and had some experience in teaching, a specific SSEC unit. Through our work with these teachers, we reach an estimated 75,000-90,000 students.
updating and expanding
SSEC has also been working on hard updating or expanding their current content offerings. We are in the middle of developing a first-of-its kind Kindergarten curriculum as well as adding content that makes us competitive for early-high school adoptions. In addition to this, SSEC is working hard on understanding the nature of Next Generation Science Standards and will be ready to authentically update their curriculum to meet these standards once they are formalized later this spring. Through this work, SSEC is reaching brand new audiences of teachers and students.
Finally, SSEC has been in the process of revising their web presence and outreach. We've centralized our web newsletter communication, grown an active (and actively followed) twitter account, begun some viral marketing initiatives, and we've been working on being one of the pioneer implementers of the MySI content management system. This is a content management system that will be uniquely designed with Smithsonian education and outreach professionals in mind. As a pioneer of this content management system, SSEC has been providing valuable testing and feedback on the alpha and beta versions of the software.
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Desert to Rainforest
Desert to Rainforest: This year the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s education team worked closely with Arizona State University and Audubon Arizona to implement Desert to Rainforest, a yearlong hands-on science education program for teachers and students in 17 underserved schools in Panama and Phoenix. Field experiments and powerful video technology helped spark an interest in science and build lasting friendships among nearly 500 middle school students and their teachers in both countries. Teachers traveled to each other’s countries for weeklong workshops, visiting schools, experiencing the wonders of the desert and rainforest, and seeing scientists in action through lab and field tours in both countries.
“In working with so many qualified and diverse people on this project, I’ve grown as a professional and a person,” said Antonio Lozano, who teaches science in Panama’s San Miguelito neighborhood, “My students are more interested in science and many of them have developed new scientific curiosity they never had before.”
Visitor & School Programs
Visitor & School Programs: STRI welcomed nearly 110,000 visitors to four centers throughout Panama, who learned about tropical biology and ecology, the research of our scientists, and the history of STRI in Panama.Our school programs also sparked a science and nature curiosity in nearly 40,000 schoolchildren.
Teacher Professional Development
Teacher Professional Development: STRI offered inquiry-based professional development workshops attended by 75 science teachers throughout Panama. The intensive, interactive workshops (1 to 2 weeks in length) connect teachers with Smithsonian science and help them create hands-on science activities in the classroom that celebrate life in the tropical rainforest.
The Smithsonian Associates
DC Public Schools
TSA established a new working partnership with DCPS and secured funding for 2 years to create a teacher training program in support of Chancellor Kaya Henderson’s introduction of a new curriculum called “Tools of the Mind” for use throughout the district. This curriculum uses creative play and guided activities to enhance students’ executive function (i.e., a set of cognitive abilities that control and regulate other abilities and behaviors). TSA’s program, called “Tools of Discovery,” will pilot in two DC public schools. The program will use museum theatre to scaffold core curriculum and integrate creative play into the scope and sequence of classroom activities on the pre-K and Kindergarten levels. As part of the pilot years, TSA has contracted an outside evaluator to assess the impact of the program before plans to scale the program up for the entire District are implemented.
TSA leveraged several of its notable presenters for greater institutional impact. Of particular note was a presentation and reception for Salman Kahn which gave many at the Institution an opportunity to meet face-to-face with this innovative, nationally recognized educator. The program on Martha Stewart was followed by a tour of the NMAH which has allowed their development staff to begin discussion of a sizeable gift from this noted American entrepreneur. Betty White was interviewed for a TSA program followed by a high-profile visit the following day to the National Zoo generating much good will and excellent press coverage.
10 Largest Audiences
Top 10 Largest Audiences
Second City (performance)
Betty White (interview)
Joe Torre (interview)
Martha Stewart (interview)
Coming to North America (1/2 seminar)
National Security Advisors (panel discussion)
Harry Belafonte (interview)
On the Universe (1/2 seminar)
Monk Jazz Semifinals (performance)
Walter Isaacson on Steve Jobs (Interview)
My Smithsonian (MySI) is Smithsonian's Participant Access System (PAS) initiative originating from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education and Access (ASEA).
My Smithsonian is being developed to engage and educate audiences using content, resources, and programming from Smithsonian and collaborating agencies and organizations.