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Smithsonian Traveling Exhibits
Washington, DC
We're the largest traveling exhibition service in the world!
Interests: Everything! Art, history, science, natural history, cultural studies, American history and world history.
Recent Activity
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Each year the Institute for Museum and Library Service bestows the National Medal, the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries, to a select group of organizations for outstanding service to their communities. You can see the full list of finalists here, but we especially wanted to commend the past and current SITES exhibitors listed below. Collectively, they have hosted a dozen SITES exhibits since 2001. (The Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, Conn. hosts its first exhibit from SITES’ Museum on Main Street program this summer, June 21 – August 3, 2014.) Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury, Connecticut Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago... Continue reading
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Since Titanoboa: Monster Snake slithered into the Elephant Hall at the University of Nebraska State Museum-Lincoln in February, the stunning 48-foot long scale replica of the prehistoric predator has fascinated visitors and delighted the museum staff with monster loads of media coverage and record-breaking attendance numbers. Over 1,200 people viewed the exhibit on opening day alone. The next day brought a line out the door and around the building for those attending the “Sunday with a Scientist-Titanoboa” program led by Dr. Jason Head, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology and part of the team that made the once-in-a-lifetime discovery of Titanoboa cerrejonesis.... Continue reading
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One of the most common questions we’re asked by a new host venue is “How do I get started?” Whether you are a first-time SITES exhibitor, or it’s been a while since you’ve hosted one of our shows, here are a few tips to make the process a lot easier: Book early. Most exhibitors book at least 1-2 years in advance; for art exhibits, at least 2- 3 years in advance. Stay ahead of the game and secure the show you want (for the time period you want it) by visiting our website often, signing up for our monthly E-newsletter... Continue reading
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Just in time: Patios, Pools & the Invention of the American Backyard takes on summer. Remember when the Cold War was hot, hula hoops were all the rage, and household products were made with the newly-developed materials of plastic and aluminum? Revisit mid-century America with Patios, Pools, & the Invention of the American Backyard, a new exhibit from SITES and the Archives of American Gardens, available beginning in March 2015. Featuring retro advertisements, photographs, garden designs and groovy text that explores the post-World War II shift from the front porch to the suburban backyard, Patios, Pools, & the Invention of... Continue reading
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Dear Colleagues and Friends, I am writing to let you know that Anna Cohn has stepped down from her position as Director of SITES for health reasons to become a Senior Project Advisor in my office. During Anna's 25 years as director, SITES organized and circulated some 300 traveling exhibitions including In the Spirit of Martin: The Living Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Jim Henson's Fantastic World; Earth 2U, Exploring Geography; The Precious Legacy: Judaic Treasures from the Czechoslovak State Collections; Latin Jazz: La combinación perfecta; Sports: Breaking Records, Breaking Barriers; Native Words, Native Warriors; Star Wars: The... Continue reading
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The star who never toured overseas in his lifetime is doing well in his first non-North American venue. Elvis at 21, the Smithsonian touring exhibition featuring fifty-six images of a very young, very handsome, and very dynamic Elvis Presley, has been well received, and the show is impeccably staged at the National Portrait Gallery of Australia. After touring over a dozen American museums, Elvis at 21 hopped a plane to Canberra, Australia, where the exhibition has made itself at home since December 6, 2013, and where it will remain until March 10, 2014. “The King has settled in nicely at... Continue reading
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The star who never toured overseas in his lifetime is doing well in his first non-North American venue. Elvis at 21, the Smithsonian touring exhibition featuring fifty-six images of a very young, very handsome, and very dynamic Elvis Presley, has been well received, and the show is impeccably staged at the National Portrait Gallery of Australia. After touring over a dozen American museums, Elvis at 21 hopped a plane to Canberra, Australia, where the exhibition has made itself at home since December 6, 2013, and where it will remain until March 10, 2014. “The King has settled in nicely at... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2014 at Elvis
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When you come back from a conference, you're absolutely bloated with information--like a meniscus pour for your brain. Without a doubt, you're excited about all the brilliant ideas you heard. The problem is, once you're back in your office, the phone starts ringing; you've got to extinguish three fires, and you're required to attend meetings a, b, and c. Dissecting your conference meeting notes keeps getting pushed down . . . down . . . down until it's right up there with cleaning out your file cabinets. This time, I'm actually revisiting my chicken scratch one day after edUi 2013--a... Continue reading
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Museum people tend to be skeptical about the occult. Maybe, it's because of our methodical approach to processing information or our insistence on bullet-proof documentation? Whatever the reasons, when I posed the question, "Have you ever experienced ghostly happenings at a museum where you worked?", there were crickets from my professional colleagues--a group that usually has something to say about everything. Perhaps they were too embarrassed to admit to an unearthly encounter, or just as likely, these 21st-century souls had never been in the presence of an apparition. Regardless of their inexperience with ghouls, hauntings and unexplained happenings at museums... Continue reading
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Last week, we bid farewell to SITES project director Jennifer Bine who has accepted a position at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, New York. We’ll surely miss her dedication, good humor, and super-easy- going management style, but once we heard the news, we all realized that the new job appears to be tailor-made for our outdoorsy colleague (whose Facebook posts regularly include images of enviable ski trips and kayaking adventures). Jennifer has been a part of the SITES family for 20 years, working on popular natural history and science shows such as In Search of Giant Squid, Titanoboa:... Continue reading
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Border Station with agents and braceros. Photo by Leonard Nadel/Smithsonian National Museum of American History A student from Georgetown University recently contacted Christin Chism, one of our PR mavens, to glean more information about the Smithsonian traveling exhibition Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Project. Jose Madrid had seen a film about the Bracero program (1942-1964) at the National Museum of American History and decided to write a paper about the topic. Continue reading
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As one of the most celebrated and prolific musical icons of the 20th century, it’s hard to believe that Elvis Presley, the King of Rock 'n' Roll, rarely traveled outside of the United States. Celebrities are known to jet set, greeting their adoring fans as they bounce from country to country, but Presley curiously remained stateside for much of his career. International fans were undeniably disappointed, but their devotion to the King never faltered, and now the wait is over. Elvis at 21: Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer will visit Australia in December 2013, offering an intimate glimpse into the life... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2013 at Elvis
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I haven't heard the 1972 Grateful Dead song "Truckin'" in a couple of years, but suddenly, I'm compelled to listen to Jerry Garcia and the gang harmonize: "Truckin, got my chips cashed in. Keep truckin, like the do-dah man. Together, more or less in line, just keep truckin on." We've had trucks on our minds a lot lately. To that end, we're more than happy to officially announce Animal Connections: Our Journey Together, an 18-wheeler mobile truck exhibit that explores veterinarary medicine and the complex bonds between humans and animals, is officially on the road! Presented by the Smithsonian Institution... Continue reading
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These days the term "social change" seems to refer not to civil rights movements or changes in the political landscape but to the way that our favorite social media platforms are continuously reinventing themselves. This is especially true as the "older," more established channels spot new competitors emerging in the market and begin reskinning themselves to appear fresh, more in touch with the next generation of social users. To this end, I was thrilled when I checked into SITES Flickr presence a few weeks ago! The platform looks incredibly different both behind the scenes and to the end user, and... Continue reading
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What do you get when put a banjo player, a bagpiper, a cook, and a collector all in the same room? You get the class of 2013--SITES newest staffers! Registrar Emily Robinson comes most recently from The Textile Museum in Washington, DC. She has also held exhibitions and registrar positions at the Folger Shakespeare Library and the U.S. Department of the Interior Museum. She holds a master's degree in cultural studies from the University of Edinburgh and a certificate in museum studies from George Washington University. A Washington, DC, resident for eight years, Emily is currently learning to play the... Continue reading
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Okay, so admit it. When your 10th grade English teacher announced that you'd be spending two weeks reading and discussing Homer's "Odyssey", there was a collective "Ugh" from you and your fellow classmates. What could possibly be interesting about 12,000+ lines of poetry that were penned some 3,000 years ago? Yes, "The Odyssey" had everything that should be interesting to a teenager--gore, self-loathing, personal discovery, lies and love--but the delivery of those concepts was unbelievably obtuse. Fast forward to 2013, and the thought of retrieving your dusty copies of "The Odyssey" and "The Iliad" from the attic no longer fills... Continue reading
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We are mourning the loss of a wonderfully creative and supportive collaborator, Jane Nebel Henson, who passed away last week. SITES had the great fortune to have partnered with her on the incredibly popular traveling exhibition, Jim Henson's Fantastic World, on the road from 2007 to 2012. The exhibition celebrated the creative genius of Jane’s late husband and creative partner, Jim who is known world-wide as the force behind Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie, the Fraggles, and so much more. As we worked with Jane, it became clear that although she was promoting Jim’s legacy, his genius didn’t stand... Continue reading
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After a long winter with historic storms hitting many parts of the country, we’re looking forward to ditching our coats to celebrate spring and Earth Day on April 22nd. Exhibits about the Earth and the natural world are popular topics for SITES, and the following exhibits help museums and cultural organizations connect their communities with this vital subject matter. Nature’s Best Photography: Windland Smith Rice International Awards features 48 stunning images of animals and landscapes from around the world. With the national tour beginning in April 2014, the exhibition showcases amazing animal behaviors and dramatic natural landscapes through award-winning oversized... Continue reading
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It's not often that I'd walk down the hallway of our Washington, DC, offices mouthing the word "Sweet!" and freely delivering high fives to any hand that might be within reach. But, it also wasn't any old day. This was the moment that we found out that we'd received funding to build our first exhibition-specific app--joy, excitement, anticipation. Oh, the possibilities! Fast forward 16 months. The excitement is still there, knowing that we delivered an engaging and educational product, but the lyrics from that old song "Ooh La La" by Faces (1973) keeps playing on my iPhone: "I wish that... Continue reading
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February is officially Black History Month, but SITES has a strong commitment to presenting exhibitions that celebrate and explore the African American experience which you can host any time of the year. Share with your audience Romare Bearden’s vibrant collages that reimagine Homer’s "The Odyssey" or the expressive figural paintings and landscapes of seminal artist William H. Johnson. And in Black Wings: American Dreams of Flight, the story of African American pioneers in aviation like Bessie Coleman and the Tuskegee Airmen is brought to the forefront as an important chapter in American history. IndiVisible traces the histories and experiences of... Continue reading
Smithsonian Traveling Exhibits added a favorite at Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service
Feb 5, 2013
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Recently, we said farewell to a trusted and respected member of our staff. Jeffrey E. Thompson, a project director at SITES for some 20 years, will be missed by many, including those who shared these thoughtful rembrances of our friend Jeff: "What I will remember most about Jeff were his precise, artful and almost loving movements in preparing his loose-leaf green tea, filling his stylish, white ceramic teapot, soaking the tea and then cleaning his utensils, several times a day in our small kitchen at SITES. It was like being an accidental witness to a calming and deliberate tea ceremony... Continue reading
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You know the saying, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." We're happy to report that the trash-to-treasure phenomenon can now be applied to Smithsonian traveling exhibitions! The Centro de Ciencias y Artes A.C, Planetario Alfa in San Pedro Garza Garcia, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, is preparing a Spanish presentation of SITES’ digital exhibition, Green Revolution, to open on March 15, 2013. Planetario staff members, school groups and general visitors recently created an 8 x 79 foot mural on the exterior of their building, made entirely of 60,000 bottle caps. One complimentary entrance pass was given for every 50 bottle caps... Continue reading
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Feedback is great. We do what we do because we believe that somehow our work makes a difference to people, and when folks take the time to tell us that we're doing a good job, we can't help but take it in and flash a small but satisfied smile, knowing that someone out there has been enriched by our work. Here's a letter one of our project directors recently received in reference to our FREE poster exhibit "Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Project, 1942-1964." Dear Amanda, I can't begin to tell you the effect the Bracero Posters have had on me.... Continue reading
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This weekend, SITES newest exhibition Mail Call opens at the Spartanburg County Public Library in South Carolina. Mail Call explores the vital connections between military service members and their family and friends--as told in letters penned over the centuries, from the American Revolution through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. At its heart, the exhibition is a homage to the power of words and to human communications at times of distress as well as triumph. Some of the most compelling letters in the exhibition were written by members of the Walters family during the Civil War. Private David Walters (Company... Continue reading