The Initiative Partners
Anacostia Community Museum
National Museum of African American History and Culture
National Museum of African Art
The Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art collects, exhibits, conserves and studies the arts of Africa. The building houses the museum's collection, exhibition galleries, public education facilities, an art conservation laboratory, a research library and photographic archives. Its exhibitions and programs inspire conversations about the beauty, power and diversity of African arts and cultures worldwide.
The National Museum of African Art is America's only museum among the Smithsonian's 19 museums that is dedicated to the dynamic visual arts that come from the cradle of humanity, the very place where the human race originated. In that sense it is everybody's museum, and a home for conversations about the key role of Africa and art in the global community.
As part of our Director's Discussion Series, Johnnetta Betsch Cole, director of the National Museum of African Art, will be in conversation with coveted philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah to discuss and interrogate the category of race and the future of museums. Appiah's personal reflections and philosophical investigations on race will encourage conversations about cultural identity and shared humanity that this museum seeks to foster.
National Museum of American History
The National Museum of American History (NMAH) is one of the pan institutional members of the steering committee for RACE: Are we So Different? exhibition. The Museum dedicates its collections and scholarship to inspiring a broader understanding of our nation and its many peoples. We create learning opportunities, stimulate imaginations, and present challenging ideas about our country's past.
NMAH feels it is important to be involved in this partnership as race is central to an understanding of the American experience. The social construct of race plays a role in many of our exhibitions and programs. For example, our America On The Move and Communities in a Changing Nation exhibitions as well as our museum theater program based on the story of the Greensboro lunch counter all explore issues of race relations and conflicts that have shaped our nation.
National Museum of The American Indian
The National Museum of the American Indian promotes cross-cultural understanding through our programs, collections, and exhibits. Spanning over 10,000 years of history and hundreds of indigneous societies in the Western Hemisphere, NMAI holds diversity as a core value. At the same time that we educate national and global audiences about the myriad of Native peoples, we also hold to our common humanity with individuals of all backgrounds. NMAI consistently engages in dialogues with our visitors about the meaning of pluralism in the context of American identity. For this reason, our museum is especially well situated to advance public conversations on the complex yet vital topic of race in collaboration with our partners across the Smithsonian Institution.
While all of our work either implicitly or explicitly cover issues related to race and diversity, we do have an inaugural exhibit called Our Lives: Contemporary Native Life and Identity which clearly speaks to matters of race, policy, and identification. NMAI is preparing a symposium as part of the programming for the Race Initiative which will further delve into the matters covered by the Race Exhibit and also the Our Lives Exhibit entitled Quantum Leap: Does "Indian Blood" Still Matter? This is a scholarly symposium which will open conversation on current thinking about legal codification and sovereignty as they relate to tribal identification. The symposium will take place on September 16, 2011 at NMAI.
National Museum of Natural History
The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program
The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
The Freer and the Sackler are two Smithsonian museums linked by the exhibition, study, and sheer love of Asian art. Our mission is to encourage enjoyment and understanding of the arts of Asia and the cultures that produced them. We use works of art to inspire study and provoke thought. Our mantra is to present the best in Asian art while enabling our visitors to walk through a vivid timeline of world cultures.
When the Freer Gallery opened to the public in 1923 it became the first art museum on the Smithsonian campus. By exploring the differences in arts from around the world, the Freer Gallery of Art would unite, in Freer's own words, "modern work with masterpieces of certain periods of high civilization harmonious in spiritual suggestion..." In 1987, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery opened on the national mall to become the second museum of Asian art at the Smithsonian Institution. The museum was built with funds provided by Dr. Sackler to house his collection of Asian art that included incomparable examples of Chinese archaic jades and ancient bronzes, among other important works of art.
We look forward to seeing you in the galleries as well as online.
The Smithsonian Associates
The Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
The mission of the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies is to increase the Smithsonian Institution's impact as a national educational organization.
The Center provides leadership in education at the Smithsonian through hosting www.SmithsonianEducation.org, the gateway to the institution's educational resources and programs, publishing Smithsonian in Your Classroom, a journal for elementary and middle school educators, offering research opportunities and resources to the museum community, and conducting professional development programs for educators at all levels. The Center has created a long-term alliance with state education officials that has become the basis for several collaborative teacher training and resource development projects in a wide range of subjects. The Center also manages pan-institutional functions such as internships, heritage month celebrations, school tour programming, and the collection and analysis of data on Smithsonia education programs.
Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center
The Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC) is a museum-based lab school located in the Smithsonian museum complex. Our child development center serves children between the ages of 3 months to 6 years of age through our preschool program and kindergarten. Our mission is two-fold: to provide a high-quality educational program for young children, and to advance educational opportunities for all children by sharing SEEC's expertise on a national level, thereby furthering the education mandate of the Smithsonian Institution.Â SEEC's educational philosophy encourages respect for the child and recognizes the unique nature of the individual. Hands-on exploration and discovery, both in the classroom and the museum, offer a chance to construct knowledge from personal experience. Through the comprehensive collections housed in the Washington DC community, children develop an understanding of the diversity of the world.Â The SEEC philosophy is based upon five key concepts: Child-oriented learning, real-world integrated learning, cultural diversity, critical thinking skills, and aesthetic awareness.
The Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center's educators bring a unique and important educational skill set and perspective to the RACE exhibition project. As thoughtful educators concerned about providing high quality educational experiences for young children, SEEC staff are encouraged to continuously expand their understanding and knowledge of topics relevant to SEEC children and the SI community. SEEC staff have a deep knowledge of how young children learn and experience with presenting sensitive information to young children and their families using age appropriate and culturally sensitive methods. With the “Talking About Race at the Smithsonian” pan-institutional effort, SEEC sees this important educational initiative as an opportunity to further its own understanding of the topic of race and how it impacts the children with whom they work.
SEEC teachers, in collaboration with colleagues from the Anacostia Community Museum, the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies, and National Museum of African American History and Culture, are exploring how young children come to understand the concept of race.Â Over the next few months, several SEEC teachers will focus on what they, asÂ educators, are doing to promote positive self esteem and racial identity for students within their classrooms. Related observation and discussion will inform SEEC's development of a hands-on activity for children and a family guide for parents. The activity will be designed to open opportunities for dialogue, answer questions about the exhibition and encourage new ways for families to talk about race.Â As part of the “Families Talking about Race at the Smithsonian” family programming activities, the related hands-on activity and family guide will be presented to the public on October 22, 2011.