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38 minutes | Jul 27, 2022
Culture in Crisis
"This is a war not only for the territory. This is war against our culture," says Ihor Poshyvailo, director of the Maidan Museum in Kiev, Ukraine. Ukraine has scores of museums, cemeteries, archeological sites, and places of worship where Ukrainian history and national identity are memorialized. But when bombs are exploding, who’s pulling a sculpture from the rubble? Enter the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative: a team flung together by a deadly earthquake in Haiti that grew through trial and discovery into an international network of professionals devoted to protecting the world’s treasures from threats by humankind and mother nature alike. Guests: Hayden Bassett, director of the Cultural Heritage Monitoring Lab at Smithsonian affiliate Virginia Museum of Natural History Olsen Jean Julien, project director of the Cultural Conservation Center at Quisqueya University in Haiti Cori Wegener, director of the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative Richard Kurin, Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large, co-founder of the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative Ihor Poshyvailo, director of the National Museum of the Revolution of Dignity (Maidan Museum) in Kyiv, Ukraine Acknowledgments: The work of the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative would not be possible without the collaboration of countless partner organizations and collaborators, among them: the US government, including the Cultural Heritage Coordinating Committee, the Departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security and Justice, the FBI, Institute of Peace, FEMA, and the Heritage Emergency National Task Force; agencies of other governments like the Ministry of Culture in Haiti, the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage in Iraq, and the Ministry of Culture in Ukraine; other organizations like UNESCO, the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, International Council of Museums, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Institute of Conservation, the US Committee of the Blue Shield, the Penn Cultural Heritage Center and the University of Pennsylvania Museum, the Virginia Museum of Natural History, the University of Maryland, Prince Claus Fund for Cultural Emergency Response, FOKAL in Haiti, the Mosul Museum, the Heritage Emergency Rescue Initiative, the National Center for Research Restoration, and the Kosciuszko Foundation for Ukraine. SCRI’s work is made possible with the support of funders like the United State Congress, Department of State, Bank of America, Mellon Foundation, ALIPH Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Brad Freeman, the Broadway League, the Stiller Foundation, and the Roberts family.
33 minutes | Jul 13, 2022
As NASA releases the James Webb Space Telescope's first images, we focus our lens on its predecessor: the Hubble Space Telescope. Prepare for liftoff, as we explore how America's first large space telescope went from a "billion-dollar blunder" to one of history's most important scientific instruments. Guests: Samantha Thompson, curator of science and technology at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Robert Smith, former space historian at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum; author, Hubble: Imaging Space and Time Jeffrey Hoffman, NASA astronaut who repaired Hubble in 1993 Sandra Faber, professor of astronomy & astrophysics at University of California Observatories/Lick Observatory
15 minutes | Jul 4, 2022
A Star-Spangled Bonus Episode
Which came first, the flag or the song? Sidedoor is celebrating this Independence Day with a special bonus episode: the story behind our Star-Spangled Banner. Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History military curator Jennifer Jones explains the origin and meaning behind the national anthem through the tattered piece of wool that lies at the heart of the museum. What are ramparts anyways? You'll find out! Guest: Jennifer Jones, military curator at National Museum of American History
31 minutes | Jun 29, 2022
Get Off My Lawn
Nowhere in the world are lawns as revered as they are in the United States. The picture-perfect patch of grass is so deeply rooted in the American psyche it feels more like a default setting than a choice. Americans spend countless hours every year seeding, watering, mowing, and fertilizing patches of grass that don't make much sense, economically or ecologically. But why? In this episode, we dig into the history of our lawnly love to learn where the concept came from...and how we grew so obsessed. Guests: Cindy Brown, manager of collections, education, and access at Smithsonian Gardens Joyce Connolly, museum specialist at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Gardens Abeer Saha, curator of agriculture and engineering at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History Sylvia Schmeichel, lead horticulturist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History Jeff Schneider, deputy director of Smithsonian Gardens
34 minutes | Jun 15, 2022
The Sex Lives of Giant Pandas
Whether it's live on the Smithsonian’s National Zoo's panda cam or in front of a crowd, possibly no other animal's sex life is as closely watched as the giant pandas' is. And there's a reason. These cuddly-looking black and white bears just can't figure out how to mate. But, with a little help from science, the once-endangered giant panda is making a comeback. In honor of the 50th anniversary of giant pandas at Smithsonian's National Zoo, we peep into the (not so secret) sex lives of pandas. Guests: Pierre Comizzoli, panda sex expert and staff scientist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute Lisa Stevens, AKA “Panda Lady”; former senior curator of mammals at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo Stephen Powers, panda fan
1 minutes | Jun 8, 2022
It’s Season Eight!
Sidedoor returns for its eighth season on Wednesday, June 15th!
27 minutes | Jun 1, 2022
Bonus: Yes She Did!
We’re hard at work producing the next season of Sidedoor, but just in case you can’t get enough Smithsonian podcasts we’re sharing a special guest episode of Portraits, from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. In this episode, grassroots organizer Dolores Huerta talks about how she took on the status quo (in a wrinkled sweater) during the landmark Delano Grape Strike. All the time, she fought on two fronts: resisting exploitation and also resisting sexism, sometimes from within the very labor movement she helped to launch. You can subscribe to Portraits wherever you get your podcasts.
19 minutes | May 18, 2022
Bonus: Black Feminism Re-rooted
We’re hard at work producing the next season of Sidedoor, but just in case you can’t get enough Smithsonian podcasts, we’re sharing a special guest episode of Collected, from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. In this first episode of the series, co-hosts Dr. Crystal Moten and Dr. Krystal Klingenberg discuss the multiple definitions of Black Feminism, joined by guests Dr. Brittney Cooper, Paris Hatcher, Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, and Feminista Jones. You can subscribe to Collected wherever you get your podcasts.
31 minutes | May 4, 2022
We’re hard at work producing the next season of Sidedoor, but just in case you can’t get enough Smithsonian podcasts, we’re sharing a special guest episode of AirSpace, from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. This story is about a truly intoxicating period of American history – Prohibition! In this episode of AirSpace, you’ll learn how banning alcohol in the U.S. gave the fledgling air travel industry the shot it needed to get off the ground. You can subscribe to AirSpace wherever you get your podcasts.
29 minutes | Apr 20, 2022
The Hungerford Deed
When a 200-year-old legal document anonymously arrived at his office, Smithsonian Libraries and Archives conservator William Bennett assumed it would be full of boring legal jargon. Instead, he found a juicy tale of family betrayal that would forever change what we thought we knew about the founding of the Smithsonian. Speakers: William Bennett, conservator at the Smithsonian Institution Libraries and Archives Social: @rwilliab (Instagram), @SirWilliamB (Twitter) Heather Ewing, author of The Lost World of James Smithson, and Associate Dean at New York Studio School Social: @HPealeEwing Richard Kurin, Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large
31 minutes | Apr 6, 2022
The Many Inventions of Beatrice Kenner
An accident that nearly killed Beatrice Kenner when she was five years old scarred her face for life, but it also gave her a determination to create solutions wherever she saw obstacles. This drive and ingenuity made her one of the most prolific African American inventors of the mid 20th century. This time on Sidedoor, we explore what might be Beatrice Kenner's greatest invention of all: an innovation for periods in a period of innovation.
30 minutes | Mar 23, 2022
Broad Stripes, Bright Stars and White Lies
Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag. At least, that's what we were taught in school. But when historians go searching… there’s no proof to be found. In this episode of Sidedoor, we unravel this vexillological tale tall to find out how this myth got started, and who Betsy Ross really was. Guests: Jennifer Locke Jones, political and military history curator at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History Twitter: @jonesjl_si Marc Leepson, journalist, historian and author of the book Flag: An American Biography @MarcLeepson https://www.marcleepson.com/ Book link: https://www.amazon.com/Flag-American-Biography-Marc-Leepson/dp/0312323093 Marla R. Miller, historian and author of Betsy Ross and the Making of America Twitter: @MarlaAtLarge Book link: https://www.amazon.com/Betsy-Making-America-Marla-Miller/dp/0805082972
32 minutes | Mar 9, 2022
Take Who Out to the Ball Game?
Baseball fan or not, you know this song…or at least, you think you do. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is one of the top three most recognizable songs in the country, next to “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Happy Birthday.” But long-forgotten lyrics reveal a feminist message buried amid the peanuts and cracker jack. Speakers: Dan Piazza, curator at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum Andy Strasberg, co-author of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game: Baseball’s Greatest Hit” George Boziwick, retired Chief of the Music Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and co-founder of the Red Skies Music Ensemble Nancy Faust, retired organist for the Chicago White Sox
32 minutes | Feb 23, 2022
Raven and the Box of Daylight
Before here was here Raven was a white bird, and the world was in darkness. So begins the story passed down among the Tlingit people of the Pacific Northwest since time immemorial. This origin story has survived by passing from the lips of one person to the ear of another – from generation to generation. In this episode of Sidedoor, Tlingit glass artist Preston Singletary shares it in a new way: leading us on a journey from darkness to light through dozens of luminous glass sculptures. Speakers Miranda Belarde-Lewis, independent curator and assistant professor of Information Science at the University of Washington IG: miranda505 Preston Singletary, internationally acclaimed Tlingit glass artist IG: @prestonsingletaryglass YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/PrestonSingletaryGlass Emil Her Many Horses, curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian IG: @SmithsonianNMAI | Twitter: @SmithsonianNMAI
38 minutes | Feb 9, 2022
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have a Dream Speech is one of the most famous speeches in the world. But it almost didn’t happen. If you look at King's typed manuscript of his speech —which is currently on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture— you won't find the phrase "I Have a Dream." But even though Dr. King's speech was improvised, that doesn't mean it wasn't years in the making. In this episode of Sidedoor, we trace the evolution of King's dream, from a secret friendship, to an experimental poem, to the speech we all know today. Guests: Kevin Young, Director of Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture W. Jason Miller, Author of Origins of the Dream: Hughes's Poetry and King's Rhetoric
34 minutes | Jan 26, 2022
The Robot in the Mirror
It’s easy to think artificial intelligence is objective. It doesn’t have emotions. It operates based on cold hard calculations. But artificial intelligence is built on human intelligence, and it may be carrying our old prejudices into the future with us. In this episode of Sidedoor, we step into the Smithsonian’s FUTURES exhibition to meet a very special robot who asks us to consider: whose image will be reflected in our AI future? Speakers: Stephanie Dinkins, transdisciplinary artist and professor at Stony Brook University Twitter: @dinkinsstudio @stephdink Instagram: Dinkins.studio, stephanie.dinkins Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.stephaniedinkins.com Ashley Molese, a curator of the Smithsonian’s FUTURES exhibition Social media: @smithsonianAIB, #TheFUTURES
32 minutes | Jan 12, 2022
The Fugitive Brewer
A skill for brewing beer and $100 reward for her capture. Those were the clues in an old newspaper ad that got Smithsonian brewing historian Theresa McCulla hooked on the story of Patsy Young, an enslaved African American woman who fled to freedom in 1808 and made a life for herself brewing beer. In this episode of Sidedoor, we follow McCulla as she scours historical documents to retrace Young's life and find out who she was...and what happened after her escape. Guests: Theresa McCulla, Curator with the Smithsonian’s American Brewing History Initiative at the National Museum of American History Mary Elliott, Curator of American Slavery at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture Frank Clark, Master of Historic Foodways at Colonial Williamsburg
28 minutes | Dec 29, 2021
Edison’s Demon Dolls
In 1890, Americans were delighted when they heard the news that Thomas Edison was using his phonograph technology to give voice to porcelain dolls. But their delight soon turned to horror. In this episode of Sidedoor, we’ll hear a short story that imagines what happens when two little girls receive one of Edison’s talking dolls as a holiday gift. And we’ll speak with an expert from the National Museum of American history to learn what went wrong with Edison’s invention.
36 minutes | Dec 15, 2021
Chiura Obata’s Glorious Struggle
When Chiura Obata painted “Moonlight Over Topaz, Utah,” he was a prisoner at the camp: one of 120,000 Japanese Americans to be incarcerated during World War II. The painting shows a dreamy moonlit desert, with just a few dark lines to hint at the barbed wire fences and guard towers that held him and his family captive. As a painter, Obata turned again and again to nature as his greatest teacher, and his greatest subject. Today, his work can be found in art collections and museums around the world, including the Smithsonian's American Art Museum. This time on Sidedoor, we learn from Chiura Obata about the power of art in tumultuous times. Speakers: Rihoko Ueno: Processing archivist at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art Noriko Sanefuji: Museum specialist in the Division of Cultural and Community Life at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History @apacurator @amhistorymuseum ShiPu Wang: Coats Endowed Chair in the Arts and Professor of Art History at The University of California Merced. Curator of the traveling exhibition, “Chiura Obata: An American Modern.” @curatingobata Kimi Hill: Chiura Obata’s granddaughter and author of the book, “Topaz Moon.”
30 minutes | Dec 1, 2021
Love in the Time of Emoji
When LOL just isn't enough to respond to a friend's killer joke, emoji are there for you. But for many people, there isn't an emoji to represent them or the things they want to say. This has pushed activists, designers, and straight up regular folks to create their own emoji. It's not as easy an undertaking as you might think, but every now and then one of these new emoji is so innovative it breaks the digital mold and finds itself in the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. In this episode of Sidedoor, we explore how one groundbreaking emoji is changing digital representation and the future of museum collections.
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