Wednesday, February 15, 2006

 

Smithsonian partners with local museum

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Manitowoc Herald Time
By Tara Meissner
February 09, 2006


Affiliation gives Maritime Museum access to vast collections, exhibits

MANITOWOC — The Wisconsin Maritime Museum will bring the nation's artifacts to the Lakeshore area.

The museum has become the first and, at the moment, only Smithsonian Institution affiliate in Wisconsin.

"This museum has reached the ultimate goal," Executive Director Norma Bishop said.

As an affiliate institution, the museum will have access to the Smithsonian's treasures.

"It is a long way from the day the submarine was towed here in 1970," Bishop said.

The WMM will celebrate the honor by hosting Smithsonian Affiliations Director Harold Closter at its annual meeting Saturday. His presentation will mark the official designation as a Smithsonian affiliate.

"It's important to us, because we want to share the collections of the American people with them in their own community … because not everyone can come to Washington," Closter said in a phone interview from Washington D.C. on Wednesday. "We need strong partners in an established museum."

The WMM is working to bring a Smithsonian exhibit to the facility within 18 months. It will work to develop education programs to support the exhibit, present it in its context, and incorporate an interactive component, Bishop said.

According to Closter, the WMM demonstrated:

. it has an appropriate non-profit facility;

. it has a mission and commitment to public service and education;

. it has a professional staff; and

. it has facilities that can assure the safety of Smithsonian artifacts.

Bishop said the museum staff began a detailed application process in summer 2005, and received notification of the designation in the fall. The WMM already is accredited with the American Association of Museums.

"The Smithsonian is like another echelon. Not every accredited museum will become a Smithsonian," Bishop said.

Bishop compares the accomplishment to earning the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

"It tells people that supporting this museum is a good investment," she said.


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