No one can keep up with everything, so let us do it for you. We’ll gather the top Smithsonian stories from across the country and around the world each week so you’ll never be at a loss for conversation around the water cooler.
Lava, yaks, frogs, Nancy Pelosi—and murderous otters. It was a wild week in Smithsonian news.
NPR, March 6
The Smithsonian has declared 2018 “The Year of the Tractor.” It’s been 100 years since John Deere bought the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company. And now, a 1918 Waterloo Boy Tractor is featured in an exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Read more and listen to the story: Michelle O’Neill reports tractors ushered in a new era of farming.
Director Melissa Chiu is highlighting contemporary works by women and putting politically and socially charged exhibits on display. As New York artist Pat Steir put it, “The time of women is coming.”
Vanity Fair, March 7
Melissa Chiu, the director of the Hirshhorn Museum since 2014, has put the buzz back into Washington, D.C.’s staid art scene. The driving force behind back-to-back critically acclaimed exhibitions that dived full on into the politically and socially challenging questions of our times, Chiu—a native of Darwin, Australia, and a scholar of contemporary Chinese art—is the first non-American to head the museum, a part of the Smithsonian Institution. “My coming from elsewhere allows me a fresh perspective on the importance of this democratic society,” she says. “We are interested in the idea of `What does a museum of modern contemporary art do today?’ We are in this extraordinary transitional moment between the 20th and 21st century, and it is art museums that can help people understand this transition.” Read more from A.M. Homes for Vanity Fair.
The Guardian, March 7
The finalists in six categories have been chosen out of 48,000 submissions from photographers in 155 countries. Here we showcase a few. See all 60 finalists from Smithsonian.com’s 15th Annual Photo Contest and vote for the Readers’ Choice winner.
CBS News, March 7
The first woman speaker of the House — now Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California — commemorated women’s “firsts” by donating items from her Jan. 4, 2007 swearing in and speech as speaker of the House to the Smithsonian National American History Museum Wednesday.
“I’m really humbled by my colleagues who had the courage to elect the first woman speaker of the House — that was no small feat — bringing us closer to the ideal of equality that is America’s hope and heritage,” Pelosi said at the ceremony.
The Washington Post, March 8
Sue Spector was kayaking with her husband down the pristine Braden River in western Florida when she spotted an otter.
Spector, 77, from Sarasota, turned around in her boat early Sunday morning and, catching a glimpse of the small river dweller, thought to herself, “Oh, this is a cute otter,” she told the Tampa Bay Times.
The animal, usually known for its curiosity and playful demeanor, leaped onto the kayak and lunged at Spector. Read more and watch video from Lindsey Bever for The Washington Post.
Posted: 11 March 2018