Smithsonian Offers Rare Look Behind the Scenes

Smithsonian Curators and Scholars, Special Collections and Exhibitions and Gala Private Dinners in Museum Galleries Are Featured
July 26, 2010
News Release

Smithsonian Journeys announces a rare opportunity to go behind the scenes at five of the Institution’s museums. During “Celebrate Smithsonian” (Oct. 20-23) participants will meet Smithsonian curators and staff, explore Smithsonian collections not on public view, attend private demonstrations and the newest exhibitions and enjoy exclusive dinners with Smithsonian staff in museum galleries. This special access is rarely available to the general public. Photographs, program details and additional links can be found at www.SmithsonianJourneys.org/celebrate.

 The program begins with a private gala reception and dinner at the venerable Smithsonian “Castle” building. Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture, will welcome participants and provide a sweeping view of the Smithsonian’s colorful past and present. The next two days will focus on Smithsonian collections in storage and on display. Museum staff will lead     behind-the-scenes tours through the labyrinthine Museum Support Center, a modern, high-tech home to more than 54 million artifacts, where scholars work on the research and conservation of some of the nation’s treasures. At the National Museum of American History, curator of musical instruments Kenneth Slowik will show priceless instruments from the collection and demonstrate their rich tones.

Other highlights include special access to the Museum of Natural History’s new Human Origins exhibition, featuring state-of-the-art galleries that focus on how the environment and life have changed over the past 6 million years. Participants will remain at the museum for a private dinner in the Hall of Mammals followed by a talk by the curator of the Human Origins exhibition, Rick Potts.

Another tour features the new special exhibition “Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, after which curator Virginia Mecklenburg will join the group for lunch and talk about the exhibition. A gala farewell dinner takes place at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, home to 5.9 million objects, where Director Allen Kane will speak about the plans for the museum’s expansion.

More information on this rare, luxury behind-the-scenes opportunity, including accommodations at the historic Hay-Adams Hotel and cost, can be found at www.SmithsonianJourneys.org/celebrate or by calling toll-free 1 (877) 338-8687.

Note: Photographs are available on request.

About Smithsonian Journeys

Smithsonian Journeys is the Smithsonian Institution’s travel program, with more than 40 years dedicated to life-enriching experiences worldwide. The Smithsonian is known for “Inspiring Generations through Knowledge and Discovery,” which is central to Smithsonian Journeys and its more than 150 expert-led international and domestic tours featuring exclusive access and unforgettable experiences. For more information, visit www.SmithsonianJourneys.org or call toll-free 1 (877) 338-8687.

About the Smithsonian

Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum and research complex consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. There are 6,000 Smithsonian employees, including approximately 500 scientists, and more than 6,500 volunteers. Approximately 30 million people from around the world visited the Smithsonian in 2009 with more than 188 million visits to the Smithsonian websites. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at 137 million.

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