Wednesday, January 27, 2010

National Museum of the Marine Corps: New Year, New Galleries

(BUSINESS WIRE)--With more than 1.6 million visitors to date, the National Museum of the Marine Corps looks ahead to an exciting year to include the opening of three new galleries. Scheduled for June 2010, the Museum will open three additional large-scale galleries with exhibits interpreting the legendary founding of the Corps in 1775, the Civil War, the U.S. global trade expansion in the 19th century and World War I. The new exhibits will include an additional immersive experience, for which the Museum has become world renowned. Visitors will enter a stretch of forest in western France amidst the Battle of Belleau Wood, encountering a German machine gun nest. With the smell of cordite in the air and the sound of bullets whistling above their heads, visitors will experience the charge of Marines across a wheat field, just as it happened on June 6, 1918. The official opening of these new exhibits coincides with the 92nd anniversary of the historic Battle of Belleau Wood.

The National Museum of the Marine Corps is also preparing for one of the largest gatherings of living Iwo Jima veterans and their families to commemorate the 65th Anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima. The Museum will host a commemoration ceremony and banquet Feb. 19 - 20, with special guests including General James T. Conway, Commandant of the Marine Corps, and more than 200 invited veterans of the battle and family members. The National Museum of the Marine Corps is the ideal location to host the commemoration events, with an immersion gallery honoring the battle that offers a first-hand experience of the landing, as well as the display of both iconic American flags-raised at Mount Suribachi. One of the most famous World War II battles, these events are co-hosted by the Iwo Jima Association of America and the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. In addition to the formal commemoration ceremony and banquet at the National Museum, a wreath laying ceremony at the Marine Corps War Memorial will honor all Iwo Jima veterans.

The Museum also kicked off the new year with the major announcement that Curtis Fentress, founder of Denver-based Fentress Architects, will be honored with the American Institute of Architects’ 2010 Thomas Jefferson Award for public architecture. Architect of the National Museum of the Marine Corps and Semper Fidelis Memorial Chapel, Mr. Fentress is receiving AIA’s Thomas Jefferson Award for his portfolio of accomplishments and contributions to the quality of public architecture. His work on the National Museum of the Marine Corps has received widespread critical praise for evoking images of the flag-raising at the Battle of Iwo Jima.

In its third full year in operation, the National Museum of the Marine Corps ended 2009 continuing to be one of the most visited destinations in Virginia, attracting visitors from across the region, throughout the nation and around the world. In a Museum survey taken June 2009 through August 2009, 63.5 percent of respondents were non-Marines, showcasing the National Museum’s broad appeal to civilians and other service branches as well as the Marine community. 80 percent of survey respondents gave the National Museum an overall rating of “outstanding;” 17 percent rated the facility as “excellent;” 84 percent noted they would likely return to the National Museum and an impressive 97 percent said they would recommend the National Museum to others.

As visitors of all ages and interests from across the country both discover and return to visit the Museum, it expects to receive its 2 millionth visitor in 2010. The initiatives to expand the National Museum of the Marine Corps and Marine Corps Heritage Center are fulfilling the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s vision of creating a world-class campus to be enjoyed by visitors time and time again. The Foundation’s plans to further develop the Marine Corps Heritage Center include the expansion of Semper Fidelis Memorial Park as well as the construction of a giant screen theater with a feature film and additional interactive exhibit galleries.

For more information on the National Museum of the Marine Corps, visit or call 1-877-635-1775 to speak to a staff member during normal business hours.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

SCAD Museum of Art Breaks Ground for Historic Museum Expansion

/PRNewswire/ -- The Savannah College of Art and Design held an historic groundbreaking ceremony yesterday, Jan. 21, 2010, for the SCAD Museum of Art complex, which will include the future home of the Walter O. Evans Center for African American Studies housing one of the finest collections of African-American art in the United States, as well as other significant museum collections in new galleries and academic spaces. Representatives from Savannah's city government, members of the art and preservation community and four generations of the Evans family attended the event.

SCAD's dynamic new center for African-American art, literature and culture

The Walter O. Evans Center for African American Studies, the heart of the museum complex, is named for Savannah native and nationally renowned art collector Dr. Walter O. Evans. Listed frequently among America's top 100 collectors by Art and Antiques magazine, Evans assembled a legacy collection that spans 150 years of African-American art--from 19th-century landscape paintings of the Hudson River School to works by masters of the Harlem Renaissance, as well as folk art, examples from the Federal Art Project of the 1930s, and later 20th-century works by Lawrence and Bearden among others. In December 2005, Evans donated a significant collection of African-American art to SCAD, and the gift has created an invaluable resource for the university, the region and the nation.

The Evans Center will provide a permanent home for the Evans Collection as well as an interdisciplinary facility devoted to the study of African-American art, literature and culture that will include classrooms, exhibition space, event space and a theater. The center also will also create the opportunity for SCAD to develop more educational programs and relationships with public and private schools in Savannah and the Southeast.

"My wife Linda and I wanted the collection to stay in our hometown," said Evans. "However,
selecting SCAD as the recipient was more than a matter of location. The partnership with the
university will ensure that people of all ages and diverse social and ethnic backgrounds will have
an opportunity to view and learn from the collection for many years to come. Linda and I hope that through this new Center for African American Studies, visitors will recognize the importance of preserving our cultural heritage and of providing a legacy for those who come after us."

SCAD's renowned expertise in historic preservation and urban revitalization

The SCAD Museum of Art sits on a site that had once been dilapidated and abandoned. Now saved and restored, the expanded museum and Evans Center will be new neighborhood anchors and vibrant centers of student and university activities. Through this institutional practice of adaptive reuse, SCAD has redefined preservation education and demonstrated how building conservation can revive neighborhoods, restore local economies and reawaken civic pride. The SCAD Museum of Art complex and the Evans Center further exemplify SCAD's commitment to the revitalization of Savannah's commercial corridor along Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and will bring new life to a downtown district that was once vital to the city.

With the museum expansion, SCAD's latest adaptive re-use project will focus on the Central of Georgia Railroad 1853 depot, located directly behind the current museum that is housed in the former 1856 railroad headquarters. Both buildings were original to the Central of Georgia Railroad complex, the only surviving antebellum railroad complex in the country and a National Historic Landmark. SCAD will adaptively reuse the depot's remaining brick masonry walls and will incorporate other materials salvaged from the site in the new construction. Likely constructed by African-American slaves and built from bricks made by slave labor, the Evans Center will be physically infused with the African-American culture and history that it seeks to celebrate and preserve. The exterior design culminates in an 86-foot-tall steel and glass lantern that will stand over a central atrium and a glass-walled gallery where there were once railroad tracks.

Planned in two phases, this first phase will add approximately 60,000 square feet to the museum complex. The expanded facility will accommodate much of the museum collection now housed in off-site storage and expand programming with the addition of new galleries, classrooms and a 250-seat theater. The courtyard beside the museum will be landscaped, and a streetscape with trees and a new sidewalk on the Turner Street side will transform the neighborhood.

The urban design firm Sottile and Sottile, headed by SCAD professor and alumnus Christian Sottile, is leading the development of the project's exterior design. The principal architects are
the Atlanta firm Lord, Aeck & Sargent, who were architectural partners for the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Savannah architect Neil Dawson, and the Boulder, Colo.-based exhibition design firm Quenroe Associates, whose clients have included the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore, and the Smithsonian Institution, among others.

As a teaching museum, the SCAD Museum of Art supports the academic and creative programs at SCAD by providing students with direct encounters with works by major artists while enriching the artistic, educational and cultural offerings available to the university and wider communities. The museum is a cultural gem that adds to Savannah's reputation as an ideal location for visitors and those interested in the arts and architecture.

SCAD: The University for Creative Careers

The Savannah College of Art and Design is the most comprehensive art and design university in the world, offering more degree programs and specializations than any other art and design university. SCAD is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution conferring bachelor's and master's degrees in distinctive locations and online to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers students a choice of degree programs in 46 majors and more than 50 minors at locations in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia; in Lacoste, France; online through SCAD eLearning; and in Hong Kong beginning Fall 2010.

SCAD offers an exceptional education and unparalleled career preparation. The diverse student body of more than 9,900 comes from all 50 United States and nearly 100 countries worldwide. Each student is nurtured and motivated by a faculty of more than 650 professors with extraordinary academic credentials and valuable professional experience. These faculty emphasize learning through individual attention in an inspiring university environment. SCAD provides an innovative curriculum enhanced by advanced, professional-level technology, equipment and learning resources. SCAD has garnered acclaim from respected organizations and publications, including BusinessWeek, American Institute of Architects, DesignIntelligence, U.S. News & World Report and Los Angeles Times.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

San Francisco Four Days before the Quake

HH Note: Take a stroll down memory lane and take a quick glimpse into life in San Franscisco just days before their earthquake. It's awesome to see the horses, the clothing, and the sheer numbers of people on the street. Can you imagine sauntering out today in traffic? History. Ain't it grand!

Thanks to Kathryn Doyle of the California Genealogical Society for tweeting about this fascinating film footage. It's film shot from a cable car traveling down Market Street in San Francisco, just four days before the quake and fire. Whether or not you have San Francisco ancestors, you'll find this film worth your time.....

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Moon Rock Gains Traveling Companion for Historic Return to Space

/PRNewswire/ -- A moon rock collected during the historic Apollo 11 mission more than 40 years ago will be heading back to space and a new home aboard the International Space Station, sharing quarters with a piece of Mt. Everest.

On May 20, 2009, former NASA astronaut Scott Parazynski carried the rock to the top of Mt. Everest where he collected a rock from the world's highest mountain to accompany the lunar sample for its return to space.

During an event Jan. 6 at Space Center Houston, Parazynski will present both rocks to NASA astronaut and STS-130 mission Commander George Zamka. Zamka will deliver the rocks to the space station during space shuttle Endeavour's mission next month.

Collected from the Sea of Tranquility on the lunar surface, the moon rock and its Mt. Everest companion will be displayed inside the station's Tranquility module, which the STS-130 crew will deliver to the station.

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