Month: August 2012

National Museum of the American Indian Welcomes New Sculptures by Artist Rick Bartow

August 30, 2012 The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian has commissioned a monumental outdoor sculpture by Oregon artist Rick Bartow (Wiyot/Mad River Band). The pair of wood carvings will act as key welcoming sentinels on the northwest corner of the museum overlooking the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Titled “We Were Always Here,” the work will be officially dedicated on the autumn equinox, Friday, Sept. 21, at 5:30 p.m. “We are honored to add these unique sculptures to our collection and our landscape,” said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), the museum’s director. “By greeting our visitors with indigenous imagery using traditional and natural resources, these works represent everything our museum stands for.” Carved using old-growth western red cedar from Washington state, Bartow’s sculptures represent traditional animals from the region’s indigenous creation stories. As Bartow explains: “The Welcoming Bear and Raven, Healer and Rascal sit atop the sculpture poles; one, slow and methodical, fiercely protective of her children, the other a playful, foible-filled teacher of great power. Both Bear and Raven are focused on water and salmon for serious reasons. The salmon reflect the health of the environment, in particular water, the source of all life. On each pole are repeated lower horizontal patterns that symbolize successive waves, generations following generations, an accumulation of wisdom and knowledge. The tree used for the sculptures is approximately 500 years old. The elders...

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Central American Traditions Focus of Smithsonian’s Hispanic Heritage Month

Music and Dance Performances, Hands-on Activities and Fun Sept. 15 August 30, 2012 Central American traditions will be celebrated at the Smithsonian’s Hispanic Heritage Month family day Saturday, Sept. 15, between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the National Museum of American History. The day will feature a sampling of music and dance performances as well as food demonstrations and hands-on arts and crafts. The Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies brings together the National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian Latino Center and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden to present the Central American Traditions Family Day. The museum’s terrace, which faces the National Mall, will feature fair tables that include demonstrations of foods such as pupusas and tamales, traditional weaving from Guatemala using a back strap loom and musical and dance performances, including the New York-based band, Bodoma. Inside, activities include designing a family bandera (flag), making alfombras or carpets, which are temporary artworks made with sawdust and based on a 400-year-old Guatemalan tradition, a lecture on Central American ceramics with Alex Benitez, archeologist and George Mason University professor, and engaging in conversations about immigration based on objects in the museum’s teaching collections. Below is a full schedule of events for the Central American Traditions Family Day: Ongoing Activities Fair Tables (Mall Terrace) Immigration Cart Conversations at the “American Stories” exhibition (second floor, East Wing) Design...

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MITT ROMNEY Delivers Remarks to Republican National Convention

Mitt Romney today delivered remarks to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. The following remarks were prepared for delivery: Mr. Chairman, delegates. I accept your nomination for President of the United States of America. I do so with humility, deeply moved by the trust you have placed in me. It is a great honor. It is an even greater responsibility. Tonight I am asking you to join me to walk together to a better future. By my side, I have chosen a man with a big heart from a small town. He represents the best of America, a man who will always make us proud – my friend and America’s next Vice President, Paul Ryan. In the days ahead, you will get to know Paul and Janna better. But last night America got to see what I saw in Paul Ryan – a strong and caring leader who is down to earth and confident in the challenge this moment demands. I love the way he lights up around his kids and how he’s not embarrassed to show the world how much he loves his mom. But Paul, I still like the playlist on my iPod better than yours. Four years ago, I know that many Americans felt a fresh excitement about the possibilities of a new president. That president was not the choice of our party but Americans...

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Smithsonian’s National Zoo Opens Spectacular New American Trail Exhibit

August 29, 2012 After five years of planning and construction, the National Zoo will open the new American Trail exhibit to the public Saturday, Sept. 1, at noon. The renovated area in the extensive lower valley between Elephant Trail and Amazonia will transport visitors to the Pacific Northwest where they will come face-to-face with California sea lions and seals. The new trail is also home to pelicans, industrious beavers, playful otters, the iconic bald eagle, new intelligent ravens and two stunning new American gray wolves. The total cost of American Trail is $42 million. Many of the American Trail inhabitants represent species that have rebounded after coming close to extinction. “American Trail is a celebration of our country’s spirit and, in true Smithsonian tradition, a showcase for ‘living’ American Treasures,” said Dennis Kelly, director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park. “Our visitors can get to know their native wildlife and learn what they can do to help conserve our country’s gems.” American Trail highlights include: A 300,000-gallon sea lion pool and a 125,000-gallon seal pool. A wave machine keeps the water in constant motion, providing sensory stimulation for the animals. The pools offer the visitors split-level and above-water viewing areas. A new wolf yard that provides a number of unparalleled views of the Zoo’s two gray wolves. A specially designed tide pool exhibit offers visitors the chance to dip...

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Mississippi River Flows Backwards Due to Isaac

Strong winds and storm surge from Hurricane Isaac’s landfall forced the Mississippi River to flow backwards for nearly 24 hours on Tuesday, August 28. The USGS streamgage at Belle Chasse, Louisiana, showed the Mississippi River flowing upstream at 182,000 cubic feet per second, surging to 10 feet above than its previous height. Average flow for the Mississippi River at Belle Chase is about 125,000 cfs towards the Gulf of Mexico. Although it doesn’t happen often, hurricanes can cause coastal rivers to reverse flow. Between the extremely strong winds and the massive waves of water pushed by those winds, rivers at regular or low flow are forced backwards until either the normal river-flow or the elevation of the land stop the inflow. As Hurricane Isaac pushes further inland, it is causing storm surge in the Mississippi River as far north as Baton Rouge, where the river has crested at 8 feet above its prior height. “This reversal of flow of the mighty Mississippi is but one measure of the extreme force of Isaac,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “While such events are ephemeral, they are yet another reminder of why we need to respect hurricane warnings.” When Hurricane Katrina came ashore in 2005, the Mississippi River also reversed flow, cresting at 13 feet above its previous level, with Baton Rouge reaching 9 feet above its previous stage as well. Another...

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