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Historic Annapolis Partners with Smithsonian

Date: Capital Gazette, June 20, 2016, Meredith Newman

Historic Annapolis has partnered with the Smithsonian Institution, giving the local nonprofit access to the organization's 35 million historic artifacts.

The Annapolis nonprofit is now a part of the Smithsonian Affiliations program and will have the opportunity to borrow items from the Smithsonian museums, as well as organize educational collaborations and traveling exhibitions, said Carrie Kiewitt, spokeswoman for Historic Annapolis. The organization is one of six affiliates in Maryland and one of 200 in the country.

"The things they bring to the table are endless," Kiewitt said. "It has great benefits for our members."

Historic Annapolis preserves historic places and objects throughout the city. The organization started its Smithsonian Affiliations' application in the beginning of 2015 and took one year to be approved.

The application was "rigorous," Kiewitt said, and asked for details ranging the humidity of the organization's historic properties to their security. Smithsonian Affiliations also toured the 12 Historic Annapolis properties.

To kick off the partnership, Richard Kurin, the acting provost of the Smithsonian, will speak at the Loews Annapolis Hotel at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. His speech will focus on the Hope Diamond, 400-year old jewel that is 45 carats, and is the subject of his most recent book.

One of the biggest benefits from the affiliation is the "Two Memberships in One" program. Members of Historic Annapolis who contribute $100 or more will also become members of the Smithsonian for no extra cost, Kiewitt said.

The local organization hopes to utilize the Smithsonian's trove of historic artifacts for a future exhibit that will showcase the city's history in 99 objects, said Robert Clark, president and CEO of Historic Annapolis.

Since only a fraction of the Smithsonian's 35 million artifacts can be on display, the program allows for museums all over the country to display pieces of American history, he said. The organization already plans to borrow a microphone from the Annapolis African-American radio station WANN.

"It really enhances our value and our brand," Clark said.

The long-term goal of the Smithsonian Affiliations program is to create a two-way relationship and help "tell the story near and dear" to both organizations, said Harold Closter, director of the program.

Smithsonian Affiliations "admires" Historic Annapolis for its work to preserve the structures and stories of Annapolis, Closter said. The city has important history, he said, and it can dissipate if people aren't taking care of it.

"We complement each other," Closter said. "We tell a national story and they tell a local story, but there's so many places where we intersect."


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