On March 23, Washington Park’s DuSable Museum of African American History announced its recent partnership with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. This “Smithsonian Affiliation” will grant DuSable access to artifacts, traveling exhibits, and rarely seen sculptures and paintings from the Smithsonian.
Smithsonian Affiliations is a department of the Smithsonian Institution that was founded in 1996. It establishes long-term partnerships between the Smithsonian, other museums, and educational and cultural organizations. Its efforts are directed towards promoting joint research and sharing the Smithsonian’s collections, exhibitions, and educational methods.
In addition to providing DuSable with access to a variety of the Smithsonian’s resources, this partnership will also allow the museum to offer its own members a discounted membership to the Smithsonian. The museum will also be able to participate in the annual Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference in Washington.
According to DuSable president and CEO Perri Irmer, her mission has been to expand the relationships and collaborative efforts of the museum since taking over as president last September.
“We have been actively reaching out to a variety of institutions, including the Smithsonian, to see how many opportunities we can create to work together and expand DuSable’s profile as well as its relationships with other institutions across the country and internationally,” Irmer said.
“What the Smithsonian Affiliates program is proud to do is to bring the Smithsonian into different communities and cities around the world via its affiliates,” Irmer added. “For the DuSable Museum, this affiliation is a very welcomed partnership in that it will raise our profile and recognize the quality and level of our collection, our archives, and the educational programming that we offer.”
There are over 200 Smithsonian affiliate organizations across 45 states, along with Panama and Puerto Rico. DuSable is the second institution in Chicago to gain this partnership, the first being the Adler Planetarium. Including these two museums, there are currently six Smithsonian affiliates in Illinois.
The UChicago Arts Pass, which provides UChicago students with access to some of Chicago’s greatest cultural organizations, offers students a discounted membership fee and free admission to the DuSable Museum as well as its special performances, exhibitions, films, and literary readings. DuSable’s partnership with the Smithsonian will now offer UChicago students unique access to various Smithsonian resources.
“This alliance is great not only for the DuSable museum but for the entire city of Chicago as well,” Irmer said. “We are proud to be joining the ranks of the affiliates program.”