Go behind-the-scenes for an insider's look at iconic Smithsonian artifacts, beloved American treasures, and state-of-the-art research facilities on this exclusive tour led by top curators and collections managers.
WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY
An eye opening look at aspects of the Smithsonian that we forget about-or never knew. The range of the Institution's research is astounding!”
We thoroughly enjoyed Celebrate Smithsonian and look forward to joining a Smithsonian Journeys trip in the future. We thought the program, Smithsonian representatives, and fellow participants were all top notch.”
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Kevin Gover is the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and a citizen of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. Since he began as director in 2007, the museum has opened four critically acclaimed exhibitions: “Fritz Scholder: Indian/Not Indian,” an exhibition that opened concurrently in Washington, D.C., and New York in 2008, the largest retrospective ever of the seminal 20th-century modern painter and sculptor; in October 2009, the museum opened its first solo exhibition of a living artist, “Brian Jungen: Strange Comfort,” a major exhibition of the prominent Canadian artist (Dunne-za First Nations/Swiss-Canadian); the museum’s George Gustav Heye Center in New York opened “Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian,” a permanent exhibition of 700 works in October 2010; “A Song for the Horse Nation” opened in October 2011 and featured objects presenting the epic story of the horse’s influence on America Indian tribes. The museum’s Collections Search was launched online to provide digital access to the museum’s objects and photographs and, most recently, the museum opened the imagiNATIONS Activity Center providing a dynamic space for young visitors. Director Gover served as the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior from 1997 to 2000 under President Bill Clinton where he won praise for his efforts to rebuild long-neglected Indian schools and expand tribal and Bureau of Indian Affairs police forces throughout the country. His tenure as Assistant Secretary is perhaps best-known for his apology to Native American people for the historical conduct of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. After leaving office in 2000, Director Gover practiced law at Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Washington. In 2003, he joined the faculty at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and served on the faculty of the university’s Indian Legal Program, one of the largest such programs in the country. His legal career began in 1983 at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Kampelman in Washington, and in 1986, he founded Gover, Stetson & Williams in Albuquerque, N.M. His practice areas included federal Indian law, commercial transactions, environmental and administrative law, and legislative affairs. In addition to his professional work, Gover has served on several boards and committees, including the Federal Bar Association and the American Bar Association, the Southwestern Association for Indian Art, Futures for Children, the Grand Canyon Trust, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas and the Salt River Development Co., an enterprise of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Director Gover received his bachelor’s degree in public and international affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and his juris doctor degree from New Mexico’s College of Law. He was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Princeton in 2001.
Dr. Richard Kurin serves as the Smithsonian Institutions Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture with responsibility for most of its museums including the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Freer and Sackler Galleries, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the Anacostia Community Museum, the National Museum of African Art, the National Postal Museum, and others including the soon to be built National Museum of African American History and Culture. He also oversees research and outreach programs, including the Smithsonians Traveling Exhibition Service, The Smithsonian Associates, the Smithsonian Channel, and the Smithsonian Affiliatesa network of 168 museums across the U.S.
A former Fulbright-Hays fellow who has conducted most of his research in India and Pakistan, Kurin earned his Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Chicago, and taught at The Johns Hopkins University Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. He is the author of Hope Diamond: The Legendary History of a Cursed Gem, and Reflections of a Cultural Broker: A View from the Smithsonian, as well as numerous other books and scholarly articles. He served on the U.S. Commission for UNESCO, has been the keynote speaker for the International Council of Museums, and delivered the founders lecture for Harvard University's Peabody Museum.
He first worked for the Smithsonian in 1976 for the Bicentennial of the U.S. For decades he directed the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, responsible for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival held every summer on the National Mall, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and other cultural programs and products that have won Grammy, Emmy, Academy, and Webby awards. He's worked with all sorts of cultural figures, from Pete Seeger, Yo-Yo Ma, Mickey Hart, and Bernice Johnson Reagon to the Aga Khan and the Dali Lama. He helped draft an international treaty on safeguarding the worlds living cultural heritage now ratified by over 100 nations. He has produced major events for the Atlanta Olympics, the Smithsonian's 150th anniversary, the opening of the World War II Memorial, the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian, and programs for numerous presidential inaugurals, including that of President Obama. He represents the Smithsonian on the Presidents Committee for the Arts and Humanities, the White House Historical Association and numerous other boards. Currently he is developing a major international museum professional training initiative and also leading U.S. efforts to help Haiti rescue and recover its cultural heritage damaged and endangered in the devastating January earthquake.
Rick Wunderman is a geologist in the Division of Mineral Sciences at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. He has collaborated on peer-reviewed publications focusing on many active volcanoes and collapsed calderas around the world including Amatitlán in Guatemala. He has also been actively monitoring volcanic gases at Mount St. Helens, and studying aviation hazards caused by volcanic ash and ash plumes. Dr. Wunderman is a contributor to the Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program (GVP) , which is devoted to understanding of Earth's active volcanoes and their eruptions during the last 10,000 years. The GVP also provides a weekly Volcanic Activity Report, a cooperative project between the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program. Dr. Wunderman is a member of the Academy of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences at Michigan Technological University, where he received his Ph.D.