Smithsonian Under Secretary and Author Richard Kurin to Speak at Norwich University

Norwich University Office of Communications

September 15, 2015

Norwich University will host distinguished cultural anthropologist and author Richard Kurin, the Smithsonian Institution’s Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture for a presentation and book signing on Friday, October 2, at 1:00 p.m. in Dole Auditorium.

The presentation will be live-streamed here.

Kurin will talk about American history as seen through some of the nation’s most iconic objects, as presented in his most recent book, “The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects.” The book offers a lively tour of American history as told through 101 key objects drawn from various Smithsonian Institution museum collections. Artifacts include President Abraham Lincoln’s top hat, the ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland’s character Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” and the iconic kitchen of renowned chef and TV personality Julia Child.

Free and open to the public, the event is co-hosted by Norwich University’s Sullivan Museum and History Center and the Friends of the Krietzberg Library. The museum became a Smithsonian Affiliate last year, making it the first and only such institution in Vermont.

Aided by top Smithsonian curators and scholars, Kurin’s book illuminates the often-surprising backstories and cultural import of objects ranging from pre-Colombian times to the American Revolution, Vietnam and the digital age.

At the Smithsonian, Kurin is responsible for most of the Institution’s museums, several research and outreach programs, and numerous other programs. He has served on the U.S. Commission for UNESCO, been honored for his contributions to American folklore, and this year was elected as a fellow to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Norwich is proud that Kurin’s talk will serve as the kick off to the 20th Anniversary of the Smithsonian Affiliations program.  The Sullivan Museum and History Center was named Vermont’s first Smithsonian Affiliate in April 2014. The Affiliations program is designed to facilitate a two-way relationship among Affiliates and the Smithsonian to increase discovery and inspire lifelong learning in communities across America. More than 8,000 Smithsonian artifacts have been displayed at Affiliate locations. These loans reflect the entire Smithsonian collection and allow people across the country to experience the Smithsonian in their neighborhood.

The partnership enables Sullivan Museum staff to draw upon national collections at 19 Smithsonian museums that are pertinent to the history of Norwich University, Vermont and the story of the university’s contributions to American history and the nation’s development. In addition, the Sullivan Museum and History Center is able to share its collections with over 200 Smithsonian Affiliates across the nation.

Many Smithsonian Affiliates offer reciprocal museum membership and host exhibitions from other members. Educational opportunities include specialty subject speakers, visiting scholars and unique programming from the Smithsonian Institution at the Sullivan Museum and History Center.

The Sullivan Museum and History Center is located on the Northfield campus of Norwich University. It is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the academic year. Admission is free. For more information call 802.485.2183 or visit the museum’s website or Facebook page.

About Norwich

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

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Media Contact:

Daphne Larkin
Assistant Director of Communications
(802) 485-2886; (m) 595-3613
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