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Visitors from the Land Down Under!

Posted on Mar 5, 2018 by in The OFI Blog |

Smithsonian Deputy Undersecretary for Collections and Interdisciplinary Support Scott Miller (left) and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (right) renew the MOU.

The state of Queensland, Australia and the Smithsonian share fundamental interests in the advancement of research, the dissemination of knowledge, and the promotion of social and cultural development. These common interests have facilitated a successful partnership between the Smithsonian and Queensland since 2000. The partnership supports fellows from Queensland’s research, education and cultural sectors to visit a Smithsonian Institution facility in the United States to conduct independent research or study. Fellowships are awarded for a diverse range of projects, including those in the natural sciences, social sciences, the arts, education or museum management.

This partnership has been extremely successful.  It was renewed in 2011 and 2015 to ensure that more Fellows are given the opportunity to conduct research at the Smithsonian. During the 18 year partnership, at least 35 Fellows from Queensland, Australia have traveled to the Smithsonian to work on various research projects.

During a recent visit in the United States, the Smithsonian was honored when Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk visited the National Museum of American History (NMAH) on Friday 2/23/18 to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation (MOU) to renew this partnership for a third time! Prior to signing the document, the Queensland Delegation and Smithsonian staff discussed new partnership opportunities. Both groups are excited to continue growing the partnership. After the discussion, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, and Smithsonian Deputy Undersecretary for Collections and Interdisciplinary Support Scott Miller sat down to renew the MOU between The Smithsonian Institution and The State of Queensland Australia.

Hal Wallace, Curator of the Electricity Collections NMAH (left) gives a tour to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (right)

After the signing, the Premier was taken on a tour of the Lighting a Revolution Exhibit by Hal Wallace, curator of the electricity collections for NMAH. This exhibit has special significance to the Queensland Delegation because excavators in Brisbane have recently unearthed 134 year-old electrical cables designed by inventor Thomas Edison. These cables were apart of the first electric infrastructure in the southern hemisphere.  The Queensland delegation was also taken on a tour of the Lemelson Center for Invention and Innovation by the center’s Senior Historian Joyce Bedi. Finally, the Premier visited the 200 year-old Star Spangled Banner flag that inspired the lyrics to the United States National Anthem.

NMAH Senior Historian Joyce Bedi (left) and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (right) tour the Lemelson Hall of Invention and Innovation

Overall, the morning was extremely successful and the Smithsonian is excited to continue their partnership with the State of Queensland!