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Announcing The Rockwell Museum as a Smithsonian Affiliate

The Rockwell Museum announced today the prestigious designation of becoming a Smithsonian Affiliate – one of only 206 nationwide.

The Rockwell will now be the Upstate NY conduit to the Smithsonian and its many resources. In turn, Smithsonian patrons will gain greater access to The Rockwell’s collections and programs.This new status makes The Rockwell Museum one of only 206 Smithsonian Affiliates nationwide, and, at present, the only such organization in Upstate NY. 

The announcement is the cherry on top of The Rockwell’s bigger plans in 2016 – in celebration of the 40th anniversary, visitors to The Rockwell will find a top-to-bottom transformation. For the first time in 15 years and timed to coincide with a milestone year, The Rockwell announced plans today of a comprehensive re-installation project of re-imagined galleries, a new visitor check-in area, a revitalized museum store and a new introductory gallery that explains museum origins.  This project is an outcome of a strategic shift in focus, endorsed by the museum’s Board of Trustees, to place the core collections of Western and Native American art into the broader interpretive context of American art.  

Rockwell-SA-Print-rgb“We are delighted to start this new Affiliate relationship with The Rockwell Museum.  For nearly 40 years, The Rockwell Museum has been serving the greater Corning community with art exhibitions and public programs that educate, engage, and inspire.  By joining forces we hope to bring complimentary collections from the Smithsonian to the local community, develop innovative practices for supporting teachers and reaching students, and shed greater light on the sources of human creativity.  There is so much that we can learn from each other,” said Harold A. Closter, Director of Smithsonian Affiliations. 

“This is truly an honor, and represents a tremendous opportunity for The Rockwell Museum,” said Rockwell Museum Executive Director, Kristin Swain. “We look forward to partnering with Smithsonian Affiliations to share The Rockwell’s collections with the nation, as well as to enhance our ongoing collaborative educational and exhibition programs.” 

As The Rockwell Museum moves into its 40th year in 2016, this designation comes at a time of transition.  Advancing a mission of ‘art about the American experience’ is a shared goal of both The Rockwell Museum and the Smithsonian Affiliations.  Together, The Rockwell and the Smithsonian Institution are positioned to exhibit works that depict American culture and document our country’s evolving American experience. 


Smithsonian Affiliations, established in 1996, is designed to facilitate a two-way relationship among Smithsonian Affiliates and the Smithsonian to increase discovery and inspire lifelong learning in communities across America. The program establishes long-term relationships with museums and education and cultural organizations to facilitate the loan of Smithsonian artifacts and traveling exhibitions, as well as develop innovative educational collaborations locally and nationally. 

There are 206 Smithsonian Affiliates in 46 states, Puerto Rico, and Panama. Affiliates represent the diversity of America’s museum community – size, location and subject – and serve all audiences. More than 8,000 Smithsonian artifacts have been displayed at Affiliate locations. These loans reflect the entire Smithsonian collection: space capsules and aircraft from the National Air and Space Museum, Abraham Lincoln’s top hat and Kermit the Frog from the National Museum of American History, sculptures and paintings from the Smithsonian art museums and ethnographic and mineral collections from the National Museum of Natural History, to name a few.