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January 12, 2010

News Article: UTSA Today

By James Benavides
Public Affairs Specialist

(Jan. 11, 2010)--The Institute of Texan Cultures has been accepted into the Smithsonian Affiliations program and will formalize the agreement at a signing ceremony at 10 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 28. As a Smithsonian Affiliate, the Institute of Texan Cultures will receive access to artifacts, education and performing arts programs, expert speakers and teacher workshops, along with resources to complement and broaden exhibitions.

UTSA President Ricardo Romo and Institute of Texan Cultures Executive Director Tim Gette, along with Harold A. Closter, director of Smithsonian Affiliations, will address Smithsonian officials, local civic leaders, UTSA personnel and friends of the institute at the ceremony.

"The Smithsonian has a long and proud relationship with the ITC, going back to 1972 during the first Texas Folklife Festival and continuing right up to the present," said Closter. "We are confident that the affiliate relationship will enhance the work that both of our organizations are doing to understand, interpret and display the wonderful and diverse traditions of the American people."

"The Smithsonian Institution is synonymous with world-class teaching and learning through its exhibits, programs and outreach, and it is an honor to be included in the company of this national treasure," said Romo.

The Smithsonian Affiliations program shares the rich knowledge of the Smithsonian Institution with a broader audience, adhering to the Smithsonian's highest aesthetic, intellectual and professional standards. The program aspires to create experiences and opportunities to broaden perspectives on science, history, world cultures and the arts -- goals that are directly compatible with the mission of UTSA and the Institute of Texan Cultures as outlined in the university's "UTSA 2016: A Shared Vision" strategic plan.

"It is a great privilege to enter into this affiliation," said Gette. "I had the good fortune of establishing Smithsonian Affiliations at the Virginia Museum of Natural History and the Dallas Museum of Natural History, and the partnership impacted both museums in a very positive way. Now, we at the institute are honored to have this opportunity to bring some of the greatest treasures and knowledge of our nation to Texas."

"As UTSA moves toward becoming a national research university, this affiliation helps propel the Institute of Texan Cultures onto the national stage as well," said Romo. "With the opportunity to host traveling Smithsonian exhibits, the institute will make the rich Smithsonian cultural experience available to many people who otherwise may never have the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C."

The signing ceremony will be the first event in a day of activities at the institute. At 2 p.m., there will be a United States Immigration and Naturalization Services Naturalization Ceremony. Later in the evening, the institute will celebrate the opening of its new traveling exhibits gallery. The first exhibit in this new area, "RACE: Are We So Different?" created by the Science Museum of Minnesota, in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association, explores the science, history and everyday experience of race perceptions.

The Smithsonian partnership allows the institute an opportunity to offer members a Smithsonian membership -- two memberships in one. Benefits include a one-year subscription to Smithsonian magazine, discounts at the Smithsonian and ITC museum stores, unlimited general admission at the ITC for two adults and children living in the household, invitations to members-only ITC events, discounts on Asian Festival and Texas Folklife Festival tickets, and more.

The Institute of Texan Cultures is on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, 801 E. Durango Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m., Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults (ages 12-64); $7 for seniors (ages 65+); $6 for children (ages 3-11); free with membership, UTSA or Alamo Colleges identification.

For more information, call 210-458-2300 or visit the Institute of Texan Cultures Web site.

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