The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library (NCSML) has been designated a Smithsonian Affiliate, joining a national network of museums, educational institutions and cultural organizations in sharing the resources of the Smithsonian Institution.

“This affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution is a significant recognition for our museum and library. It recognizes our excellence in programs, exhibits, educational activities and in cultural and historic preservation,” said NCSML President and CEO Cecilia Rokusek. “I am so incredibly proud of our museum and library staff, our Board of Trustees and our greater Cedar Rapids community. They all have played key roles in helping this institution achieve a high point in both national and international recognition.

“This affiliation will enable us to work closely with the Smithsonian in securing additional programs, exhibits and professionals from the Smithsonian to collaborate with our NCSML staff,” Rokusek added. “In addition, there will be benefits for our members, who will have the opportunity to have joint memberships in the NCSML and the Smithsonian.”

The NCSML will celebrate its new Smithsonian Affiliate designation on Saturday, Feb. 9, in conjunction with the public opening of its new original exhibition, Revolution 1989. After a 9:30 a.m. reception with coffee and refreshments, a representative from the Smithsonian will talk about how the Smithsonian Affiliations program benefits its member organizations, their members and constituents, the communities they serve and the Smithsonian itself.

The Revolution 1989 exhibit marks the 30th anniversary of 1989’s Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, and it tells the story using film footage, eyewitness accounts, music and an array of artifacts. The exhibit will explore the year 1989 as communist regimes worldwide experienced major unrest.

There are more than 200 Smithsonian Affiliates in nearly every state, Puerto Rico and Panama, representing the diversity of America’s museum community in size, location and subject matter. Through its Affiliate partners, the Smithsonian is able to reach audiences that cannot be easily accessed without the benefit of these partnerships.

“We are proud to partner with the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, an organization dedicated to telling an important part of our nation’s history,” said Myriam Springuel, director of Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and Smithsonian Affiliations. “With a mission that so thoroughly matches the work of the Smithsonian, we are honored to welcome the NCSML into the Smithsonian Affiliate family, and we look forward to working together to share the inspiring stories of its community and our nation.”

Created in 1996, Smithsonian Affiliations is a national outreach program that develops long-term collaborative partnerships that share Smithsonian collections, build collaborative networks and engage learners of all ages with Smithsonian resources. A dedicated team works with Affiliate partners on a range of projects, including identifying and borrowing artifacts from the Smithsonian’s vast collections, identifying traveling exhibitions, and featuring scholars and educators in public programs.

Affiliates have the exclusive right to use a special Smithsonian logo, and to offer a two-in-one membership that provides a range of Smithsonian benefits to Affiliate members. Affiliates can also take advantage of professional development opportunities and special grant-funded projects with the Smithsonian. In the affiliation partnership, the Smithsonian also looks to Affiliates to explore and leverage their expertise. Together, Affiliates and the Smithsonian collaborate to create life-long learning experiences designed to educate and inspire.

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