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  • Smithsonian’s First Ambassador-at-Large will Talk on Top U.S. Inventions at Peoria Riverfront Museum

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    April 26, 2019
    Event: “The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects,” presentation featuring author Dr. Richard Kurin, Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large
    Date & Time: Thursday, May 2, 7 p.m.
    Location: Giant Screen Theater · Peoria Riverfront Museum · 222 S.W. Washington St. · Peoria, Ill.
    Cost: Free for museum members and students, free with ID for educators and journalists; $8 public

    PEORIA, Ill. – Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large, Richard Kurin, Ph.D., the first person so designated in the 171-year history of the Institution, will present “The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects,” Thurs., May 2, 7 p.m. at the Peoria Riverfront Museum’s Giant Screen Theater.

    Game-changing U.S. inventions and objects are the topic of the multi-media presentation, which is based on the book “The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects,” researched and authored by Kurin who was assisted by a team of top Smithsonian curators and scholars. The book is a “literary exhibition” of 101 objects curated by Smithsonian's museums – from Abraham Lincoln's hat and Harriet Tubman’s hymnal to Dorothy's ruby slippers, Julia Child's kitchen and NASA’s space shuttle Discovery – that together offer a new perspective on the history of the U.S. and ingenuity of its people.

    A book signing with Kurin will follow in the lobby. The presentation is part of the museum’s “Year of Invention” programming.

    “The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects,” is free for museum members and students and free with ID for educators and journalists; it costs $8 each for members of the general public. Students, educators and journalists who wish to attend the lecture should sign in at the museum’s front desk or call 309.686.7000 to be added to the reservation list. Seating is limited. For more information about the museum or the event, call 309.686.7000 or visit RiverfrontMuseum.org.

    Richard Kurin, Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large
    Richard Kurin, Ph.D., is the Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large, the first person so designated in the 171-year history of the Institution. As a member of the Smithsonian’s senior leadership team, Kurin focuses on strategic direction, institutional partnerships, public representation, philanthropic support and special initiatives. Kurin served as Acting Provost and Under Secretary for Museums and Research from 2015, and from 2007, as Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture. For 20 years prior, he directed the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and the Grammy-winning Smithsonian Folkways Recording and produced major national celebration events associated with the opening of museums and monuments, presidential inaugurals and the Atlanta Olympics. Kurin served on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and helped draft an international treaty, now ratified by 170 nations, to safeguard living cultural heritage. He serves as Smithsonian liaison to the U.S. President’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities and the White House Historical Association, and is a member of the U.S. Department of State Cultural Heritage Coordinating Committee. He is an anthropologist with a doctorate from the University of Chicago. He has held Fulbright and Social Science Research Council fellowships, taught at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and authored six books, including “Hope Diamond: The Legendary History of a Cursed Gem “ and the best-selling “Smithsonian’s History of America 101 Objects.” He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences.

    Peoria Riverfront Museum
    The only multidisciplinary museum of its kind in the nation, the Peoria Riverfront Museum uses art, science, history and achievement to inspire confidence, lifelong learning, and talent. Since opening in 2012, the privately funded museum has provided more than one million experiences through major exhibitions, a permanent collection, interactive galleries, a dome planetarium, giant screen theater and educational programming including curricula-related student visits. The AAM-accredited, Smithsonian-affiliated private nonprofit museum is supported by more than 4,000 members and donors, and is housed in a county-owned LEED Gold-certified building on a campus overlooking the Illinois River. The museum has been designated one of the 200 great places in Illinois by the American Institute of Architects.

    CONTACT: Cathie Neumiller, VP Marketing & Communications, Peoria Riverfront Museum
    309.863.3006 | cneumiller@peoriariverfrontmuseum.org
    Cathie Neumiller, VP of Marketing and Communications
    (309) 863-3006