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Darren Milligan

Acting Director
Smithsonian Office of Educational Technology, Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Staff

Hi! I am the Acting Director for the Smithsonian's Office of Educational Technology, the team that built and manages the Smithsonian Learning Lab. I research and develop services for making online museum assets accessible and useful to educators and learners, including producing experiences such as online games and interactives, managing pan-Institutional social media initiatives for teachers, and directing web platforms, including the online portal for educational resources at the Institution, SmithsonianEducation.org and the Smithsonian Learning Lab. Prior to my time at the Smithsonian, I developed citizen-science programs and online mentoring communities at the Purple Martin Conservation Association.

Me on Twitter: @darrenmilligan

Darren Milligan's collections

 

Forgotten Relevance

Darren Milligan
22
 

Mary Vaux Walcott, Artist

<p>"Sometimes I feel that I can hardly wait till the time comes to escape from city life, to the free air of the everlasting hills." -Mary Vaux Walcott, Letters to Charles Walcott, Feb 19, 1912.</p> <p>This collection contains personal selections from the nearly <a href="https://learninglab.si.edu/search?st=Mary%20Vaux%20Walcott,%20born%20Philadelphia,%20PA%201860-died%20St.%20Andrews,%20New%20Brunswick,%20Canada%201940">800 botanical illustrations by Mary Walcott</a> held at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, but <a href="https://learninglab.si.edu/openaccess">available in the public domain to use by anyone, using CC0</a>. </p> <p><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Vaux_Walcott" target="_blank">From Wikipedia (March 5, 2019)</a>: Mary Morris Vaux[a] was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to a wealthy Quaker family. After graduating from the Friends Select School in Philadelphia in 1879, she took an interest in watercolor painting. When she was not working on the family farm, she began painting illustrations of wildflowers that she saw on family trips to the Rocky Mountains of Canada.[3] During the family summer trips, she and her brothers studied mineralogy and recorded the flow of glaciers in drawings and photographs.[4] The trips to the Canadian Rockies sparked her interest in geology.[3]</p> <p>In 1880, at the age of nineteen, Vaux took on the responsibility of caring for her father and two younger brothers when her mother died.[5] After 1887, she and her brothers went back to western Canada almost every summer. During this time she became an active mountain climber, outdoors woman, and photographer. Asked one summer to paint a rare blooming arnica by a botanist, she was encouraged to concentrate on botanical illustration.[4] She spent many years exploring the rugged terrain of the Canadian Rockies to find important flowering species to paint. On these trips, Vaux became the first women to accomplish the over 10,000 feet ascent of Mount Stephen.[6] In 1887, on her first transcontinental trip via rail, she wrote an engaging travel journal of the family's four-month trek through the American West and the Canadian Rockies.[7]</p> <p>Over her father's fierce objections, Mary Vaux married the paleontologist Charles Doolittle Walcott, who was the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, in 1914, when she was 54. She played an active part in her husband's projects, returning to the Rockies with him several times and continuing to paint wildflowers. In 1925, the Smithsonian published some 400 of her illustrations, accompanied by brief descriptions, in a five-volume work entitled North American Wild Flowers. In Washington, Mary became a close friend of First Lady Lou Henry Hoover[5] and raised money to erect the Florida Avenue Meeting House, so that the first Quaker President and his wife would have a proper place to worship. From 1927 to 1932, Mary Vaux Walcott served on the federal Board of Indian Commissioners and, driven by her chauffeur, traveled extensively throughout the American West, diligently visiting reservations.</p> <p>When she was 75, she made her first trip abroad to Japan to visit lifelong friend and fellow Philadelphia Quaker, Mary Elkington Nitobe, who had married Japanese diplomat Inazo Nitobe.</p> <p>She was elected president of the Society of Woman Geographers in 1933. In 1935, the Smithsonian published Illustrations of North American Pitcher-Plants, which included 15 paintings by Walcott. Following the death of her husband in 1927, Walcott established the Charles Doolittle Walcott Medal in his honor. It is awarded for scientific work on pre-Cambrian and Cambrian life and history. Walcott died in St. Andrews, New Brunswick.[3]</p> <p>#fivewomenartists #5womenartists #BecauseOfHerStory</p> <p></p>
Darren Milligan
45
 

Pigs!

<p>Some of my favorite pigs, hogs, and boars from across the Smithsonian collection. </p>
Darren Milligan
57
 

Beautiful Botanicals

<p>This collection represents some of my personal favorites from the digitization project at the <a href="http://botany.si.edu/">United States National Herbarium</a>, at the National Museum of Natural History. This project's goal is <a href="http://nmnh.typepad.com/the_plant_press/2016/05/specimen-digitization-update.html">to digitize the 4.5 million specimens</a> held in the collection. </p> <p>There are hundred of thousands (at the time of publishing) botany specimens available here in the Learning Lab. <a href="https://learninglab.si.edu/search?page=1&st=botany&f%5Bdata_source%5D%5B0%5D=NMNH+-+Botany+Dept.">Find your own favorites using this search.</a></p> <p>Technical descriptions of the project can be found in a series of articles from the Smithsonian's Digitization Program Office:<br></p> <p><a href="https://dpo.si.edu/blog/dpo-mass-digitization-smithsonian-physical-workflow-0">DPO Mass Digitization at the Smithsonian: Physical Workflow<br></a><a href="https://dpo.si.edu/blog/dpo-mass-digitization-smithsonian-imaging-workflow-part-1">D</a><a href="https://dpo.si.edu/blog/dpo-mass-digitization-smithsonian-imaging-workflow-part-1">PO Mass Digitization at the Smithsonian: Imaging Workflow (Part 1)<br></a><a href="http://dpo.si.edu/blog/dpo-mass-digitization-smithsonian-imaging-workflow-part-2">DPO Mass Digitization at the Smithsonian Imaging Workflow (Part 2)</a></p> <p>Keywords: plant, ferns, algae, flower, moss, stem, green, yellow, red, natural, color, growing</p>
Darren Milligan
90
 

The Simpsons

Darren Milligan
8
 

My Smithsonian Closet

<p>You could be exceptionally well-dressed if the Smithsonian were your closet. For instructions and inspiration on making your own Smithsonian Closet, check out: <a href="https://learninglab.si.edu/collections/getting-to-know-you-icebreaker-ideas-with-the-smithsonian-learning-lab/iAJBJX7o7hsW2tzx">Getting to Know You: Icebreaker Ideas with the Smithsonian Learning Lab</a> and <a href="https://learninglab.si.edu/news/my-smithsonian-closet-exploring-research-strategies">My Smithsonian Closet: Exploring Research Strategies</a>.</p><p><br></p><p>#MySmithsonianCloset</p>
Darren Milligan
30
 

In the Classroom

<p>Images of teachers, students, classrooms, classroom furniture, desks, lunchboxes, and learning</p>
Darren Milligan
43
 

Valentine's Day

Images of love and romance from the Smithsonian collections, including many historic Valentine's Day greeting cards.
Darren Milligan
46
 

Monkeys!

A collection of some of my favorite monkeys from the Smithsonian collections, built just in time for the 2016 Chinese or Lunar New Year.
Darren Milligan
15