Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation Becomes a Smithsonian Affiliate

The Smithsonian Institution has selected the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation to join its network of Smithsonian Affiliates. As a Smithsonian Affiliate, the Foundation will have the opportunity to collaborate on unique educational programs and workshops, participate in professional development, co-develop youth programs, host traveling exhibitions, and other opportunities offered in collaboration with the Smithsonian.

The decision makes the Foundation only the second Wyoming museum to become a Smithsonian Affiliate. It joins the Buffalo Bill Center of the West of Cody, Wyoming, on the list of more than 200 Smithsonian Affiliates in nearly every state, plus Puerto Rico and Panama.

“The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation is dedicated to telling an important part of our nation’s history,” said Myriam Springuel, Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service | Smithsonian Affiliations director. “With a mission that so thoroughly matches the work of the Smithsonian, we are honored to welcome the Foundation into the Smithsonian Affiliate family and look forward to working together to share these important stories with audiences around the world.”

HMWF joins the Affiliate network at a critical time. The Foundation will have the grand opening of its new Mineta-Simpson Institute during its annual Pilgrimage on July 25-27, 2024. 

“The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation is thrilled and honored to become a Smithsonian Affiliate,” said Shirley Ann Higuchi, chair of the Heart Mountain board. “Our world-class museum has attracted interest, both nationally and internationally, signifying the impact of the power of place. With our new Mineta-Simpson Institute opening this summer, we will enhance our ability to educate the public and continue to tell our incarceration story. We hope that our museum and campus will inspire this country to learn more about what happened at this site in 1942.”

The Mineta-Simpson Institute will have a permanent exhibit dedicated to celebrating the careers of Secretary Norman Mineta and Senator Alan Simpson, who first met as Boy Scouts behind the barbed wire at Heart Mountain in 1943. The Institute will also host educational programs and conferences aimed at promoting bipartisan cooperation and problem solving.

“While anchored in a dark history, our new Mineta-Simpson Institute at Heart Mountain is an animated and invigorating space,” said Executive Director Aura Sunada Newlin. “Our emphasis on civic discourse around core democratic values offers a fresh contribution to the Smithsonian’s aims of awaking curiosity and spurring public engagement.”

About Smithsonian Affiliations:

Smithsonian Affiliations establishes and maintains the Smithsonian’s long-term relationships with museums, educational organizations, and cultural institutions in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Panama. Affiliates are collaborators on many of the Smithsonian’s strategic priorities, adding content and expertise to national initiatives to amplify the power of the stories we tell and reach broader and more diverse audiences. Through Smithsonian Affiliations, millions of people have been able to experience the Smithsonian in their communities and have access to the Smithsonian’s educational programs, inspiring exhibitions, and diverse collections. For more information regarding Smithsonian Affiliations, or to find an Affiliate near you, visit affiliations.si.edu.