G. Wayne  Clough-Things New and Strange: A Southerner's Journey Through the Smithsonian

G. Wayne Clough

Bio

G. Wayne Clough is secretary emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution. Clough, who currently lives in Atlanta, directed the Smithsonian from 2008 to 2014 and was president of the Georgia Institute of Technology from 1994 to 2008.

Sessions

Things New and Strange: A Southerner's Journey Through the Smithsonian Collections

Things New and Strange chronicles a research quest undertaken by G. Wayne Clough, the first secretary of the Smithsonian Institution born in the South. Soon after retiring from the Smithsonian, Clough decided to see what the Smithsonian collections could tell him about South Georgia, where he had spent most of his childhood in the 1940s and 1950s. The investigations that followed, which began as something of a quixotic scavenger hunt, expanded as Clough discovered that the collections had many more objects and documents from South Georgia than he had imagined. These objects illustrate important aspects of southern culture and history and also inspire reflections about how South Georgia has changed over time. Clough’s discoveries—animal, plant, fossil, and rock specimens, along with cultural artifacts and works of art—not only serve as a springboard for reflections about the region and its history, they also bring Clough’s own memories of his boyhood in Douglas, Georgia, back to life. Clough interweaves memories of his own experiences, such as hair-raising escapes from poisonous snakes and selling boiled peanuts for a nickel a bag at the annual auction of the tobacco crop, with anecdotes from family lore, which launches an exploration of his forebears and their place in South Georgia history. In following his engaging and personal narrative, we learn how nonspecialists can use museum archives and how family, community, and natural history are intertwined.

Interviewer: Doug Shipman

Doug Shipman is president and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center, home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the High Museum of Art. Mr. Shipman became the Arts Center CEO in July 2017, after serving as CEO and managing director of BrightHouse, a stand-alone business unit of the Boston Consulting Group. Prior to that role, Mr. Shipman was the founding CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. Starting from the ground up, he developed the Center’s business strategy, its fundraising strategy, and its public engagement plan that led the $100 million museum to become a reality. From 2001 until 2007, Mr. Shipman was a principal with the Boston Consulting Group at its offices in New York, Atlanta, and Mumbai. Mr. Shipman is a magna cum laude graduate of Emory University, with B.A. degrees in Economics and Political Science. He received a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a Master of Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Mr. Shipman is a member of the Board of Trustees of The Carter Center and a member of the Board of Directors of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the Midtown Alliance, the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. He has been named one of Atlanta’s 100 Most influential by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and one of Georgia’s 100 Most influential by Georgia Trend Magazine.

  • Decatur Library presented by WABE
  • Sat 3:00-3:45p Library

Things New and Strange: A Southerner's Journey Through the Smithsonian

Things New and Strange chronicles a research quest undertaken by G. Wayne Clough, the first secretary of the Smithsonian Institution born in the South. Soon after retiring from the Smithsonian, Clough decided to see what the Smithsonian collections could tell him about South Georgia, where he had spent most of his childhood in the 1940s and 1950s. The investigations that followed, which began as something of a quixotic scavenger hunt, expanded as Clough discovered that the collections had many more objects and documents from South Georgia than he had imagined. Clough interweaves memories of his own experiences, such as hair-raising escapes from poisonous snakes and selling boiled peanuts for a nickel a bag at the annual auction of the tobacco crop, with anecdotes from family lore, which launches an exploration of his forebears and their place in South Georgia history.

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