Distinguished scholars from the Smithsonian Institution visited students at 17 local schools March 4 to 10. The second annual Smithsonian Week in Long Beach featured visits by percussionist and composer Anthony Brown, marine biologist and giant squid expert Clyde Roper, and National Postal Museum Director Jim Bruns.
Long Beach and its schools are the only ones in the nation to hold the event in cooperation with the Smithsonian. Schools visited by the scholars include Barton, Buffum, Constellation, Fremont, Harte, Hill, Hoover, Hughes, Jefferson, Jordan, Kettering, Lakewood, Lowell, Marshall, Muir, Naples and Poly.
Brown, the jazz musician, performed a salute to Duke Ellington on Thursday, March 8 at Club Cohiba, with the help of his Asian-American Orchestra and the award-winning Poly High Jazz Ensemble.
Bruns, a Pony Express Scholar, delivered the mail from Long Beach to downtown Los Angeles by horse on Monday, March 5. He carried one of the actual letters carried by the Pony Express from Missouri to California in 1860.
Roper, who is curator of the Smithsonian's "In Search of the Giant Squid" exhibit, hosted a Giant Squid Party on Friday, March 9 at the Aquarium. He shared tales of his search for the elusive sea monster. The event recreated the fight scene from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea using giant puppets.
The three scholars also offered free, evening presentations to the public at various public library locations.
The Smithsonian, established in 1846, includes 16 museums and galleries, the National Zoo and numerous research facilities. Long Beach's Public Corporation for the Arts entered a 10-year agreement with the Smithsonian in 1997 to become the only city in America with the Smithsonian program affiliation.