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Press Room


Catlin Web Site and Book Win Awards

Media only:
Laura Baptiste (202) 275-1595
Amy Mannarino (202) 275-1592
Web site:

"Campfire Stories with George Catlin: An Encounter of Two Cultures," a Web site created by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, has won two distinguished awards. The site is the American Association of Museums 2003 Gold Medal Winner of the MUSE Award. It also was named the Best Educational Web Site for 2003 by Museums and the Web. At the 2003 South by Southwest Interactive Festival, the Web site was a finalist in the educational resource category. The site's address is

"We are very proud to be recognized by such prestigious organizations," said Elizabeth Broun, the Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. "The Catlin Web site continues the Smithsonian American Art Museum's long tradition of creating educational tools and our national commitment to online learning."

This richly layered site includes virtual campfire discussions moderated by naturalist and writer Peter Matthiessen; commentary from Native American writers and leaders such as Wilma Mankiller, William Least Heat-Moon and W. Richard West; and primary source materials including George Catlin's journal. Resources include more than 450 Catlin paintings, a digitized version of one of Catlin's sketchbooks and various photographs and maps. Site content was developed to meet national curriculum teaching standards in history, geography, visual arts, English language arts and science for grades 5–12.

The MUSE Award judges comments included, "Across the board, this is an excellent application of technology in the context of art interpretation and education," while the Museum and the Web judges stated, "The interactive component, which plays a major role in any educational process, seems here to be at its highest development."

The museum has also been commended for the publication, George Catlin and His Indian Gallery, which won a first place prize at the 2003 Annual Book Design & Effectiveness Competition Awards sponsored by The Washington Book Publishers. Judges selected winners from 160 submissions by Washington, D.C.-area publishers.

The book, co-published with W.W. Norton & Co., includes 120 color plates with extended captions by Joan Troccoli; essays by Brian Dippie, Christopher Mulvey and Therese Heyman; an introduction by W. Richard West, director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian; and a preface by Elizabeth Broun. It retails for $34.95 (softcover) and $60 (hardcover); museum members receive a 20 percent discount. The book is available for purchase at the Renwick Gallery Museum Store, as well as on the museum's Web site and at bookstores nationwide.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum collection began with gifts of art donated to the federal government in 1829 and has evolved into the world's most important American art holdings with approximately 40,000 artworks in all media spanning more than three centuries.

While the renovation of the museum's historic building continues, American Art offers a full program of exhibitions at its Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W.). For information about Renwick Gallery activities, call (202) 357-2700 or visit the museum's award-winning Web site at