Witte Museum announces Smithsonian partnership

Partnership will bring Smithsoniain exhibits, artifacts to Alamo City

SAN ANTONIO – The Witte Museum announced it has been named a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate.

The announcement was made on Tuesday morning at the museum, with Smithsonian officials and Mayor Ivy Taylor in attendance.

"We purposely waited to become a Smithsonian Affiliate because we're in a great transformation right now at the museum and we thought it would be the perfect way to say we're a top-tier museum," said Marise McDermott, Witte Museum president and CEO.

The Witte is in the midst of a $100 million renovation that will give the museum added space and an updated look.

The partnership will add prestige to the museum and will make Smithsonian artifacts, collections and traveling exhibitions available for loan to the Witte.

"The Smithsonian has a great collection of Texas artifacts and archeology, paleontology and geology," said McDermott.

"We have an obligation and a mission for people to see and experience the Smithsonian in their own community. We can only do that by having partners like the Witte," said Harold Closter, director of Smithsonian Affiliations.

Witte staff members are already making plans for the future.

"Our curator of paleontology and geology, Dr. Thomas Adams, has already handed over a list of about 50 artifacts that he already knows about," said McDermott.

It's likely some artifacts from the Smithsonian will be available for viewing at the Witte over the next couple of years but McDermott said visitors can expect some really big things when the Witte expansion and renovations are complete in 2017.

"As we develop these new galleries, these state-of-the-art galleries, we'll be looking for the best artifacts found anywhere," said McDermott.