15

September

2008

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Outreach with the National Museum of African American History and Culture

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Their museum may not be open yet, but the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is already reaching out to a national community by holding events such as their "Save Our African American Treasures: A National Collections Initiative" in cities around the US.  The program is a series of one-day events designed to encourage individuals and families to identify, protect and preserve  "family treasures" for future generations.

Saturday, September 13th, was the third event in the series, and was held at Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, DC.  It was a full day of classroom presentations on preserving clothing, textiles, photographs, and paper, and also establishing provenance.  There were a number of conservators and curators on hand in the "Hometown Treasures" room for one-on-one review sessions with participants who had brought in up to three items from their personal collections.  Participants brought in all kinds of treasures, including photographs, portraits, letters, bibles, and quilts and met with reviewers for advice on proper care and handling of artifacts or help with identifying exactly what they had.

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Eliza Gilligan, a Book Conservator at the Smithsonian Libraries, volunteered at the event in the Hometown Treasures room.  It was a great day of looking at remarkable treasures, including a letter from Toronto, dated April 20, 1865, describing the city’s reaction to the news of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  Many of the items that people brought in for review were in very good condition, showing the value and consideration people have placed in their family history. 

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