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The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture celebrates Juneteenth with a two-day program to help Dallas/Ft. Worth-area residents identify and preserve items of historical and cultural significance tucked away in the attics, closets and basements of their homes. Presented in collaboration with the Dallas Public Library, the event will feature presentations, hands-on activities and preservation tips.
The program will take place Saturday, June 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, June 19, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young Street in Dallas. It will feature welcoming remarks by Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the museum, and Dallas Public Library interim director Corinne Hill. Free and open to the public, the event is the ninth in a series from the museum’s signature program “Save Our African American Treasures: A National Collections Initiative of Discovery and Preservation.” All are welcome.
Participants can reserve in advance to bring up to three personal items for a 20-minute, one-on-one professional consultation with experts on how to care for them. The specialists will serve as reviewers, not appraisers, and will not determine items’ monetary values. Objects such as books, paper and textiles no larger than a shopping bag (furniture, carpets, firearms and paintings are excluded) can be reviewed. Those wishing to have items reviewed must make reservations by emailing email@example.com or by calling toll free (877) 733-9599. Reservations are only required for those wishing a one-on-one consultation. Additional information is available at nmaahc.si.edu.
“We are extremely proud to bring ‘Save our African American Treasures’ to Dallas during Juneteenth weekend,” said Bunch. “We encourage people to become aware of what they have, to protect it and to preserve it so the story of African Americans in this country can be told. Nineteenth and 20th-century objects—family photographs, military uniforms, farm tools and wedding dresses—can help tell this story for future generations; if we do not act now to preserve these items, the tangible evidence of a critical component of American history will be lost.
“We are so honored that the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is bringing this outstanding program to the Dallas Public Library,” said Hill.
The “Treasures” program also includes the following activities throughout the day:
- Marion Butts: A Lens on Dallas: Carol Roark, the Dallas Public Library’s manager of special collections, discusses its collection of photographs taken by one of the most important and prolific documentarians of African American life in the city.
- Preservation Presentations:Informal basic preservation sessions will take place during the day. The sessions will provide information on preserving clothing and textiles, family photographs and papers, and digital memories. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions.
- Hands-on Preservation:In this hands-on activity, participants are invited to learn how to properly store letters, pack garments and prepare photographs for preservation storage and presentation.
On Saturday, from 2 to 4 p.m., participants can meet 94.5 KSoul’s Kelli Simms.
“Save our African American Treasures” is made possible with support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The grants also support the pre-design and construction of the museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., scheduled to open in 2015.
As a companion to the series, the museum has produced African American Treasures: A Preservation Guide, a 30-page guidebook that is distributed free to attendees to highlight the importance of proper preservation techniques. The guidebook is part of the “Treasures” kit. Also distributed will be white cotton gloves, archival tissue papers and archival documents sleeves to help people keep their personal treasures safe.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established in 2003 by an Act of Congress, making it the 19th Smithsonian Institution museum. Scheduled for completion in 2015, it will be built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on a five-acre tract adjacent to the Washington Monument. Currently, during the pre-building phase, the museum is producing publications, hosting public programs and assembling collections. It is presenting exhibitions at other museums across the country and at its own gallery at the National Museum of American History. For more information about the museum, visit nmaahc.si.edu or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000, (202) 633-5285 (TTY).
For information on the many free programs and services available at the Dallas Public Library, visit www.dallaslibrary.org. The Dallas Public Library operates the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 26 branch locations, Bookmarks in NorthPark Center and two bookmobiles. A library card is free for any Dallas resident.
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