Written by Pearly Bowser
Albany, Ga – The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will co-host a daylong program to help southwest Georgia residents identify and preserve items of historical and cultural significance tucked away in the attics, closets and basements of their homes. The event will feature presentations, hands-on activities and preservation tips. Albany State University is the venue partner for the event.
For the Albany “Treasures” event, the Smithsonian is collaborating with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Legacy Project, their host committee and the Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education Inc.
The program will take place Saturday, March 9, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Student Center at Albany State University, 504 College Drive, Albany, Ga. Free and open to the public, the event is the 11th in a series from the Smithsonian museum’s signature program “Save Our African American Treasures: A National Collections Initiative of Discovery and Preservation.” All are welcome.
Participants can bring up to three personal items for a 15-minute, 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. Additional information is available at nmaahc.si.edu or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (877) 733-9599.
Museum experts are particularly interested in evaluating items related to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s activities in southwest Georgia during the civil rights era of the 1960s. Items of interest are photographs, flyers, buttons, tickets, posters and other items from the period.
“We are extremely proud to bring ‘Save Our African American Treasures’ to southwest Georgia and of our partnership with Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Legacy Project, Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education Inc. and Albany State University,” said Lonnie Bunch, director of the museum. “We encourage people to become aware of the artifacts and recollections related to the civil rights activity that took place in southwest Georgia, to protect and to preserve them so the story of African Americans in this country can be told.”
“It is a unique honor for Albany State University to serve as co-host for this most important ‘Treasures’ event,” said Everette J. Freeman, president of ASU. “In attics, closets and hope chests throughout southwest Georgia, there will be discoveries and rediscoveries of artifacts that directly link the lives of ordinary citizens to America’s civil rights journey. What an opportunity to share our past.”
The “Treasures” program also includes the following activities throughout the day:
· Civil Rights Panel Discussions: Two panels will discuss the legacy of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in southwest Georgia and the ongoing struggle for civil rights.
· 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. 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.
“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 document 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