“District Treasures” at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Photo credit: Leah L. Jones

On January 10th Melissa had the great privilege of being invited to participate in the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)‘s monthly object clinics. The events are advertised to the public as an opportunity to attend a one-on-one session with preservation specialists and receive a professional review of one’s family treasures and heirlooms. The preservation specialists were spread around to different tables based on their material knowledge.

Once the public arrived, the preservation specialists offered basic care and storage advice to visitors who shared their family photo albums and mementos, and packed up everything they could into museum quality storage containers. The museum initially built up its collection through these events because curators would attend and often acquire objects when this event toured the country. The museum is technically in a collecting “hiatus” to allow collections staff time to sort and accession the constantly expanding collection. Two of the visitors that day ended up having their objects collected, which was quite an emotional experience to witness.

One of the District Treasures guests that day was a former heavy machinery operator that worked on ground zero. Several of her objects were acquired by the museum during her visit. Photo credit: Leah L. Jones