Museum News

“Save Our African American Treasures” July 20

June 27, 2013

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Brooklyn Museum will co-host a day-long program to help New York area residents identify and preserve items of historical and cultural significance tucked away in their attics, closets and basements. The event will feature presentations, hands-on activities and preservation tips.
The program will take place Saturday, July 20, from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., in the Brooklyn Museum’s Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Pavilion and Lobby at 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn. Free and open to the public, the event is called “Save Our African American Treasures: A National Collections Initiative of Discovery and Preservation.” It is the 12th in a series held across the country since 2008. All are welcome.

Participants are invited to 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, photographs, ceramics, metalwork and textiles no larger than a shopping bag (furniture, carpets, firearms and paintings are excluded) can be reviewed. Additional information is available at or by emailing or calling (877) 733-9599.

“We are extremely proud to bring ‘Save Our African American Treasures’ to New York City and of our partnership with the Brooklyn Museum,” said Lonnie Bunch, director of the Smithsonian museum. “Whether it’s Weeksville, Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers or the Harlem Renaissance, New York City has been steeped in African American history from before the Emancipation. We encourage people to become aware of what they have, to protect it and to preserve it so the story of the African diaspora in this country can be told.”

“The Brooklyn Museum is delighted to co-host this exceptional program with the Smithsonian,” said Arnold Lehman, director of the Brooklyn Museum. “It aligns perfectly with the museum’s vital mission of acting as a bridge between world cultures as embodied by our collection and the unique experience of every one of our visitors.”

The “Treasures” program also includes the following activities throughout the day:
 Gallery Tour: Kevin Stayton, the Brooklyn Museum’s chief curator, will offer a tour of selected galleries in the building.
 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 or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.

The Brooklyn Museum, housed in a 560,000-square-foot, Beaux Arts building, is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the country. Its world-renowned permanent collections range from ancient Egyptian masterpieces to contemporary art and represent a wide range of cultures. Only a 30-minute subway ride from midtown Manhattan, with its own newly renovated subway station, the museum is part of a complex of 19th-century parks and gardens that also includes Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Prospect Park Zoo.

Media Contact(s): 

Fleur Paysour (202) 633-4761; 
Lindsey Koren (202) 633-4052; 

application/pdf Press Release (179.62 KB)

Join Our Media List

Help us keep you informed of Museum news, special events, and upcoming public programs. 


Sign Up

Press Kit

Our press kit includes facts and descriptions of our building, inaugural exhibitions, collection, history, and leadership.


Download Kit

About The Museum

The National Museum of African American History and Culture will be a place where all Americans can learn about the richness and diversity of the African American experience, what it means to their lives and how it helped us shape this nation. A place that transcends the boundaries of race and culture that divide us, and becomes a lens into a story that unites us all.