Museum News

National Museum of African American History and Culture To Host Inaugural Community Curation Program in Baltimore

Program Uses Modern Digitization Technology To Preserve Generations of Black History

November 3, 2017
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture; Photo by Alan Karchmer

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will host its first Community Curation Program at Impact Hub Baltimore at 10 E. North Ave. Friday, Nov. 3, through Sunday, Nov. 12, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

During the Baltimore Community Curation Program, made possible through a donation from the Robert Frederick Smith Fund for Digitization and Curation of African American History, attendees can register for digitization services, learn about and use a newly launched museum mobile app, and take part in several workshops, presentations and panel discussions about African religious experiences, African American military history, family history searches and oral history.

Families, civic organizations, community groups and religious organizations are invited to register and bring their photographs, letters, scrapbooks, community organization records, films and video memories for digitizing. The museum’s DigiTeam will be onsite to provide services to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Attendees must register for digitizing services. A full event schedule and registration information is available at nmaahc.si.edu/community-curation.

The museum’s mobile app will be launched Nov 3. It will allow users to upload digitized audio, video and photographs to an innovative online platform to share their stories with others. The searchable repository encourages the digital preservation of personal and community archives as a method of protecting oral and visual traditions and memories. The first of three mobile app demonstrations will take place Saturday, Nov. 4, at 1 p.m.

Along with the community curation project, the museum’s popular Robert Frederick Smith Explore Your Family History Center (EYFHC), located on the second level of the museum, further supports the public’s ability to research, digitally preserve and share cultural collections and stories that reflect individual and community experiences in African American history. EYFHC features an interactive digital experience, Transitions in Freedom: The Syphax Family, which traces the history of African American families from slavery to freedom through archival documents, maps, photographs and other records. Visitors to the museum can register onsite for assisted family-history searches using databases such as Ancestry.com and FamilySearch. More information about daily programming and special events is available at nmaahc.si.edu/family-history-center.

Other digitization projects and special programs made possible by the Robert Frederick Smith Fund include the Professional Curation Digitization Project (PCDP) and the Smith Fund Internship and Fellowship Program.

The PCDP initiative encourages the digitization of media archives collected by professional artists, photographers, visual artists, musicians and librarians. This initiative provides digital records development, makes accessible collections otherwise not publicly seen and creates a network of organizations striving to preserve black history. The application process will be open to the public in November 2017.

The museum’s Internships and Fellowships program works to diversify the museum and archives fields by offering local and national professional development opportunities related to digitization and research for graduate and undergraduate students. More information and application materials can be found at nmaahc.si.edu/RFSInterns or by contacting RFSInternships@si.edu.

Media Contact(s): 

Jaye Linnen (202) 633-7812; linnenj@si.edu 
Anne Williams (202) 633-7697; williamsab@si.edu   

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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.