The Community Curation Program

Bridging the divide between African American generations with digital technology


The Community Curation Program

African American families have a rich history of storytelling that informs, inspires, and imparts each generation with a sense of place and purpose. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Community Curation Program (CCP), which will launch in 2017, will marry the tradition of storytelling with modern technology to preserve our past and to share inspirational stories that reflect uniquely American achievements and values. The CCP is a new initiative, sponsored by the Robert Frederick Smith Fund for the Digitization and Curation of African American History. Its goal is to bridge the generational divide in African American communities by enabling participants to preserve and share their stories by uploading audio, video, photographs, and other archives to a central digital repository.

In addition to the many family stories the Center hopes to collect, it is also interested in the contributions of community groups, religious organizations, and chapters of nonprofit national organizations. This will be a unique opportunity to celebrate African American history at the community level, and to tell the full American story. As a result of these grassroots efforts, African Americans of all ages will be able to join together to preserve the traditions of family, community, and America for current and future generations.

Participate Now

The National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Robert Frederick Smith Explore Your Family History Center open to the public on September 24, 2016. The capabilities of the Center’s Community Curation Program will expand exponentially with the launch of an online digital repository and mobile application in 2017. Your participation in this groundbreaking initiative, however, can start now. The Museum invites individuals across the nation to start identifying, collecting, and curating the stories and objects that will make the CCP an unparalleled archive of personal, compelling, and never-before-known histories of African American individuals, families, and communities

By encouraging all Americans to participate in the curation of our nation’s rich heritage, the CCP will empower each of us to be an active participant in our national history. Selections from the CCP may be featured in the Museum’s Robert Frederick Smith Explore Your Family History Center. This innovative, high-tech facility will allow onsite visitors of all ages to discover the wonders of diverse family stories, while enabling offsite participants to visit the Center virtually. The Center also will feature interactive digital experiences and allow participants to share meaningful multimedia stories. The CCP will be a first-of-its-kind preservation effort that will empower the collecting and sharing of family histories, from before the Industrial Age through the Information Age and beyond.

The CCP Mobile App and Digital Repository

Thanks to the generosity of the Robert Frederick Smith Fund for the Digitization and Curation of African American History, a free mobile application and digital repository will launch in 2017. The application will allow participants to use smart phones to preserve, upload, and share photographs, audio, and video files, and save these digital artifacts in a centralized, online, digital repository.

Learn More

To learn more about the Community Curation Program, download a comprehensive brochure about the program. To receive periodic updates, please email the Museum at For more on the Robert Frederick Smith Explore Your Family History Center, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions.