For the first time ever, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture is coming to South Carolina for the “Save Our African American Treasures Program.”
“A national collections initiative of discovery and preservation, and what that means is we asks local residents to identify and preserve items of historical and/or cultural significance that they can have in their home, that might be tucked away in their attic or their closets or basements, and they come to our program and we have reviewers there who will look at their items and have them learn something about their item and they will go away understanding how to preserve those items,” says museum spokeswoman Esther Washington.
Washington with the museum says the professional consultants will not determine any monetary values, the program is more educational.
Shelia Grier with Burke High School in downtown Charleston says Burke prides itself on being a community-based school and that she is thrilled to be a part of this event.
“Burke High School is historically a black high school and its been around for a long time. To be able to host such an event and to have the public, not just African Americans, but also the general public come to Burke and participate and enjoy all this wonderful piece of information and to share even their piece of history, for us it’s just a dream come true,” says Grier.
Grier says she even has a treasure herself.
“About 10 years ago I ran up on an old baseball cap, and it’s a baseball cap of the Negro Baseball League, so I’m excited about bringing that in cause that’s an item that they will surely look at and hopefully tell me something about it, and it dates back to the 1920’s.
She says she thinks this weekend’s event will be a success.
“Other folks are talking about items, based on the conversations that I’ve had, pieces of clothing, pieces of art, the list goes on. I think Charleston is rich of history, as we all know, so I think people will bring many of times to be reviewed,” says Grier.
Items, that could bring help fill in some holes of history. Washington says the director of the museum, Lonnie Bunch, is very concerned with African American culture, that there is a sweep of history that has never been told, and some items that people may bring in from these events could help put some missing pieces together.
Congressman Jim Clyburn is scheduled to be a part of the weekend’s events- held in Charleston and St. Helena Island.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture will open next to the Washington Monument in Washington DC in 2015.