"Save Our African-American Treasures" at Washburn This Weekend

By: From 13 News
By: From 13 News

WASHBURN UNIVERSITY -- The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will co-host two weekend programs to help northeastern Kansas-area residents identify and preserve items of historical and cultural significance tucked away in the attics, closets and basements of their homes. Presented in collaboration with Washburn University in Topeka, the event will feature presentations, hands-on activities and preservation tips.

Free and open to the public, the event is the seventh in a series from the museum’s signature program “Save Our African American Treasures: A National Collections Initiative of Discovery and Preservation.” It's being held at Washburn University's Memorial Union on Jewell, this Saturday and Sunday, August 14th and 15th, from 10am till 4pm.

Participants from all over northeastern Kansas can reserve in advance to bring up to three personal items for a 20-minute, one-on-one 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, paper and textiles no larger than a shopping bag can be reviewed (furniture, carpets, firearms and paintings are excluded).

Those wishing to have items reviewed must make reservations by e-mailing treasures@si.edu or by calling toll free (877) 733-9599. Reservations are not required for those not wishing a one-on-one consultation. Additional information is available online at Treasures.si.edu.

The “Treasures” program includes the following sessions:
Preservation Presentations: Informal basic preservation sessions will take place during the day. One will focus on textiles, a category that includes cloth dolls, flags, hats, clothing, lace, quilts, needlework and table linens. The session on photographs and paper will inform participants on simple inexpensive techniques to keep their family Bibles, historic pictures and important documents such as diplomas and wedding licenses safe from deterioration.

Hands-on Preservation: Participants are invited to learn how to properly store letters, pack garments and prepare photographs for preservation storage and presentation.

As a companion to the series, the museum has produced a 30-page guidebook African American Treasures: A Preservation Guide will be distributed free to attendees and to individuals, community groups and educators to highlight the importance of proper preservation techniques. The guidebook is part of the “Treasures” kit, a tote bag that will also include white cotton gloves, archival tissue papers and archival documents sleeves to help people keep their personal treasures safe.

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