Washington DC

African American Museum Helps Families Preserve Heirlooms, Artifacts

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The National Museum of African American History and Culture invited people to bring out their family artifacts Wednesday and learn a little more about their own personal histories.

"We invite the public to bring in their treasures and then we will tell them about their treasures and how to take care of them," said Dr. Renee S. Anderson, the head of collections at NMAAHC.

Those treasures can include things like old photos, family heirlooms, documents and, sometimes, hats.

Donna Limerick brought her mother’s hat collection to a similar preservation event 12 years ago.

"My mother Mae Reeves designed hats in Philadelphia. She was a business woman for over 50 years," Limerick said.

Dr. Renee Anderson (left) speaks with Donna Limerick (right) about her mother's hats.

Reeves got a loan in the 1940s without a co-signer and opened Mae’s Millinery.

"Now, my mom has a permanent exhibit here because I came to one of these events," Limerick said.

The exhibit at NMAAHC tells the story of a woman who ran a successful business during the time of segregation and deep racial divide.

Others who came to the District Treasures event Wednesday brought their own unique pieces of history passed down over the decades, including photos of enslaved ancestors.

Patricia Lowther's great grandmother Lydia.

"This is a picture of my great grandmother. Her name was Lydia," said Patricia Lowther, who came with multiple photos of relatives.

The museum is helping others to save these treasures so the stories of the past can be shared with the next generation.

NMAAHC says the next event will be Friday, March 20 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Check here for more information.

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