DENVER (CBS4) – The Robert Frederick Smith Fund at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History is helping Denver families preserve their history. The Smithsonian partnered with the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library for Smith’s Community Curation Program in November.
“He said ‘Everybody bring your family history’ and we did,” said Sandra Dillard, Smith’s family friend and contributor to the project.
The digitization process was open to Colorado’s African American community, who wanted to preserve their personal history through sharing of stories, photographs, film, oral histories and videos. Now their history is preserved in a digital world that connects African-American families in the West together.
“We had over 22,000 photos. They brought generations of pieces. Clothing, teacups, certificates and degrees,” said Terry Nelson, special collection and community resource manager for the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library.
They documented generations of memories, so memories aren’t all they’d become.
“That’s the value of doing this kind of thing. You can pull those stories out and see how they connect to rest of the history in this country,” said Nelson.
Smith’s foundation and the Blair-Caldwell Library are having another event in August. They’re encouraging people to bring three antique items. An expert will explain how to preserve them so they may remain in their families forever.