AARLCC and the Smithsonian Present "Save Our African-American Treasures" October 26-27
- Residents can get help identifying and preserving family heirlooms -

Broward County's African-American Research Library and Cultural Center

Broward County's African-American Research Library and Cultural Center

Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture logo

Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture logo

DATE: October 2, 2013
MEDIA CONTACT: Elaina Norlin, Regional Library Manager
African-American Research Library and Cultural Center
PHONE: 954-357-6149

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. - Broward County Libraries Division’s African-American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARLCC) is joining forces with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture to co-host a two-day program to help all South Florida residents identify and preserve items of historical and cultural significance that may be tucked away in attics, closets and garages.

Called “Save Our African-American Treasures: A National Collections Initiative of Discovery and Preservation,” the event is free and open to the public and will be held Saturday, October 26, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday, October 27, from noon to 5:30 p.m., at AARLCC, 2650 Sistrunk Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. This is the 14th in a series of such events held across the United States since 2008 and the first in Florida.

Participants are invited to bring up to three personal items for a free 15-minute professional consultation with experts on how to care for them. The specialists serve as reviewers, not appraisers, and do not determine the items’ monetary values. Objects such as books, photographs, ceramics, metalwork and textiles no larger than a shopping bag (furniture, carpets, firearms and paintings are excluded) can be reviewed. No appointment is necessary.

“Broward County Libraries Division is honored to partner with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture to bring this exciting and important event to our community,” said Skye Patrick, director of Broward County Libraries Division. “The preservation of artifacts, documents, pictures – the very history of South Florida’s African American community’s struggles, triumphs and everyday lives – is crucial to present a balanced view of our shared past.”

The “Treasures” program also includes the following activities throughout the day:

Black Broward Speaks: A presentation from three local repositories on how each acquired, preserved and made accessible an extensive collection of photographs of blacks in Broward County, dating as far back as the 1890s. Photographs depict the agricultural past, civil rights struggles, thriving businesses, communities and social life.

Preservation Presentations: Informal basic preservation sessions will provide information on preserving clothing, textiles, family photographs and papers. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions.

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

“We are extremely proud to bring ‘Save Our African American Treasures’ to South Florida and proud of our partnership with the Broward County Libraries,” said Lonnie Bunch, director of the Smithsonian museum. “We must encourage citizens of South Florida to become aware of what they have, to protect it and to preserve it so the story of the African-American in this country can be told. Citizens hold the 19th- and 20th-century objects – family photographs, military uniforms, farm tools, and wedding dresses – that can help tell this story for future generations. If we do not act now to preserve these items, the tangible evidence of a critical component of American history will be lost.”

“Save Our African-American Treasures” is made possible with support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The grants also support the predesign and construction of the museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., scheduled to open in 2015.

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

The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, which opened in 2002, is one of only a handful of specialized libraries in the United States that focuses on the history and people of African, African-American and Caribbean descent. The first floor offers a museum with displays and artwork. The Harambee Room offers a place for reflection and unity and the 300-seat auditorium provides a place for workshops, conferences, programs and theatrical productions. The second floor holds the library collection, small business resource center, basic reference services for adults and youth and a computer lab, and the library’s Special Collections.

The award-winning
Broward County Libraries Division, founded in 1974, is the ninth largest library system in the nation by population served and one of the busiest, with more than 9 million walk-in customers visiting its 40 locations annually. The library has more than 3.4 million items and 2,000 computers for public use, and offers hundreds of events and programs to meet the needs of Broward County's diverse community. Broward County Libraries Division continues its strong emphasis on literacy, after-school programs and electronic access. In addition to our comprehensive website, Broward.org/Library, which provides information about library activities, links to online catalogs, reference information and databases, customers can visit BCL WoW - Broward County Library Without Walls – for free eBooks, music, audiobooks, apps and more. Customers may also follow Libraries on Facebook and Twitter. Libraries Division also administers the services, programs, collections and exhibits of the Broward County Historical Commission
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