While library services were on hiatus this past fall and as limited services returned at the beginning of the new year, the small but mighty Historical Society staff were far from idle. Aided by incredible colleagues at partner institutions such as the National Building Museum, the Newseum, The George Washington University Museum – The Textile Museum, and the D.C. Public Library’s Special Collections, among others, between September 2016 and January 2017 the Historical Society …
… produced more than 20 public programs, including walking tours, Historic Carnegie Library building tours, skills-based workshops on archiving digital photography and mapping historical images on a digital humanities web site, a film screening, and a panel discussions on visuals of bygone D.C. and on LGBTQ resources at city-wide repositories;
… released the newest issue of Washington History, featuring Becoming “Wachintonians” Salvadorans in the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area, by Ana Patricia Rodríguez; Picturing Metro A Look Back at the Photographs of Phil Portlock, by John DeFerrari; Asian and Asian American Students in the Washington, D.C., Public Schools during the Segregation Era, by Antoinette J. Lee; and William Metzerott and the D.C. Music Trade, by Rachel Christian
… organized an exhibition on D.C. in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s and produced D.C. architecture-themed playing cards to go along with it. The DISTRICT II exhibition received generous coverage by Kojo Nnamdi, Mark Segraves, John Kelly, and numerous other media outlets – catch it at the National Building Museum before it closes February 12! The Historical Society also lent several collections items for The George Washington University Museum exhibition on presidential campaign ephemera and textiles;
… honored five local families and institutions at the 2016 Making D.C. History Awards, including The Association Of Oldest Inhabitants Of D.C. (Distinction in Historic Preservation); the McGuire Family (Legacy Families Of Washington, D.C.); Meyer Foundation (Distinction In Local Philanthropy); Washingtonian (Distinction In Local Media); and Mayor Anthony Williams (Distinction In Civic Leadership);
… hosted the volunteer-run, collaborative Annual Conference on D.C. History, with Georgetown University’s Adam Rothman presenting the 2016 Leticia Woods Brown Lecture at the National Archives, and dozens of concurrent sessions on everything from newly acquired historic collections at various repositories to a look back at the Washington Free Press;
… secured funding towards the digitization of key photograph collections, with particular thanks to Debra and Peter Friedmann and the Curt C. and Else Silberman Foundation and memorial donations in honor of long-term Historical Society volunteer Jack Brewer;
… progressed on research guides, finding aids, catalog records, and processing of recent accessions and newly discovered collections items, adding to the more than 1.25-miles-worth of historic photographs, maps, personal papers, business records, artwork, ephemera, monographs, and objects held in trust for the public;
… launched Phase 1 of the D.C. Oral History Collaborative, in partnership with HumanitiesDC and the D.C. Public Library. This is an ambitious city-wide initiative to document and preserve the history of Washington’s residents and communities through the collection of oral histories. The project will survey and publicize existing oral history collections, provide grants and training for scholars and amateur historians to launch new oral history projects, and establish an interactive, accessible platform where the city’s memories can benefit residents and scholars for generations to come;
… conducted the final public tour of Window to Washington: The Kiplinger Collection, the Historical Society’s long-term exhibition on the evolution of the built environment of Washington, D.C. The exhibition will be de-installed and the works made available for researchers in the Kiplinger Research Library; and
… with support from the Cleveland Park Historical Society, the Historical Society brought D.C. history into the classroom with the John Eaton Elementary Third Grade Historians. And then, newly back in the Carnegie Library, proudly provided library orientations, hands-on research access, a Home Rule tutorial, and gallery tours to more than 50 students from Dunbar High School and American University on a single January day.
We’re back – and it’s a great place to be.