Our Families, Our Communities, Our Histories: Documenting Social Change from Local Perspectives

Endorsed by OHA and WHA

Thursday, March 30, 2023, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: African American; Digital History; Local and Community History

Abstract

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (SI-NMAAHC) Robert Frederick Smith (RFS) Center for the Digitization and Curation of African American History uses an innovative approach to technology to preserve African American history. Our Community Curation Program works with communities to create digital spaces and resources that tell the stories of historically Black neighborhoods and institutional anchors to facilitate inspiring educational experiences. To better inform public history colleagues about our work, members of the Smith Center team will share what we have learned from our experiences working with black families in Baltimore, Denver, Chicago and rural Virginia.

Session Participants

Chair: Doretha K. Williams, National Museum of African American History
Dr. Doretha K. Williams is the Director of the Robert F. Smith Center for the Digitization and Curation of African American History at the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The Smith Center serves to make accessible historical collections through digitization, public programming and engagement, and by supporting educational development in the museum and archives fields. Prior to her appointment at NMAAHC, she was the Project Director for the D.C. Africana Archives Project (DCAAP), a grant-funded appointment with the Africana Studies Program and the University Libraries at the George Washington University (GWU). From 2011 to 2013, Doretha served as the Executive Director of the Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City. The Black Archives of Mid-America is an educational resource and provides access to its collections for research, exhibition and publication to honor community heritage and to catalyze public awareness in Kansas City. Doretha received her PhD in American Studies from the University of Kansas. Doretha is a proud graduate of Fisk University in Nashville, TN.

Panelist: Ina Archer, SI NMAAHC Smith Center
Ina Archer is a filmmaker, visual artist, programmer and writer whose multimedia works and films have been shown nationally; most recently as the solo artist with Microscope Gallery (NYC) for the 2021 Frieze International Art Fair. Archer was a studio artist in the Whitney Independent Study program, a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) multidisciplinary Fellow, and a 2005 Creative Capital grantee in film. She is a Media Conservation and Digitization Specialist at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, and the former co-chair of New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT) Women’s Film Preservation Fund. Prior to joining the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), Ina was on the faculty at Parsons School of Design/The New School. She is a contributor to Film Comment magazine, as well as other film periodicals. Archer received a BA in Film/Video from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and an MA in Cinema Studies from New York University (NYU) focused on race, preservation, and early sound film.

Panelist: Leah Jones, SI NMAAHC
While working at the Grand Valley State University Gallery in college and America’s Black Holocaust Museum over two summers, Leah Jones realized the job of museum photographer was the path she wanted to embark on. As is life, the direction of that path wasn’t always straight. She stopped along the way, working as a substitute teacher and a photojournalist. Those experiences provided her with skills that prepared her well for the work of creating powerful and memorable images of people. Now at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), Jones puts these skills to use documenting the experiences of museum presenters, participants and visitors at many events, while acquiring new ones as the main photographer for the Smith Center. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Film and Electronic Media from American University and is a member of the National Press Photographers Association and the United States Press Photographers Gallery.

Panelist: AJ Lawrence, SI NMAAHC Smith Center
AJ Lawrence is the Media Wrangler for the Center for the Digitization and Curation of African American History at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). He previously worked with the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, the Genocide Archive of Rwanda, and the Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive at the University of Southern California. He received a Master’s degree in Moving Image Archive Studies from UCLA and a BA in Philosophy from Brandeis University. He has many plant babies, a Betta fish named Peso, and two human children.

Panelist: CK Ming, SI-NMAAHC Smith Center
CK Ming works at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC) as a Media Conservation and Digitization Specialist. Previously they were the Archivist and Project Manager at the South Side Home Movie Project. They are currently a director of the board for the Center for Home Movies and the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA).

Proposal Submitter Only: Angela Winand, SI NMAAHC Smith Center