Mission: Preservation

Cover of Ruth and the Green BookOn Wednesday, June 20 at 3 p.m., children ages 8-11 are invited to participate in an entertaining and educational program to strengthen their historical thinking skills.  Smithsonian Institution staff will guide them as they explore original historical artifacts and other records of the past, helping the children understand the historical importance of material culture while giving participants the tools they need to preserve their own history.

At the start of the program, participants will watch a five-minute video and then read Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Ramsey. The story is about a young African-American girl and the racial discrimination that she and her family experienced during their road trip from Chicago to rural Alabama. Through this age-appropriate story, students will be introduced to segregation in the 1950s.

Next, the children will be encourgaged to investigate and become conservators! The museum teacher will guide the participants through an activity where they determine the damage inflicted upon historical artifacts.  The children will don white cotton gloves as they analyze artifacts, record observations and determine a preservation plan for each object. All our artifacts are authentic antique objects and photographs. 

After completing the program, students will keep their gloves and be inspired to go home to preserve their own family history.