ALEXANDRIA: Increase access to African-American archives

Alexandria Black History Museum Receives Prestigious IMLS Grant for African American History and Culture for Digitization Project

ALEXANDRIE, Virginia – Alexandria Black History Museum, part of the Historic Alexandria Office, is the proud recipient of a grant of $ 243,356 from IMLS Museum scholarships for African American history and culture which will partially finance a multi-year project that will run from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2023.

Ferdinand T. Day, Annie B. Rose, Ben Holt, and Moss H. Kendrix. (Courtesy of the Alexandria Black History Museum.)

“This very competitive and generousThe US grant from IMLS will allow the Black History Museum of Alexandria to digitize, interpret and make publicly available four important archival collections, ”shares Audrey P. Davis, Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum.


redocuments, photographs, artifacts and other material from Alexandrian activists Ferdinand T. Day and Annie B. Rose, Washington opera singer Ben Holt and public relations icon Moss H. Kendrix will be digitized in under this grant. The digitization process will include creating or updating catalog records and digitizing or photographing items in the collections, resulting in approximately 20,000 records with images available to the public. The project will end with an exhibition on Moss H. Kendrix which will open in spring 2023.

“As pillars of our communities, libraries and museums bring people together by offering important programs, services and collections. These institutions are places of trust where people can learn, explore and grow, ”said Crosby Kemper, Director of IMLS. “IMLS is proud to support their initiatives through our grants as they educate and improve their communities..

“We are delighted and honored to be a 2021 IMLS recipient Museum scholarships for African American history and culture“said Gretchen Bulova, director of the Historical Alexandria Office.” The support of IMLS enables us to share the vibrant African American history of Alexandria with a new and wider audience, as well as to educate future generations on black excellence and achievement in Alexandria. ”

“By digitizing these collections,” shares Audrey Davis, director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, “we will be able to provide increased access to the public and to research, improve the care of collections by reducing costs. future manipulations and ensure best practices in collection management. It will also be enable the Museum to develop learning opportunities and future programs for lifelong learners, families and school-aged students. “

Online exhibits examine slavery to freedom

A series of small online exhibits will also be developed to explore the stories of these people from the archives and their respective roles in the broader theme of civil rights and equity. These archival collections contain a wealth of material that will allow the museum to better tell the story of the civil rights movement, empowerment, the African-American image in American society, and the repositioning of the African-American in American culture at large. .

These collections address important eras and issues, from slavery to the struggle for equality. They bear witness to the stories of local activism that supported the desegregation of schools in Alexandria, the preservation of African American heritage sites in Alexandria, the global shift in the representation of African Americans in advertising, and the celebration and celebration. elevation of civic rights. movement through the lyrical art form.

The digital content created by this project will support the invaluable work and continued commitment of Historic Alexandria and the Alexandria Black History Museum to tell the stories of the underrepresented and marginalized and the central role they play in American history, both locally and nationally.

Logo of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. (Courtesy of the Institute of Museum and Library Services)

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLB): IMLB is the primary source of federal support for libraries and museums across the country. They advance, support, and empower U.S. museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Their vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


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