The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
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On a cloudy Saturday afternoon, over 30 volunteers showed up at the National Museum of the American Indian to write minority women into digital history during a Wikipedia edit-a-thon in honor of Women's History Month. On the to-do list were artists, educators, activists, Smithsonian employees, the first Chinese-American female dentist, and the African-American woman who founded the Black Fashion Museum.
To kick off the day, while enjoying pastries from local baker, Frenchies, participants learned about African-American archival and library collections at the Smithsonian and the U.S. National Archives. Following that, a fellow volunteer showed new Wikipedians how to edit and create articles. After an amazing banh mi lunch from a local Asian restaurant, Maketto, participants worked together to write and edit articles. Our food and coffee were generously funded by Wikimedia DC and it was wonderful to have so many long-term Wikipedians to help the new folks out.
Six new articles were created:
- Claudine Brown, Smithsonian Assistant Secretary for Education and Access, who passed away just days before the event.
- Faith Sai So Leong, the first Chinese-American female Dentist
- Edith T. Martin, Artist and museum curator
- Vaino Spencer, the first African-American woman to be appointed judge in California
- Toyo Suyemoto, Japanese American poet
- Grace Lincoln Temple, an interior designer who worked on the Smithsonian's children's room and many other federal buildings including the White House (she is not a minority, but a staff member had been researching her.)
In addition to that, thirteen articles were improved. It was wonderful to see our archivists and librarians helping participants find resources for their articles, and there was a happy buzz in the air.
My favorite comments on Twitter about the day are below. It is indeed empowering to write deserving people into history. There is a lot of work to do in that aspect, so join us as there are a lot of great resources to help you get started!
— *like the bird* (@Ravon_Ashley) March 19, 2016
All the pictures of the day can be found here.
It is once again time to come together for a day of Wikipedia! Join Smithsonian and U.S. National Archives staff, as well as local Wikipedian volunteers, for a Women's History Month/Museum Day Live! edit-a-thon on Saturday March 19th, 10am-3pm, at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. We will work on improving and creating new Wikipedia articles about notable minority women, some of whom worked at the Smithsonian.
For example, take a look at Jeannine Smith Clark, a longtime Smithsonian volunteer who served on the Smithsonian's Board of Regents as its first volunteer and minority woman. A longtime Washingtonian, Clark worked to expand D.C. Public Schools’ tours of the Smithsonian’s museums and helped to provide transportation to the museums for local children. Clark also served as the chair of the Smithsonian Women's Committee, a fundraising group, and became the Smithsonian's first head of its Cultural Education Committee which worked to increase diversity in Smithsonian staff and leadership.
All that said, she has no Wikipedia page and we'd like to solve that on March 19th. During the edit-a-thon, you will have a chance to learn from and interact with Smithsonian and U.S. National Archives staff, learn how to work in Wikipedia, and enjoy complimentary lunch and coffee which is generously being provided by Wikimedia DC.
Related, on March 12th, you can also join us for Museum Day Live! which is being held specifically to welcome young women and girls of color, their peers and their families, and inspire them to discover the arts and sciences through a series of exciting programs, including leadership opportunities, vibrant performances, special tours, and interactive activities.
RSVP now for the edit-a-thon. It will be a supportive environment where beginners are welcome!
- Sign up for Color History with the Smithsonian Wikipedia Edit-a-thon
- Museum Day Live! Programming
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