Color History with the Smithsonian Recap!

Participants at the "Color History with the Smithsonian!" Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

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.

Jennifer Morris, Archivist, Smithsonian Anacostia 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.)

Two Attendees at the Edit-a-thon

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!


All the pictures of the day can be found here.

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