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Genealogy Gems at the Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives – Part V

This is Part 5 of a 5 part series on using the collection at The Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives to perform genealogy research. This post discusses exhibits and portraits at the archives that can be beneficial to genealogy research. Unless otherwise noted, all photographs are Courtesy Sumner Museum.

 


Portraits and Exhibits in the Sumner Collection

 All of the items discussed so far can be viewed in the research room.  However, I encourage you not to limit your research to that one room. There are several floors in the museum that contain artifacts that may be helpful to your research.

Portraits

As you walk through the museum you will notice portraits everywhere. There are portraits of individuals who were affiliated with the school system. Some of the portraits have tags that contain biographical information. Portraits can be found for:

  • Principals – Usually the portrait that hung in the school.
  • Teachers
  • School Board members
  • School Namesakes

Portraits

MFF Swartzell Eastern Principal 1900-1906 - Copy

MFF Swartzell Eastern Principal 1900-1906

Exhibits

Many of the rooms contain exhibits for individuals who were affiliated with the school system. You may find an exhibit for one of your family members. Here are a few examples.

Alfred Sze was a student at Central High School.  He later became China’s ambassador to the United States.  His exhibit contains many artifacts from his time at Central High, as well as, before and after high school.

Antoinette J Lee wrote an article for the Washington History magazine titled Asian and Asian American Students in Washington, D.C. Public Schools during the Segregation Era.  Alfred Sze is mentioned in the article.  This article is very informative and is also a great example of the use of resources in the Sumner collection.

Alma Thomas was an artist and teacher at Shaw Junior High School. Her exhibit is filled with information and pictures about her, her parents, siblings and grandparents.

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Genealogy Gems at the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives – Related Post

Part 1 of 5 – Introduction
Part 2 of 5 – History of the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives
Part 3 of 5 – Documents in the Sumner Collection
Part 4 of 5 – Vertical Files in the Sumner Collection
Part 5 of 5 – Portraits and Exhibits in the Sumner Collection

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Genealogy Gems at the Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives

This is Part 1 of a 5 part series on using the collection at The Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives in Washington, DC to perform genealogy research.  Unless otherwise noted, all photographs are Courtesy Sumner Museum.


I recently spoke at the 44th Annual Conference on DC History. I was a member of a panel that discussed Hidden Histories of the District Government.  Kimberly Springle, the Executive Director of the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives, was speaking at another conference and asked me to represent the Sumner Museum on the Hidden Histories panel.

Charles Sumner Museum Pic

The Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives is the official museum and archives of the District of Columbia Public School System.  It is often referred to as the “Sumner Museum“ or the “Sumner Archives” . The purpose of my presentation was to demonstrate how to use the museum’s collection for genealogy research.

I decided to share the information from my presentation in a blog series.  If you have ancestors who lived in Washington DC there is a good chance they were affiliated with the DC public school system in some capacity. They may have been a student, an employee or a member of the community that had a connection to the school.

Some children who lived in the nearby suburbs also attended DC public schools.  I met a lady who lived in Silver Spring, Maryland as a child.  During that time period, the school system was segregated and there was no school for black students near her home.  Even though she lived in Maryland, she attended the Military Road School in Washington, DC.

Be sure to subscribe to my blog so that you will be notified of the next post in this series.   There is a good chance you may find some genealogy gems at The Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives.


Genealogy Gems at the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives – Related Post

 

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