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National Museum of African American History & Culture Virtual Historic Documents Transcription

During Black History Month, I had the pleasure of participating in preserving history and promoting education through the review of historically significant documents and transcribing them virtually.

The Smithsonian Digital Volunteer program facilitates research and preserves valuable assets for future generations. I was able to choose from so many projects that were transcriptions specifically for the National Museum of African American History & Culture, as well as those for causes with direct links to African American heritage.

I worked to transcribe the letters and documents from as early as the 1800s. As one who enjoys learning more about history, especially African America history, I often became consumed with trying to figure out who the author was and what were his/her contributions to our history.

Transcription requires patience (because the script is sometimes hard to read/decipher) and some research based on clues contained within the documents to help with context. Most of all, you should have a willingness to contribute to the ongoing and amazing work of the Smithsonian.

Although the transcribing event was for Black History Month, it’s a great activity to do with family or friends and can be completed at home any day of the year! This will definitely be one of my ongoing volunteer activities!

Consider joining myself and over 48,000 other "volunpeers" to add more to the total 824,445 pages of field notes, diaries, ledgers, logbooks, currency proof sheets, photo albums, manuscripts, biodiversity specimens labels, and historic audio recordings, that have been collaboratively transcribed and reviewed since June 2013!

To learn more, visit:

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