As your Executive Director here at your NSCDA National Headquarters & Museum, I want to share my thoughts with you about the protests here in Washington, D.C. over the last several days. Living this moment in real time gives our staff team a firsthand experience of the impassioned protest in direct response to the deadly incidents of violence against Black Americans. In quiet horror, we are trying to make sense of the senseless.
My heart breaks for our Black friends, members, colleagues, family members, and neighbors who have had to face systemic racial injustice for generations. Dumbarton House, your NSCDA National Headquarters in Georgetown, has stood witness to the complicated and often painful history of this city and of our nation since 1799. As we struggle to reconcile our deep love of country and pride in ancestry with our national legacy of racial inequality, we recognize the systems and policies that have perpetuated injustice.
As “History’s Keepers” we know that our museums can provide opportunities for our communities, and our nation, to heal. Indeed, history is the lens through which we understand the past, see the present, and find hope for the future. As preservationists tied by lineage to our nation’s founding, we have an obligation to address injustices through these historic sites; to study and present the past honestly, fully, and transparently. By engaging our communities in these conversations about our past, I have hope that we can begin to heal and allow America to fully live up to its founding ideals.
Your NSCDA staff and I are here to listen and to provide dialogue and resources to continue this critically important conversation. We realize through our place of privilege that we cannot fully understand, that we will not have all the answers. As a result, we have sought out resources from fellow cultural institutions to support our work, and I attach them below for your own use on behalf of your Corporate Society or museum.
Thank you for your dedication to being History’s Keepers during these challenging times. I remain ever grateful to serve as your Executive Director, working alongside a team of staff and volunteers to honestly present the past so that we might build a better future.
Karen L. Daly
NSCDA National Headquarters, Dumbarton House
- Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture Online Portal
- American Alliance of Museums: Museums & Equity In Times of Crisis
- National Council on Public History and American Association of State and Local History: The Inclusive Historian’s Handbook