History buffs incorporated into The City Museum Project, Inc., have spent the past two years interesting local agencies in the need to create a city museum. The museum would trace Washington's political, cultural and economic history and its effect upon the city's development.
Earl James, president of CMP, said the 15-member group is comprised of employees from numerous Washington historical agencies. While James acknowledged that the agencies themselves have not endorsed the group, he said members with access to historical material have lent invaluable support in research projects.
This year the organization was awarded a $9,000 grant from the Museum and Historical Organization Program of the National Endowment for the Humanities to plan a historical exhibit of the city's downtown shopping area. Funds totaling $18,370 had already been acquired for the project.
"When the exhibit comes out that will be our big public show," said James. "This would be a demonstration of what a city museum could do."
The exhibit, which will include photographic documentation, commercial items, and newspaper advertisements among other items, could become a traveling exhibit in schools and libraries, said James. This would give the exhibit maximum exposure and provide schools with another educational source, he added.
The largest problem is collecting the material for the museum, said James, adding that "The records of the city's history are scattered all over the place."
Efforts to consolidate material have culminated in the creation of history seminars held at the group's monthly meetings. During these meetings, local agencies are invited to lecture about their organization's history. Individuals are also considered for membership during these meetings.
Last week the group sponsored a seminar with representatives from three local churches to discuss their history collections and growth in Washington.
The seminar, entitled "The Church as a Local History Resource," was held at The St. John's Parish House, 1625 H St., NW. Guest speakers lectured on the histories of The Asbury Methodist Church, All Souls Unitarian Church and The Spanish Catholic Center. A tour and history of St. John's Church was provided as well.