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Booker T. Washington Alumni Association

Staunton, VA

Mission: The mission of the Booker T. Washington Alumni Association (Alumni Association) is to provide scholarships for graduating High School seniors to attend college or other institutions of higher education and to promote awareness of civic and culture activities within the minority communities of Staunton and Augusta County.

Community Need: The Booker T. Washington Museum is the only local museum that focuses on the history of the only all black high school in Staunton.  The Alumni Association has guarded the school’s history by securing and maintaining original teacher supplies, original school furniture, sports memorabilia, and photos, among other items.  They plan to keep building upon the school’s legacy by expanding the museum’s exhibits and raising awareness of what the museum has to offer to the community.  Just recently, the Alumni Association partnered with Mary Baldwin University (MBU) to create “Threads of History,” a documentary that highlights stories from the school and its surrounding community.  The documentary culminated in nearly 100 hours of video and audio on the school’s history from the perspective of alumni, teachers, and community members. Its release and subsequent public showings has led to increased conversation and interest in their history.

Primary Activities: The Alumni Association manages the Booker T. Washington Museum, offers scholarships to local high school graduates, host an annual reunion and gathering of Booker T. Washington High School (BTWHS) alumni, teachers, and associates, and community members.  They also seek to involve area youth in the preservation of and awareness of Booker T. Washington High School’s legacy by offering local scholarships to high school seniors.

Constituents Served: The Alumni Association serves the communities of Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County, including youth, seniors, and alumni and associates of the BTWHS.

Program Details:  In 2015, they established a museum dedicated to keeping the school’s memories alive. The have already begun the process of collecting, cataloging, preserving, and displaying school related items, yet they realize that they have only uncovered a small fraction of what is available.  They would like to establish monthly session where they can gather more items for the collection, expand their museum, and create a more accurate representation of the Booker T. Washington High School experience.

In addition to the physical items, they hope to record and transcribe oral stories and memories from Booker T. Washington students, teachers, and staff, as well as community members who have valuable insight.   They will need to hire someone to help with the tedious task of cataloging each item and digitizing the entire catalogue to ensure that the items they collect are properly preserved.  To this end, they plan to purchase preservation and environment control items as well as laminating equipment. The also plan to buy additional shelving/display units for the growing collection.  As a part of museum they would like to offer visitors a chance to access their website from inside the museum and for that end, they need to purchase a computer.  Visitors would have the opportunity to check out the “Threads of History” DVD and the “Staunton’s Other Park” (Montgomery Hall Park) DVD to view onsite on the computer.

Amount Requested: $10,000

Operating Budget: $12,154