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Our Museum "Chats"

Robert Hall, the director for education from the Anacostia Centre for African American Culture and History in Washington, D.C.,  joined students for this chat.  Enjoy some of the excerpts from his conversations with grades 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 students!



Michelle  Speight>>Hello everyone.  Let's get started.


Michelle  Speight>>Hello Robert, thank you for coming


Daniel  Brentwood>>hi


Ms.  Lauderdale>>We are from Washington, dc


Nick  Parkdale>>Hi Bryce


Michelle  Speight>>Lucas do you have a question for Robert?


Ms.  Lauderdale>>Hi. Michelle this is my school first time logging on and we wanted to Hi!


Ms.  Lauderdale>>We are excited.


Bryce  Parkdale>>Hello Harum


Michelle  Speight>>Hi ms. Lauderdale, I am so happy you could come!


Michelle  Speight>>Please welcome Robert from the Centre for African American culture and history!


Michelle  Speight>>Jared, would you like to ask your question again?


Robert  Hall>>Did you get my answer about Canada and Slavery?


Amelia  Brentwood>>welcome!


Harum  Brentwood>>hi Robert


Daniel  Brentwood>>hi Robert


Michelle  Speight>>No we didn't Robert


Robert  Hall>>Hello to everyone.


Jared  Parkdale>>yes


Lucas  Parkdale>>hi Robert


Robert  Hall>>There were some African Americans who escaped to Canada, but mostly on the East Coast.  The Underground Railroad sent many there.


Sam  Parkdale>>OK


Robert  Hall>>Hi Sam.


Sam  Parkdale>>hi Robert


Michelle  Speight>>Robert, would you like to tell us more what the underground railroad was


Robert  Hall>>Do you all have many African Americans in your part of Canada?

Jared  Parkdale>>Robert?


Sam  Parkdale>>hi nick


Nick  Parkdale>>no


Ms.  Lauderdale>>Bruce Monroe, do the museum have any of their art work online.


Amelia  Brentwood>>yes


Greg  Parkdale>>hi Robert


Robert  Hall>>There is also a large community of African from the United Stated living in Nova Scotia.  It would be a good class project to find out more about them.


Michelle  Speight>>Amelia, do you have many African American people in your school?


Forrest  Parkdale>>no Robert we donít


Bryce  Parkdale>>hello Robert


Amelia  Brentwood>>not many, but we have some!


Robert  Hall>>To find out more about us you can visit http://www.anacostia.si.edu


Michelle  Speight>>Ms. Lauderdale, does your class have a question?


Michelle  Speight>>Daniel, do you have a question?


Robert  Hall>>Next week, for example we have program where an African American scuba diver will talk about discovering a slave ship that sank off the coast of Key West, Florida.


Ms.  Lauderdale>>We are in DC but we have only one student who visited the museum.


Michelle  Speight>>What would your class like to know about the museum, Ms. Lauderdale?


Daniel  Brentwood>>did lots of Africans escape


Robert  Hall>>We look forward to having you visit. 

Ms.  Lauderdale>>where is it located


Eden  Parkdale>>no Robert we do not have many African Americans in Canada


Sam  Parkdale>>hi have a question miss s


Amelia  Brentwood>>yes we do Eden!


Michelle  Speight>>Go ahead Sam.


Robert  Hall>>There were some who escaped, not only to Canada, but to South America and other places.


Jared  Parkdale>>Robert did Africans go up to Canada to escape slavery?


Robert  Hall>>Yes, they did.


Bryce  Parkdale>>now I have a question


Michelle  Speight>>Amelia, do you have a question?


Robert  Hall>>Great.


Amelia  Brentwood>>yes


Michelle  Speight>>Go ahead, Amelia


Sam  Parkdale>>how many floors do you have


Amelia  Brentwood>>When, and why was this museum started?


Michelle  Speight>>Great question, Amelia


Robert  Hall>>We have two floors.  One for exhibitions and another for offices. The museum started in 1967 in another building that is about one mile from where we now are.  That building was built as a movie theater.


Ms.  Lauderdale>>I have a question


Michelle  Speight>>Go ahead Ms. Lauderdale


Michelle  Speight>>Taylor has a question


Nick  Parkdale>>Do you like your job?


Ms.  Lauderdale>>Will the African American Museum for Culture that the Smithsonian will be building be apart of the Anacostia museum?


Taylor  Brentwood>>About how many people visit the museum each day?


Michelle  Speight>>Great questions Nick and Taylor


Robert  Hall>>Yes, I do like my job.  We're not sure about our part in the building of the new museum, yet.


Michelle  Speight>>Harum, do you have a question?


Harum  Brentwood>>yes


Michelle  Speight>>Go ahead, Harum


Robert  Hall>>On average, about 100 visit each day.  Most of our visitors come during February, which is Black History Month.


Harum  Brentwood>>What is your favorite part in being in the Anacostia museum?


Michelle  Speight>>Great question Harum.


Robert  Hall>>I like to talk with people and find out what they know about history.  Sometimes they have very interesting stories.


Michelle  Speight>>I bet they do!


Michelle  Speight>>Ciara, do you have a question?


Ciara  Parkdale>>Who do you work with?


Robert  Hall>>I work with other educators, designers, directors, and even the security people.  We also work a lot with volunteers who help us do mailings and give tours.


Robert  Hall>>I also work with teachers.  I can't forget them.


Michelle  Speight>>Daniel, do you have a question?


Daniel  Brentwood>>I asked a question.


Michelle  Speight>>Go for it Daniel!


Ms.  Lauderdale>>Michelle, the students are preparing for lunch at this time. so we are going to log off. Thanks. The students were so excited! Including me.


Michelle  Speight>>Do you have question before you go?


Ms.  Lauderdale>>Bye from Bruce-Monroe


Michelle  Speight>>Bye Bruce-Monroe!


Michelle  Speight>>Robert, how do you collect your artifacts?


Robert  Hall>>Maybe later, we can talk more about starting a museum.


Michelle  Speight>>Taylor, do you have another question?


Robert  Hall>>We get artifacts from many great people.  Many families and individuals, even churches.


Michelle  Speight>>How do you let people know what you need for your museum?


Robert  Hall>>Some times we buy them.


Taylor  Brentwood>>what is the oldest thing in the museum? how old is it?


Michelle  Speight>>Go ahead with your question Amelia


Amelia  Brentwood>>What is the most expensive item in the museum, and how much is it worth?\


Robert  Hall>>We place information on bulletins and in our calendars and we ask people as we see them.


Michelle  Speight>>Robert, did you see Taylor and Amelia's questions?


Robert  Hall>>We have a few works of art that are valuable.  We also have a fur coat once belonging to singer Marian Anderson.  Because of our policy, I am not about to reveal value, sorry.  Let's just say that they are very important.


Amelia  Brentwood>>alright!


Michelle  Speight>>Harum has a question, go ahead Harum


Harum  Brentwood>>What is the newest item in the museum, how new is it?     


Robert  Hall>>We have Indian artifacts-spear heads- that go back hundreds of years.


Eden  Parkdale>>what do you do in your job Robert?


Robert  Hall>>We are getting in the photographs and papers of a local arts organization and a local black business.


Michelle  Speight>>Eden, can you ask your question again?


Robert  Hall>>Thanks, I may have missed it with the shutdown.


Eden  Parkdale>>What do you do in your job Robert?


Sam  Parkdale>>Whatís your favourite exhibit?


Michelle  Speight>>Great question Eden


Lucas  Parkdale>>do you think there are better jobs?


Robert  Hall>>I am a museum educator.  This means that I write books, conduct tours, supervise a staff of four, develop programs for the public, and get to talk with interesting people from Canada.


Michelle  Speight>>Cool


Eden  Parkdale>>cool Robert


Michelle  Speight>>Nick, do you have a question?


Nick  Parkdale>>Do you go behind the scenes a lot?


Robert  Hall>>There probably are better jobs, but I'm pretty happy doing what I do.


Robert  Hall>>Yes, I sometime work with those who do design and exhibition work.  Actually, my office is behind the scenes.


Nick  Parkdale>>cool


Sam  Parkdale>>Robert what about my question


Robert  Hall>>I'm sorry, what did you ask?


Amelia  Brentwood>>I think we have to leave now!


Amelia  Brentwood>>goodbye!


Harum  Brentwood>>bye everyone


Robert  Hall>>Take care.


Michelle  Speight>>Okay Brentwood!  Talk to you soon!


Sam  Parkdale>>What is your favourite exhibit?


Michelle  Speight>>We have five more minutes before we need to stop, everyone.


Robert  Hall>>I have had many.  I especially liked the exhibitions on the black church, black inventors, and dance.  The one that we now have on slavery is very good.


Michelle  Speight>>I wonder if you would mind telling everyone what the underground railway was


Bryce  Parkdale>>o.k


Ciara  Parkdale>>ok Miss Speight


Lucas  Parkdale>>do you think there are better jobs?


Robert  Hall>>The Underground Railroad was a secret route that slaves used to escape to the North.  Many times they traveled by night.


Sam  Parkdale>>cool


Robert  Hall>>There probably are better jobs, but I'm pretty happy with mine.


Eden  Parkdale>>who built it?


Michelle  Speight>>Who built the railroad... is that what you meant Eden?


Eden  Parkdale>>yes


Robert  Hall>>The Underground Railroad was not an actual railroad.  It was a secret route that a few people knew about.


Robert  Hall>>People usually walked the railroad.


Lucas  Parkdale>>no


Eden  Parkdale>>was it under ground


Michelle  Speight>>Robert,. the children in our class are building their own museum.  Maybe we can share it with you one day!


Robert  Hall>>No, it was "on" the ground.  It was called "underground" because it was a secret.


Robert  Hall>>I look forward to hearing more about it.  Thanks.


Eden  Parkdale>>thank you


Michelle  Speight>>Well everyone!  We have to get going!  Recess is almost here!


Michelle  Speight>>I really want to thank  you Richard.


Robert  Hall>>Have a good day and weekend.


Michelle  Speight>>I hope all of the technical problems didn't drive you too  crazy!


Michelle  Speight>>All of our pen pals live in Chicago and are African American.  I think this was very helpful for the children.


Robert  Hall>>Would you believe that this is my first chat room experience.  Shhhh.


Michelle  Speight>>Can everyone please say thank you to Robert?


Lucas  Parkdale>>thank-you Robert


Robert  Hall>>You're very welcome.


Eden  Parkdale>>thank you Robert


Bryce  Parkdale>>thank you Robert


Sam  Parkdale>>thank you Robert


Eden  Parkdale>>Robert are you African American?


Robert  Hall>>Yes, I am.


Bryce  Parkdale>>bye


Ciara  Parkdale>>than you for coming


Michelle  Speight>>Goodbye Robert, I will be in touch.  I can't thank you enough


Robert  Hall>>My pleasure.


Jared  Parkdale>>thank you


Robert  Hall>>Have a good one.


Nick  Parkdale>>thank you Robert!


Robert  Hall>>Goodbye to all of you.




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Last updated July 25, 2003