The excursion to the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), a Smithsonian Institution Museum in Washington D.C. by Time for Me Inc., was a great success, according to Marcia Harris, founder of TOFM.
“The Time Out for Me, Inc. educational trip to the Smithsonian African American Museum was a great success,” Harris said. “Bryan Sieling, Chief of Design, at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C., was excited to meet with Time Out for Me, and gave a special Introduction session prior to exploring the museum. Bryan, a native of Portsmouth, Ohio, met with the nonprofit group again at closing time to present gifts to all. This was a great unexpected honor for the group.”
Harris said she greatly appreciates the team of adult supervisors who were a part of the trip, as well as a host of other local support received.
“I want to give a special thanks to our team of supervisors. Maureen Cadogan, who “started the ball rolling”, according to Harris, as well as Gary Hairston, Andrew Carter, Phil McCartis, Corey Johnson, and Annette Oglesby,” Harris said. “This project would not have been successful without the support of parents, committee members, and local businesses.”
Hairston, one of the TOFM supervisors on the trip, said details regarding how the NMAAHC was established surprised him.
“I was surprised to learn that the Museum is a part of the Smithsonian Museum as a whole, I did not know that, I thought that it was an independent entity. I also learned that the money that was raised came from private donations, and they said Oprah Winfrey donated 13 million dollars,” Hairston said. “So, I did not know that it was part of the Smithsonian Museum, so that was very impressive.”
There was so much to see Hairston said, but the trip was very much the time and effort.
“It was awe-inspiring. I’ve told people that if you get a chance to go out there and visit the Museum that it will put a smile on their face, and a tear down your cheek just seeing all of the exhibits,” Hairston said. “I think that the children were a bit overwhelmed by it all, it was a lot to see it one day, but all in all it was well worth the trip. I am glad that I played a small role in it. My wife came with us, and we talked about going back again if the opportunity presents itself.”
Cadogan, who also served as supervisor on the trip, said every detail of the trip was simply amazing.
“A good time was had by all. It was great from start to finish,” Cadogan said. “It was just amazing the way that it came together so quickly. When God is in the picture, truly it will work out. When we got off the bus at the Museum there was a long line, but we were escorted from the line to the entrance and just went straight in. When we got inside Bryan Sieling met us, was right there waiting for us and took us into a theater and gave us a brief overview, and then he took us and started the tour
Cadogan said each of the 30 people in the TOFM group was given a gift bag by Sieling valued approximately between $50 to $75, containing a souvenir book and book marks.
“It was just great. We learned so much. I pride myself on knowing my Black History, but I learned some things myself, so it was just amazing,”Cadogan said. “I saw one of the children tear up, and saw a lot of them cringe when we saw the KKK exhibit. Some stood with their mouths open, and some were hurt, and some just looked. I was told by the parents that one of the children came home and told his parents about this, so this exhibit really impacted his mind. We just hope that the children just realize that they too can make a difference.”
Harris expressed appreciation to everyone who helped make the trip a reality.
“We are so thankful to all who provided support A special thanks to Papa John’s Pizza and The 14th Street Community Center, and CB Hermann of Portsmouth Insurance Agency, Inc,. show continued interest in our community youth events,” Harris said.
For additional comments or questions on how to become involved our program contact Marcia Harris, Program Director at 740-353-8056.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-464-3862, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.