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Sunny Nash Fulfills Carnegie Installment

December 9, 2015

Photographers can learn from curator, Sunny Nash, how to research, restore and reproduce historical photographs and documents to create image archives for digital preservation formats and online exhibitions.


Sunny Nash installed historical materials at the Carnegie History Center in Bryan, Texas, through a grant from the East Texas Historical Association (ETHA) pertaining to her study, The Peterson Legacy: Images & Words, an oral history and exhibition of antique photographs, military records, deeds and marriage licenses, which were displayed last year at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

Lock 5 Volumes

Five Hard Cover Volumes Peterson Papers, Documentation & Research

ETHA established the Ottis Lock Endowment Award and Research Grant in 1984 to commemorate Ottis Lock for lifelong interest in the history, heritage and folklore of East Texas. The grant allows expansion of a contribution by research team, headed by Shawn Carlson, of which Nash and Sue Winton Moss were members, at the Texas A&M University Center for Environmental Archaeology, commissioned in 1993 by the State of Texas. Nash conducted oral history interviews, restored and reproduced historic photographs and papers; collected genealogical data, ancestral memorabilia, military records, deeds, marriage licenses, letters and church history; and conducted an Ancestry “Case Study: From Oral History to Excavation,” which qualified Nash for the Lock grant for further research on the rural East Texas landowners.

Peterson Lifeways book cover

African-American Lifeways in East-Central Texas

The final, African-American Lifeways in East-Central Texas: The Ned Peterson Farmstead, helped facilitate nomination of the 19th Century Peterson farmstead to the National Register of Historic Places in Washington D.C. “The research is a micro-cosmic examination of rural black life–19th Century through the present,” Nash said. To attract global online audiences to this historical study, Nash will employ the principles of the emerging discipline—visual literacy—a teachable set of skills that enables a person to understand a subject by viewing photographs, documents, illustrations, charts and graphs.

Sunny Nash - Peterson Exhibition at Bush Pres. Library

George H.W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum “The Peterson Legacy”  Curated by Sunny Nash

Nash introduced plans to create an exhibition of her research in a speech to the College Station Historic Preservation Committee, and received a Lock grant this year to enhance the exhibition with discussion aids, handbook, online scholarly research guide, and five volumes of original research documents, which are now at the Carnegie.

“Combined with text, visuals and oral history have intrinsic qualities to allow more critical examination, extraction and interpretation of meaning,” Nash said. “And pique viewers’ curiosity in a shared past, present and future. The Lock research grant allows me to become part of that future in attracting global online audiences to the study of history.”

Sunny Nash earned a Bachelor of Arts, School of Journalism, Texas A&M University; Graduate Certificate, Instructional Technology, University of California, San Diego; Adjunct Professor Specialization, Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications, Arizona State University; Professional Development, igital & Visual Literacy, Simmons Graduate School of Library & Information Science.

Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's

Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s

Nash’s book, Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s, about life with her part-Comanche grandmother during the Civil Rights Movement was selected by the Association of American University Presses for its value to understanding U.S. race relations; and the Miami-Dade Public Library System recommends Nash’s book for Native American collections. Women in Photography International recognizes Nash for photographs collected for the Smithsonian Exhibition and international tour, Reflections in Black. A resident of Southern California, Nash is a three-time winner of Arts Council for Long Beach (California) Artist Fellowships (2003, 2009, 2014).


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