Family Programs

Family Program
Reading into History: Capital Days: Michael Shiner’s Journal and the Growth of Our Nation’s Capital by Tonya Bolden
Sunday, February 7th, 2016 | 2:00 pm

Come meet award-winning author Tonya Bolden and discuss history from the burning of Washington, D.C. during the War of 1812 to the outbreak of Civil War, as told through one man’s journal. At the meeting, we’ll discuss how Michael Shiner, born a slave who later purchased his freedom, chronicled the development of our capital city through his diary. After discussion, we’ll explore some rare and precious journals and first-hand accounts from African Americans of the 18th and 19th centuries in the N-YHS library.

About Capital Days

Michael Shiner may have been keenly aware that he was a witness to history, but we’ll never know if he had an idea of how useful his journal would be to the people of the 21st century. In this non-fiction book, expert researcher and history storyteller Tonya Bolden explores how Washington, D.C. grew into a major center for political life through the eyes of an everyday person. After purchasing his freedom from slavery, Shiner worked at the Washington Navy Yard for much of his life, recounting such events as the laying of the cornerstone for the Washington Monument and the inaugurations of 11 presidents. Readers will develop a clear picture of Shiner’s life and surroundings through Bolden’s rich, detailed prose.

About the Reading into History Family Book Club
Each month families read a historical fiction or nonfiction book together at home, then attend a Book Wrap event where they will share reactions to the book, see cool museum artifacts and documents related to the book, and meet other history detectives and special guests! Past special guests have included authors Walter Dean Myers, Avi, and Rita Williams-Garcia, plus museum curators, historians, and other experts.


This program is supported by

Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Please contact for more information and pricing.




Birthday Parties information: download as pdf 

Creative: Tronvig Group