History Detectives: WPA Murals & Washington Portrait
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History Detectives: WPA Murals & Washington Portrait

Saturday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m.

When a Bend, Oregon, woman inherited six large paintings created by her aunt, Thelma Johnson Streat, she believed she'd been given a special window into American history.

She believes they were mural studies commissioned by the WPA in the 1930s or 1940s.The color illustrations depict contributions of African Americans in the fields of medicine, transportation and industry.

Then, a Greenville, Ohio, man was sorting through documents stored above one of Manhattan's first taverns when he stumbled across a miniature color painting of a man in profile labeled "G. Washington." On the back of the portrait, he found the inscription, "Property of White Matlack. New York, 1790." The historic tavern and museum sits just steps away from the old City Hall building on Wall Street where George Washington took his oath of office in 1789.