Nationally, Dames programs focus on research, preservation, restoration, and education in support of fine arts, portraiture, decorative arts, oral histories, and genealogy.
- American paintings and portraits. In the early 1970s NSCDA's Historical Activities Committee undertook a Portrait Survey to help provide the Smithsonian's National Museum of American Art with an inventory of early portraits. For more information and a gallery of featured paintings and portraits, visit the NSCDA website's American Paintings and Portraits page here.
- Samplers. Girls and young women in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries created samplers and pictorial embroideries. Surviving examples illuminate our understanding of social history, women's culture, and women's education. In 1921 Massachusetts Dames Ethel Stanwood Bolton and Eva Johnston Coe published American Samplers, a listing of 2,500 samplers that remains a comprehensive resource for the study of pictorial embroideries and samplers. The NSCDA website's Samplers page has pictures from the notebooks assembled by Bolton and Coe in creating their book, as well as additional resources for learning about samplers and a gallery of sampler images.
- Ancestor biographies. NSCDA has more than 9,900 qualifying ancestors--men and women who provided distinguished service in government, the military, religion, and education during the colonial period. Present-day Dames members have documented their descent from one or more of these qualifying passengers. A sample collection of brief biographies is available here.
- Ancestor bibliography register. NSCDA maintains a register of ancestor bibliographies on its website. This work in progress includes a list of resources for learning more about colonial ancestors and their descendants.
- Oral histories. Stories are one of the most effective ways to make American history come alive. NSCDA's Oral History project is recording stories and making them available on the NSCDA website's Oral Histories page.
Minnesota Dames are compiling stories of their ancestors. We will be sharing these stories here on our website's History Sketches page
as they become available.