Austen Thibault, The Union Democrat

A Sonora artifact is going to be the center display piece in one of the founding exhibits at the Smithsonian Institution's newest museum.

A Smithsonian museum curator, Paul Gardullo, has been gathering the history of African Americans in the Mother Lode this week for the National Museum of African American History and Culture - under construction right now in Washington, D.C.

He was connected with local collector Gerald Howard, who will donate a "stitching pony," to the founding collection of the new museum. The pony, also called a stitching tree and other names, is a workbench of sorts used to make harnesses for animals.

This particular one was used by the Sugg family - a prominent black pioneer family with deep roots in Sonora. It was likely used to make harnesses about 100 years ago.

"It's a rich story," Gardullo said of the Sugg family and their life in the area.

For the complete story, see the July 24, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

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