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LA Unified's historical collection: from Mesopotamian artifacts to report cards

A report card from 1896 is just one of more than 30,000 items archived within LA Unified's Art and Artifact Collection.
A report card from 1896 is just one of more than 30,000 items archived within LA Unified's Art and Artifact Collection. @LASchools

If you've ever wanted to check whether your great-great-grandmother really was a straight-A student, you may be in luck.

The Los Angeles Unified School District has a public archive of more than 30,000 historical items that date back to 1855, when the district's first school opened. And it includes some report cards.

The Art and Artifact Collection contains a wide variety of items gathered throughout L.A. Unified's history: paintings, sculptures, photographs, antique furniture and even ancient Greek, Roman, Etruscan and Mesopotamian artifacts. 

The collection also includes old academic records, including a report card from 1896-1897. It's for then-fifth grader Grace Sutherland, whose best subject seems to have been Geography.

It also gives a peek into evolving academic philosophy. One of the stranger subjects is "Sloyd," which apparently is an educational system based on woodworking. You can read more about it in an old Woodwork Magazine article

The collection is housed in offices at 1330 W. Pico Blvd., but it's only viewable on Fridays and by appointment.

L.A. Unified tweeted a photo of Sutherland's report card yesterday and an official said more artifact photos are on the way.

"The tweeted report card is just a tease of what we have," said district spokeswoman Monica Carazo. 

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