Black History Month or African American History month is a celebration of African Americans’ role in the U.S. The blood sweat, tears, and lives of African Americans have literally built this country. Of course, there is more to Blacks in America than slavery and Jim Crow. We are inventors, award winners, record breakers, politicians, medical professionals, entrepreneurs, artists, activists, and so much more.
I love learning about black history while traveling internationally but there are a lot of museums focused on African American History in the U.S. If you want to know more about blacks in America or want to share more about African American heritage, here’s a list of African American museums promoting black history to visit.
African American Museum in Philadelphia
The African American Museum in Philadelphia is the first institution built by a major United States city to showcase the life and work of African Americans. In addition to sharing stories on how African Americans contributed to America’s founding, it includes a hands-on exhibit for children to explore the daily lives of children in Philadelphia during the slavery and reconstruction era. Visit AAMPmuseum.org for more information
National Civil Rights Museum
Located at the former Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, TN, the National Civil Rights Museum is built around the site of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination. Permanent exhibits include topics on slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the rise of Jim Crow events during the Civil Rights movement that leads to change within America. Learn more at CivilRightsMuseum.org
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
Located in Kansas City, MO, The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum showcases the story of the founding of the Negro Leagues Baseball during the times of segregation and features more than Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Satchel Paige, and Hank Aaron. Take a tour to see artifacts, photos, and statues of Negro League players from the late 1800s to the 1960s. Learn more at NLBM.com.
The National Voting Rights Museum and Institute
The National Voting Rights Museum is located in Selma, Alabama, a pivotal site in the Voting Rights Movement. Located at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the museum includes exhibits that remind visitors, old and young the struggle people went through to obtain voting rights almost 100 years after the 15th Amendment which granted African American men the right to vote. For current visiting hours and costs, visit NVRMI.com.
New Orleans African American Museum
I really wish I knew about this during my weekend in New Orleans, but I guess it’s an excuse to go back. The New Orleans African American Museum of Art, Culture, and History focuses on the cultural history of blacks within New Orleans, particularly in the Tremé community. You can visit NOAAM.org or their Facebook Page for more information.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is located in Cincinnati, OH, and focuses on the accomplishments of the men, women, and children involved in the assistance of freeing thousands of slaves. It also includes awareness of modern-day slavery and human trafficking within America. For more information about special and permanent exhibits, visit Freedomcenter.org
National Great Blacks In Wax Museum
Located in Baltimore, Maryland, the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum was the first wax museum of African American history in the United States. It displays exhibits we all know and learn of in school, but also includes little-known facts, encouraging visitors to gain an interest in African American history. Learn more at Greatblacksinwax.org
Northwest African American Museum
The Northwest African American Museum’s mission is to “…spread knowledge, understanding, and enjoyment of the histories, arts, and cultures of people of African descent for the enrichment of all.” Located in Seattle Washington, the museum features programs and exhibits of African Americans within the Northwest through the arts and writing. Learn more at NAAMNW.org
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Located in midtown Detroit, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is the world’s largest institution dedicated to the African American experience. The museum was founded as a guide to educate visitors on the achievements of African Americans throughout the years and the overall celebration of black culture. For more information, visit TheWright.org
National Museum of African American History and Culture
The National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC celebrates the diversity of African Americans and our contributions made to building the nation. Visit NMAAHC.SI.edu for tickets and more information.
10 MORE Museums…
This post on museums focused on African American History has done so well within the past few months. In celebration of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture opening, I’ve added ten more black history museums to visit. Based on feedback from travel groups and it being syndicated in the Huffington Post, here are some of the best African American museums promoting black history in the US.
DuSable Museum of African American History – Chicago, IL
The DuSable Museum of African American History was founded in 1961 by Dr. Margaret Taylor-Burroughs and other leaders in Chicago. This museum was created to preserve and interpret the experiences and achievements of people of African descent. The DuSable Museum contains more than 15,000 pieces that include paintings, sculptures, print works, and historical memorabilia. The name originates from Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, a Haitian of African and French descent, who in 1779 established the trading post and permanent settlement which would become known as Chicago. Learn more at DuSableMuseum.org.
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute – Birmingham, Alabama
Opened in 1992, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is one of the best African American museums and research centers that showcases the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement. It is located in the Civil Rights District, which includes the 16th Street Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park, Fourth Avenue Business District, and Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. BCRI’s mission is to enlighten each generation about civil and human rights by exploring our common past and working together in the present to build a better future. Learn more at BCRI.org.
California African American Museum – Los Angeles, California
The California African American Museum opened to the public during the 1984 Olympic Games. CAAM’s mission is to research, collect, preserve, and interpret for public enrichment the history, art, and culture of African Americans with an emphasis on California and the western United States.
Learn more at CAAMuseum.org.
The African American Civil War Memorial and Museum – Washington, D.C.
I visited The African American Civil War Memorial and Museum on my trip to DC back in 2015. Its mission is to tell the stories of the United States Colored Troops and African American involvement in the American Civil War. It is located directly across the street from the African American Civil War Memorial and admission is free for individuals and groups. Learn more at afroamcivilwar.org.
National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum and Hall of Fame – Fort Worth, TX
Originally named the National Cowboys of Color Museum, the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum was founded on February 1, 2001, by Fort Worth, Texas, husband and wife team Jim and Gloria Austin. It acknowledges the contributions of individuals of Hispanic, Native, European, Asian, and African descent to the settlement in Western America. There is a Hall of Fame and permanent exhibits highlighting the Buffalo Soldiers and Tuskegee Airmen and more. Learn more at CowboysofColor.org.
George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center – Austin, TX
The George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center offers gallery exhibits, programs, and classes dedicated to collecting, preserving, and researching African-American historical and cultural material. The museum is owned and operated by the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, History Arts Nature Division. Learn more about current exhibits at Carvermuseum.org.
African American Diversity Cultural Center Hawaii – Honolulu, HI
Until 1997, no institution had included the history of people of the African diaspora population in Hawaii. The African American Diversity Cultural Center Hawaii was created to preserve the history of Hawaiian African early settlers and their descendants. Learn more at aadcch.org.
Old Slave Mart Museum – Charleston, SC
The Old Slave Mart Museum is one of the first black history museums in the United States. It was built in 1859 and is considered the last surviving slave auction gallery in South Carolina. The Old Slave Mart Museum contains artifacts, posters, and items from the slave trade. Many staff members can even trace their history to that of former slaves sold in this area. Learn more at OldSlaveMartMuseum.org.
Whitney Plantation – Wallace, LA
In 2014, the Whitney Plantation opened for the first time in its 262-year history. It is the only plantation museum in Louisiana with a focus on slavery and is meant to pay homage to all slaves on the plantation. Learn more at WhitneyPlantation.org.
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture – New York City, NY
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is a research library that consists of three connected buildings: The Schomburg Building, the Langston Hughes Building, and the Landmark Building. It also sponsors programs and events that promote and educate visitors on African American culture and history. Visit their official site for more information.
I hope this list of museums focused on African American history inspires you to pay them a visit on your next solo, group, or family trip. If you found this list of African American museums promoting black history helpful, share it with your social community.
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13 thoughts on “20 Museums Focused on African American History”
Great info! I have been to 3 places on your list.
Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, MS is a relatively new museum that is with visiting. Allow a full day to get through the entire museum.
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Oh this list is wonderful. I’ll have to see if there are any near me. I would think the major cities in this country would all have one. Shoot every city needs at least one.
so great. ill be sure to use this as a resource as i hit the museums this summer!
I’ll be using this as a resource when the summer rolls around and its time to hit the museums. THANKS!
Oh wow! What an amazing list. I too didn’t realize there are so many museums in honor of black history. I was looking / searching for something in Florida and Georgia. Didn’t see.
I don’t remember seeing anything in Florida, but I know for sure ATL has Dr King’s home as a museum.
On this list I’ve only been to the first wax museum of African American history in the United States in Baltimore. I’ve been going since I was a kid, and I’ve even taken my own kid.
I am looking forward to the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC. It is only 5 minutes from my job.
I went to the wax museum in JHS, but I definitely want to go back.
Milwaukee WI has one…
It’s crazy how many of these I had never even heard of! I want to visit each and every one of them. Thanks for sharing.
What a terrific resource! Thanks so much for sharing. African American history is so vital to this country but so often overlooked.