List of African American Museums

By John Misachi on December 12 2019 in Society

The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. BrianPIrwin / Shutterstock.com.

The African American museums in the United States focus mainly on the history and culture of the African American people. The museums were created with a mission of collecting and preserving African-derived culture and history. The Collage Museum was the first African American museum in the US, established in 1868 in Hampton, Virginia. Today, there are 109 such museums across the country. Here are some of the notable museums within the US focused on African American history.

Notable African American Museums

Slave Mart Museum

The Old Slave Mart Museum has been operating since 1938, making it the oldest existing African America museum in the US. Located in Charleston, South Carolina, the Old Slave Mart was a slave auctioning gallery. The building was constructed in 1859 and is considered as the last slave auction facility in the state of South Carolina. Miriam B Wilson purchased the building in 1938 and established a museum which initially displayed African-American art. The Old Slave Mart was purchased and restored by the City of Charleston in the 1990s and now interprets the history of the slave trade in the city.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Smithsonian’s NMAAHC in Washington DC is the largest African American museum in the US. After years of efforts to have an African-American museum owned by the federal government, the museum was established in 2003 but was opened to the public in 2016. The building covers an area of approximately 350,000 square feet and has 10 floors (five below and five above the ground). It has a collection of about 40,000 objects but only 3,500 objects are on display.

African American Museum in Philadelphia

The African American Museum in Philadelphia was the first to be funded and built by a major city to preserve and display the heritage of the African American people. Apart from sharing stories on how the African Americans contributed to the founding of America, it also has exhibits for children to help them learn about the daily lives of the Philadelphian’s children during slavery. The AAMP is located a few meters away from the Liberty Bell and was opened in 1976. It has an auditorium and four galleries. The exhibitions in the museum are centered on three dominant themes; the Philadelphia Story, the African Diaspora, and the Contemporary Narrative.

National Voting Rights Museum

The National Voting Rights Museum is located in Selma, Alabama and was opened to the public in 1993. It is situated near the Edmund Pettus Bridge which was an important site for the Voting Rights Movement. The museum contains exhibits and testimonies of activists who took part in the events that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Acts of 1965.

National Civil Rights Museum

The National Civil Rights Museum is located around the site of the famous Lorraine Motel the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr took place. the Memphis-based museum was opened in 1991 and contains exhibits that showcase the history of civil rights movement in the US. The NCRM became a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum in October 2016.

States by Number of African American Museums

Only 33 states in the US have African American museums. With 10 museums, Florida has the highest number of African American museums, followed by Alabama and Louisiana with 8 such museums each. Maryland and New York have 7 African American museums. California (6), Georgia (6), Texas (5), and Virginia (5) also have a notable number of the museums.

List of African American Museums

RankMuseum NameCityStateYear
1Slave Mart MuseumCharlestonSouth Carolina1938
2George Washington Carver Museum, TheTuskegeeAlabama1941
3African American Museum in Cleveland, TheClevelandOhio1956
4Mary McLeod Bethune HomeDaytona BeachFlorida1956
5DuSable Museum of African American HistoryChicagoIllinois1960
6Frederick Douglass National Historic SiteWashingtonD.C.1962
7Museum of African American History & Abiel Smith SchoolBostonMassachusetts1964
8Charles H. Wright Museum of African American HistoryDetroitMichigan1965
9Anacostia MuseumWashingtonD.C.1967
10Studio Museum in HarlemNew York City (Manhattan)New York1968
11National Center of Afro-American ArtistsRoxburyMassachusetts1969
12African American Museum of Nassau CountyHempsteadNew York1970
13Black American West Museum & Heritage CenterDenverColorado1971
14African American MuseumDallasTexas1974
15Harvey B. Gantt CenterCharlotteNorth Carolina1974
16Great Plains Black History MuseumOmahaNebraska1975
17African American Museum in PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaPennsylvania1976
18Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center and MuseumTallahasseeFlorida1976
19Anne Spencer House and Garden MuseumLynchburgVirginia1977
20APEX (African American Panoramic Experience) MuseumAtlantaGeorgia1978
21Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic SiteWashingtonD.C.1979
22George Washington Carver MuseumPhoenixArizona1980
23George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural CenterAustinTexas1980
24California African American MuseumLos AngelesCalifornia1981
25Tubman African American MuseumMaconGeorgia1981
26Great Blacks in Wax MuseumBaltimoreMaryland1983
27Afro-American Historical and Cultural Society MuseumJersey CityNew Jersey1984
28Banneker-Douglass MuseumAnnapolisMaryland1984
29Smith-Robertson Museum and Cultural CenterJacksonMississippi1984
30Alexandria Black History MuseumAlexandriaVirginia1987
31National Afro-American Museum and Cultural CenterWilberforceOhio1987
32Tuskegee Airmen National MuseumDetroitMichigan1987
33America's Black Holocaust MuseumMilwaukeeWisconsin1988
34Black History Museum and Cultural Center of VirginiaRichmondVirginia1988
35Bontemps African American MuseumAlexandriaLouisiana1988
36Hammonds House MuseumAtlantaGeorgia1988
37New Orleans African American MuseumNew OrleansLouisiana1988
38Alabama State Black Archives Research Center and MuseumHuntsvilleAlabama1990
39Negro Leagues Baseball MuseumKansas CityMissouri1990
40Delta Cultural CenterHelenaArkansas1991
41John E. Rogers African American Cultural CenterHartfordConnecticut1991
42Natchez Museum of African American History and CultureNatchezMississippi1991
43National Civil Rights MuseumMemphisTennessee1991
44National Voting Rights MuseumSelmaAlabama1991
45Birmingham Civil Rights InstituteBirminghamAlabama1992
46National African American Archives and MuseumMobileAlabama1992
47African American Museum and Library at OaklandOaklandCalifornia1994
48African American Museum of the ArtsDeLandFlorida1994
49Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Heritage MuseumMonroeLouisiana1994
50River Road African American MuseumDonaldsonvilleLouisiana1994
51Sandy Ground Historical MuseumNew York City (Staten Island)New York1994
52A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter MuseumChicagoIllinois1995
53Arthur "Smokestack" Hardy Fire MuseumBaltimoreMaryland1995
54Black History 101 Mobile MuseumDetroitMichigan1995
55Idaho Black History MuseumBoiseIdaho1995
56Old Dillard MuseumFort LauderdaleFlorida1995
57John G. Riley Center/Museum of African American History and CultureTallahasseeFlorida1996
58Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site Visitors CenterAtlantaGeorgia1996
59African American Firefighter MuseumLos AngelesCalifornia1997
60African American Museum of Southern IllinoisCarbondaleIllinois1997
61Griot Museum of Black History, TheSt. LouisMissouri1997
62Kansas African-American MuseumWichitaKansas1997
63Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and MuseumOellaMaryland1998
64African American Civil War Memorial MuseumWashingtonD.C.1999
65LaVilla MuseumJacksonvilleFlorida1999
66Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage MuseumNew Smyrna BeachFlorida1999
67MoCADANew York City (Brooklyn)New York1999
68Buffalo Soldiers National MuseumHoustonTexas2000
69Legacy Museum of African American HistoryLynchburgVirginia2000
70Oran Z's Black Facts and Wax MuseumLos AngelesCalifornia2000
71Rosa Parks MuseumMontgomeryAlabama2000
72Odell S. Williams Now And Then African-American MuseumBaton RougeLouisiana2001
73Wells' Built MuseumOrlandoFlorida2001
74African-American Research Library and Cultural CenterFort LauderdaleFlorida2002
75African American Museum of IowaCedar RapidsIowa2003
76Louis Armstrong HouseNew York City (Queens)New York2003
77Dorchester Academy and MuseumMidwayGeorgia2004
78Lewis H. Latimer HouseNew York City (Queens)New York2004
79National Underground Railroad Freedom CenterCincinnatiOhio2004
80Paul R. Jones Collection of African American ArtNewarkDelaware2004
81African American Multicultural MuseumScottsdaleArizona2005
82L.E. Coleman African-American MuseumHalifax County, VirginiaVirginia2005
83Muhammad Ali CenterLouisvilleKentucky2005
84Museum of the African DiasporaSan FranciscoCalifornia2005
85Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & CultureBaltimoreMaryland2005
86Tangipahoa African American Heritage MuseumHammondLouisiana2005
87Weeksville Heritage CenterNew York City (Brooklyn)New York2005
88Brazos Valley African American MuseumBryanTexas2006
89Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History MuseumSt. PetersburgFlorida2006
90Mosaic Templars Cultural CenterLittle RockArkansas2008
91Northwest African American MuseumSeattleWashington2008
92Tuskegee Airmen National Historic SiteTuskegeeAlabama2008
93Clemson Area African American MuseumClemsonSouth Carolina2010
94International Civil Rights Center and MuseumGreensboroNorth Carolina2010
95Mayme A. Clayton Library and MuseumCulver CityCalifornia2010
96Prince George's African American Museum and Cultural CenterNorth BrentwoodMaryland2010
97Springfield and Central Illinois African-American History MuseumSpringfieldIllinois2012
98National Museum of African American MusicNashvilleTennessee2013
99National Center for Civil and Human RightsAtlantaGeorgia2014
100Whitney PlantationSt. John the Baptist ParishLouisiana2014
101Bertha Lee Strickland Cultural MuseumSenecaSouth Carolina2015
102National Museum of African American History and CultureWashingtonD.C.2016
103Black Cowboy MuseumRosenbergTexas2017
104Finding Our Roots African American MuseumHoumaLouisiana2017
105Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor CenterChurch CreekMaryland2017
106Mississippi Civil Rights MuseumJacksonMississippi2017
107Willam V. Banks Broadcast MuseumDetroitMichigan2017
108The Legacy MuseumMontgomeryAlabama2018
109Rural African American MuseumOpelousasLouisiana2018
110International African American MuseumCharlestonSouth Carolina2019 (anticipated)

More in Society