The African American Museum in Philadelphia is one of the city’s finest institutions. Its mission, which it accomplishes with great intelligence, is to help preserve, interpret, and showcase the heritage of African Americans. Here’s what we love about this fascinating museum—and why everyone visiting Philadelphia should step inside its front doors.
The first thing to know about The African American Museum in Philadelphia, is its history as a groundbreaking and progressive facility. When it opened in 1976, it was the first institution built by any major U.S. city dedicated to African American culture and heritage. On its website, the museum states its mission as, “The African American Museum in Philadelphia brings diverse communities together in greater appreciation of the Black experience through the combined narrative of art, culture, and historical witness.”
The promise holds true in its past, current, and upcoming exhibitions. Having just closed in January was the powerful Cotton: The Soft, Dangerous Beauty of the Past—a collection of large-scale photographs of cotton fields and lesser known depictions of slavery in places like New York. There’s also Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776-1876, which recounts the contributions and stories of African Americans here in our nation’s first century.
The African American Museum in Philadelphia is home to a number of truly unique and breathtaking pieces. Among them? The Jack T. Franklin Collection comprises over 500,000 negatives that the photographer donated to the museum in 1986. A war and newspaper photographer, Franklin captured some of the most seminal images of the Civil Rights Movement.
Like any great museum, The African American Art Museum in Philadelphia is home to an excellent and diverse events calendar. Check it out to discover happenings like family-fun days, film screenings, lectures, discussions, performances, and more.
Planning a visit to the City of Brotherly Love? Check out The Independent Hotel’s blog for our favorite recommendations of what to see and experience in Philadelphia.