For this week, I decided to focus on the International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina, which isn’t open quite yet, but grand opening is on June 27, 2023.  It features empathetic storytelling of American history and is thus “one of the nation’s newest platforms for the disruption of institutionalized racism as it evolves today.” The museum will open with more than 700 artifacts dating from 17th century to contemporary objects, alongside 1000 image and media collection pieces.

“The International African American Museum will explore cultures and knowledge systems retained and adapted by Africans in the Americas, and the diverse journeys and achievements of these individuals and their descendants in South Carolina, the United States, and throughout the African Diaspora.”

The museum’s opening date coincides with Juneteenth, the annual commemoration of the day in 1865 when 250,000 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, finally learned that they had been freed by the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation – nearly two years earlier. The event has been long celebrated by many African American communities and was formally designated as a national holiday in 2021. 

The Organization structure of this museum looks like they have a President & Chief Executive Officer, Vice President of Administration and Chief Operating Officer, and then curators, supervisors, managers, and so on. They also have a board of directors who serve as volunteers. In addition to those roles, they also have their National Advisory Board who are all people with key roles or had impacts on African American History. They have been creating a vision, planning, and building this museum for a total of 20 years.

Their vision statement is “to honor the untold stories of the African American journey at one of our country’s most sacred sites.” Which I believe can be seen throughout their planned exhibits and activities. They even have a Center for Family History, which is a world-class genealogy and ancestry resource center. The importance of this location; approximately half of all enslaved Africans who were brought to the United States disembarked at the former Charleston wharf where the International African American Museum will stand.

The museum’s officials say the hope is that people will be urged to think about “what is and why” in the context of the slavery in the United States. There might not be a more significant place to ponder such substantial issues than at this former point of entry for enslaved Africans, which was called “ground zero of the African American experience” in a statement about the museum’s opening.

What do you think the most valuable role is when it comes to maintaining a museum?

International African American Museum To Open On June 27th – Holy City Sinner

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