7 African-American museums to visit with your kids for an unforgettable history lesson

Celebrating black history with your kids doesn’t have to be a once a year experience in February. With hundreds of exhibits across the states documenting the African-American experience, you can make it a yearlong occasion no matter where you live. Here are seven must-see museums to explore with the little ones. 

National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, this museum opened its doors in 2014. It was founded by a slew of black civil rights icons including John Lewis, Andrew Young and the wives of Joseph Lowery and Ralph David Abernathy. If you visit now, check out the Sports for Change display, which shows how athletes used their celebrity to highlight social justice issues. 

» RELATED: National Center for Civil and Human Rights grand opening celebration

National Civil Rights Museum

Photo: Adrian Sainz

Nearly 50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN. Now, the site is a museum dedicated to his activism and the many others who committed their lives to the movement. Take a peek inside of King’s hotel room or sit on the bus for a reenactment of the day Rosa Parks’ refused to give up her seat. 

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute


Founded in 1992 and located in the Civil Rights District of Birmingham, the museum focuses on the history of the city in the 1950s and 1960s. From exhibits about the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing to galleries on Odessa Woolfolk, co-creator of the institute, the site has been visited by more than 2 million people since its opening.

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

This Detroit facility was initially called the International Afro-American Museum, but after outgrowing two buildings in 30 years, it was eventually renamed after its founder, a renowned obstetrician and gynecologist. It’s now the largest African American historical museum in the world with exhibitions on black dolls, sculptures, paintings and more.  

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African American Museum in Philadelphia

With four galleries and one auditorium, the Philly museum was built in 1976. While it has exhibits that focus solely on the City of Brotherly Love, it is also home to an interactive timeline that spans 100 years of national history. 

DuSable Museum of African American History

The Chicago museum was named after Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, a Haitian of African and French decent, who helped establish the settlement that later became Chicago. Go to the site to see its current expositions on Harold Washington, the first black mayor of Chicago or African-Americans in the armed forces.

National Museum of African American History and Culture


The newest civil rights museum to open its doors, this Washington D.C. facility is a part of the Smithsonian Institute. President Barack Obama and John Lewis led the opening ceremony in 2016, and more than 600,000 people went to the museum during the first three months. Its notable collections include items owned by Harriet Tubman, Louis Armstrong, Muhammad Ali and many more. 

»RELATED: How to get tickets for the national African American history museum

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