Black History Month is an opportunity to recognize the achievements of black people throughout history. It is a time to reflect on the past, celebrate the present, and look to the future. A great way to gain knowledge about history is not only through books but through real-life experiences as well. There are many places around the country designed to enrich, engage, and teach kids about Black History. To help your family have an educational Black History month, we’ve compiled ten places to celebrate black excellence, inspirational figures, and contributions to Black culture and history.
National Museum of the Tuskegee Airmen, Detroit, Michigan
Where to start with celebrating Black Excellence besides those who against all odds, learned to fly? The Tuskegee Airmen was the first all-African-American fighter pilot squadron. Today, this museum strives to inspire a brand new generation of airmen through its exhibits and programming. Something very special about this museum for families is its offering of several classes and programs for aspiring young aviators. Be sure to check out their Drone Flight school and Rocket Club. Another extraordinary event put on every year by the museum is their Young Eagles Rally on the second Sunday of the month April – October. Watch these experienced airmen fly and receive a FREE RIDE for all kids ages 8 – 17 around the city of Detroit. So cool!
Bronzeville Children’s Museum, Evergreen Park, Illinois
The Bronzeville Children’s Museum has a simple, yet amazing purpose: to bring African American history and culture to life for children of all ages. This museum is perfect for kids who may not be into traditional museums and young kids who like to learn with their hands. Their most famous exhibits explore the inventions and contributions of African American inventors including beauty products, computers, and medical science cures. The Bronzeville Museum does guided one-hour tours for each of its exhibits. The recommended ages are 4-9 for this museum.
The Muhammed Ali Center, Louisville, Kentucky
Muhammed Ali changed not only the sporting world as a boxer but the country with his continued activism for African-American civil rights. The Muhammed Ali Center explores Ali’s life; his start in boxing, his Olympic career, his philanthropy, and how he always tried to give back to his community. The Center features interactive exhibits, educational programming, and special events to inspire young visitors. The Center also focuses on Ali’s six core principles to succeeding: confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect, and spirituality. The Center encourages all visitors to take the principles with them in their own lives. All visitors under the age of 5 enter free, and all visitors over 6 with a student ID also receive a discount.
Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Maryland
Reginald F. Lewis was a prominent businessman and figure of black excellence in the state of Maryland. His successes inspired thousands of young African American people, and his philanthropy helped them to achieve those goals. His dream of supporting a museum of African American history and culture was realized in this museum. The Reginald F. Lewis Museum is not only the largest African American museum in the state of Maryland but one of the largest in the country. The museum houses over 10,000 objects of historical importance in its 82,000-square-foot facility. Committed to bringing education to kids and adults alike, the Lewis has numerous permanent exhibits to explore, as well as rotating educational programming and special exhibitions.
The Studio Museum, Harlem, New York
Do you have a little artist in your house? They’ll be sure to love this museum next on our list! Learn about and explore hundreds of amazing Black artists at the Studio Museum in Harlem New York. With rotating artists, exhibits, and collections, this museum is perfect for visiting again and again. Families are encouraged to discuss, view and create art in the Studio. ‘Family Day’ is a monthly event that engages kids in hands-on learning and art creation. DIYs and coloring pages can also be found on the museum’s website.
National Museum of African American Music, Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is home to so many wonderful museums of music and musicians who found their start there. The National Museum of African American Music continues that desire to teach about and honor the African American musical artists who changed the world with their art. From country to rock and roll, R&B to reggae, this museum is dedicated to celebrating all music genres which were created, inspired, and influenced by African Americans. This museum prides itself on a “highly immersive experience”. One of the most unique things about this experience is the museum’s use of RFID bracelets. “As you move through the museum, hold your RFID bracelet over each interactive station’s sensors to save playlists, videos, and more. Download your media when you get home and enjoy your museum visit all over again!” So cool!
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Kansas City, Missouri
This museum is perfect for all you sports-loving families! The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum celebrates and educates the beginnings of African American players in baseball, and their fight for equality. The trailblazing history of players who formed their own leagues to challenge white players and prove themselves is sure to inspire kids of all ages. And of course, there’s no way to talk about black excellence in baseball without talking about Jackie Robinson! Explore the life of Jackie and his journey to one of the greatest players of all time!
The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, Houston, Texas
Are you familiar with the Buffalo Soldiers? Well, you should be! African American men have served proudly in every American war, and in 1866, six African American soldier units were formed. These units would soon become known as the Buffalo Soldiers (although nickname origins are disputed.) Learn about the history of African Americans in military service, and the sacrifices they made to serve their country. Preserve the memory of those who laid down their lives for freedom, and those who fought for their fellow man.
The Colored Girls Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
You know there’s no way we’d leave out the ladies! The Colored Girls Museum is dedicated to honoring the stories, experiences, contributions, and lives of extraordinary Black Women. The complex history and lived experiences of black women are explored and preserved through exhibits, programs, and art. This museum is a tour-only experience, so be sure to get your tickets early for your visit!
African American Firefighter Museum, Los Angeles, California
Do you have a little one with dreams of being a firefighter? Then this is the place for you! Believed to be the only standing African American fire station in the US, the African American Firefighter Museum includes so many things to explore. Learn about the history of African American firefighters, the equipment they used, their uniforms, their training, and so much more!