African American Museum

Interactive exhibits tell the story of African-American heritage from pre-colonial times to today.

The African American Museum Philadelphia (AAMP) gives a sweeping view of history, from the 16th-century slavery movement to the present day celebration of black culture. The many interactive displays touch on all aspects of African-American life, from sports to politics, fashion to architecture. AAMP also houses one of the nation’s most comprehensive collections of African-American artifacts.

This museum opened in 1976 — not coincidentally, exactly 200 years after the nation’s independence. It was funded and built by the municipality of Philadelphia. The aim was to collect, preserve and interpret objects, documents and illustrations that paint the picture of African-American heritage in Philadelphia. A local photojournalist donated his large collection of pictures of world-famous African-Americans and main events in the city’s African-American community during the 20th century.

Start off your museum tour with 100 years of history at your fingertips on the interactive pictorial timeline. Wander through four main galleries and check out African ceremonial tools, musical instruments and weapons that defined early African-American life. View art, illustrations, photos and videos that relay a fascinating — sometimes sad, often inspirational — history. Listen to personal stories at full-sized audiovisual projections and learn about the battle to abolish slavery, to ban discrimination and to get equal Civil Rights. The museum doesn’t dwell in the past; it aims to enlighten and empower by telling a story of pride and passion, which continues today.

AAMP is located in the heart of Philadelphia’s Historic District. With Eighth Street Station just one block away, it is easy to get here by public transport. If you are driving, there’s free parking directly behind the museum. The museum is open daily. Check the website for a schedule of special programs and exhibitions. And be sure to visit the gift shop for memorabilia and literature.