There are many different ways to learn about African American history and culture. But whatever the approach, it should help gain greater appreciation and understanding. It should ideally spark reflection on a societal, as well as personal, level. One of the best ways to do just that is through a museum experience that’s not only informative but also inspiring. And while there are many destinations that preserve history and celebrate heritage, it’s a rare few that can be profoundly moving and give hope. Those that do, should be celebrated.

Here are some of the most inspiring museums to learn about the legacy and impact of African Americans on the world.

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History — Detroit


The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is committed to opening the minds of others through the celebration of African American history, achievements, and culture. This museum has been serving the people of Detroit for over 50 years. Visitors will enjoy a host of various permanent and rotating exhibits as well as over 150 learning programs designed to bring greater enhancement to your experience. The Wright Museum prides itself on its ability to reflect on both the tragedies and triumphs of this culture and people. Here you will find permanent exhibits such as the Blanche Coggin Underground Railroad Collection, the Harriet Tubman Museum Collection, and the Sheffield Collection.

Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum — Detroit

With three different locations across Detroit (including one at the Charles H. Wright museum), the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum is a collection point for a vast amount of oral and written history documents by the Tuskegee Airmen. Boasting the largest collection of Airmen artifacts, this museum weaves a story of courage and the legacy of the men who bravely fought for the world during World War II. The Tuskegee Airmen signed up to represent America despite the underlying racial issues and deep limitations of this unequal society during this dark time in history. The museum also offers a number of youth programs designed to inspire a new generation.

National Museum of African American Music — Nashville

 

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One of the best ways to acquaint yourself with the African American culture is to take advantage of some cheap flights in February about its rich music history. This one-of-a-kind museum facilitates this understanding with seven galleries hosting a variety of artifacts, clothing, memorabilia, and other objects that exemplify this music dating from the early 1600s up to present day. Visitors will enjoy exploring a bevy of musical genres, including gospel, jazz, blues, hip-hop, and more. While in Nashville, it makes sense to make music the focal point of your visit. The National Museum of African American Music lets you do this while simultaneously celebrating this culture’s contribution to the arts.

RELATED: How to Spend a Weekend of Black History & Culture in Washington D.C.

Museum of the African Diaspora — San Francisco

The Museum of African Diaspora is an ideal place to become inspired. By exploring works of the African diaspora — the people of Africa and of African descendant cultures all across the globe —you will familiarize yourself with the culture while challenging your own critical thinking skills. The museum features a number of contemporary art exhibits reflective of the legacy of the African diaspora. The facility also offers an array of special events, lectures, and additional educational opportunities. The onsite bookstore is a great place to pick up critical reading to help you to understand the movement to dismantle white supremacy while advocating for the Black voices to be heard.

Black American West Museum — Denver

 

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Dive into the Old West with a visit to the Black American West Museum. This Denver gem exists to encourage a greater understanding of how African Americans contributed to the settlement and expansion of the western United States. The various collections, exhibits, and educational programs support this mission. Founded in 1971 by Paul W. Stewart, this museum is located in the former home of the first licensed African American female doctor in Colorado. In addition to detailing the story of the Black American cowboy, the museum also explores the many African Americans who worked as ranchers, blacksmiths, miners, and more.

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and American Jazz Museum — Kansas City

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) is distinguished as being the world’s only museum with the mission of preserving and honoring the history of African American baseball and how the sport was used as a tool to advance this culture. Covering 10,000 square feet of space, this homage to Black Americans and their contributions to baseball is a must-see for sports fans. While in Kansas City, be sure to also check out the American Jazz Museum, found within the same cultural complex as the NLBM. This museum is also home to the Blue Room jazz club and the Gem Theater. Because of their shared location, it is easy to visit both of these museums in one day.

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