Venues in Philly & the 'Burbs
African American Museum in Philadelphia
The museum showcases heritage and culture through events and exhibits. Permanent exhibit Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1716- 1817 displays an interactive, 100-year timeline with full-size video projections that tell the stories of prominent 18th-century figures, who answer questions about their lives. An adjacent Children’s Corner lets kids explore what childhood was like during the time period.
Belmont Mansion, Phila.
This 18th-century Palladian-style fixture among Fairmount Park’s historical sites takes visitors on a journey from the colonial era to the present. Its newest addition, the Underground Railroad Museum, explores the lives of the people and places that made up the complex network.
Community College of Philadelphia
One of the largest events of its kind, the 24th annual African American Children’s Book Fair on Feb. 6 features presentations by bestselling illustrators and authors, games, prizes and an expansive, multicultural selection of literature for kids of all ages.
The Marian Anderson Historical Residence Museum, Phila.
Tour the home of the famous contralto who overcame racial barriers to perform at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939. In addition to books, rare photos and other memorabilia, tours include a documentary on Anderson’s life and a performance by protégé and house founder Blanche Burton Lyles.
Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, Phila.
Located in the basement of the historic church, the Richard Allen Museum commemorates Mother Bethel’s founding pastor with artifacts that include original pews, apulpit and ballot boxes; Allen’s tomb and information on the church’s role in the Underground Railroad.
National Constitution Center, Phila.
Examine the lives of Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson and Bessie Coleman during the Breaking Barriers show; view the museum’s rare printing of the Emancipation Proclamation; take a self-guided African American history tour to see artifacts from President Obama’s inauguration and an original printing of the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision; and test what you’ve learned on a giant game board. On Feb. 15, visitors to Family Fun Day listen to historical tales and make themed crafts.
The Philadelphia Doll Museum
This one-of-a-kind venue houses a collection of more than 300 black dolls that represent African Americans — and the craft of doll making —throughout history. Displayed chronologically, you’ll find African wooden “ancestor figures” from the 19th century alongside modern celebrity dolls and Roberta Bell’s African American Heritage dolls, dressed in authentic period clothing.
The President’s House, Phila.
Just steps from the Liberty Bell Center, the open-air exhibit Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation explores the paradox of freedom and slavery at the White House. Videos, archeology and architecture document the executive mansion from 1790-1800 and the nine enslaved individuals who served George Washington.
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