The African American Museum in Philadelphia

Celebrating and interpreting African American history and culture


The African American Museum in Philadelphia

Credit: G. Widman for GPTMC


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The Experience

With a diverse collection of fine and folk art, photographs, memorabilia and costumes, this museum in Philadelphia’s historic district traces the experiences and contributions of African-Americans from the kingdoms of Africa through to the present. The museum’s exhibits tell the story of African American life, focusing on topics such as family life, the visual arts, entertainment, politics, and sports.

The museum currently houses four galleries and an auditorium, each anchored by one of three dominant themes: the African Diaspora, the Philadelphia Story, and the Contemporary Narrative.

As an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum often links its exhibits to national and international trends. The museum’s gift shop is stocked with a wide selection of books and videos, African textiles, and African American jewelry and prints.


The African American Museum in Philadelphia was among the museums to open during the 1976 Bicentennial celebration and is notable as the first museum funded and built by a city to help preserve African American culture. Located just a few blocks away from the Liberty Bell, the museum’s modernistic public sculptures, “The Whispering Bells” and “Nisaka,” are distinctive landmarks in the downtown historic district.