Situated in the heart of Detroit's Midtown Cultural Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History has been a leading institution focusing on the experiences of African Americans for more than half a century. Founded in 1965, the museum strives to change lives and open minds through the celebration and exploration of African American culture and history. More than 35,000 archival material and artifacts are housed in the museum.
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Among the museum's holdings are the Harriet Tubman Museum Collection, the Blanche Coggin Underground Railroad Collection, the Sheffield Collection, and the Coleman A. Young Collection. Several exhibits can be found throughout the museum, such as And Still We Rise: Our Journey Through African American History and Culture. This interactive exhibit is the core of the Wright Museum as well as the largest exhibit in existence focused on the history of African Americans. The Inspiring Minds: African Americans in Science and Technologyexhibit focuses on concepts for children in the fields of mathematics, engineering, technology, and science.
At 65 feet high and 95 feet wide, the Ford Freedom Rotunda is an architectural wonder that is over twice as wide as the dome of the State Capitol. It’s only one foot less in width than the dome of the U.S. Capitol. The Ring of Genealogy is a creation made of terrazzo tile by Hubert Massey and is circled by nameplates made of bronze featuring the names of well-known African Americans throughout history. The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History also contains the Robert L. Hurst Research Center, the Louise Lovett Wright Library, and the General Motors Theater, which is used for presentations, films, live performances, and more.
The Wright Museum plays hosts to more than 300 public events each year, including children and family programs, lectures, film screenings, theatrical productions, and concerts. It also acts as a space for many private events, such as community events, memorial services, conferences, anniversaries, and weddings. The museum serves more than 500,000 people every year through its programs, events, and exhibitions, including the African World Festival.
Following a visit to a World War II memorial in Denmark, Dr. Charles Wright dreamed of an institution that would preserve Black history. During his visit to Denmark, he decided that African Americans should have a resource facility to preserve, document, and educate others about their culture, life, and history. Dr. Wright, along with 33 members of the community, established the first International Afro-American Museum, or I AM, in Detroit in 1965. The museum opened the following year and contained numerous exhibits that displayed items like African masks from Ghana and Nigeria as well as Elijah McCoy's inventions.
In 1985, the name was changed to the Museum of African American History, and a new facility was opened to the public in Detroit's University Cultural Center in 1987. Another new, larger, state-of-the-art museum 125,000 square feet in size opened its doors in 1997, becoming the world's largest museum dedicated to African American history. The museum's name was changed to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in 1998.
315 East Warren Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201, Phone: 313-494-5800