National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center
The National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center educates the public about African American history and culture, from African origins to the present by collecting, preserving and interpreting material evidence of the Black experience. The National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, which will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2018, is the permanent home of one of the nation’s premier collections of African American material history, with over 9,000 artifacts and artwork, over 350 manuscript collections, and tens of thousands of photographs and other images. The collections cover many aspects of history and culture and include African American art, historical documents of black organizations, inventions, childhood memorabilia, sports, military history, Civil Rights, Ohio, historic Wilberforce, and the greater Miami Valley community that includes many Underground Railroad sites and history. The NAAMCC collections, which range in dates from the late 1700s to the 21st century, are of local, regional, national, and even international significance. The archival collections comprise approximately 660 linear feet, and complement the artifact collections that include sculptures, textiles, weapons, and other large three-dimensional artifacts. Items include a dress uniform owned by General Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., Alex Haley’s typewriter and his final draft of Roots, the NAACP Spingarn Medal awarded to noted historian and creator of Negro History Week (now referred to as Black History Month) Carter G. Woodson, a buffalo hide coat worn by an original Buffalo Soldier, and Gregory Hines’ tap shoes. Materials from the collections are essential components of the institution’s in-house exhibition schedule and have been featured in numerous national and international traveling exhibitions, educational programs, and academic publications. We currently have two pieces of art on exhibit in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. These very important pieces, Let Me Entertain You by Betye Saar and New Orleans Niggah by Barkley L. Hendricks, are included in their inaugural exhibit Visual Art and the American Experience through 2021. The Barkley L. Hendricks portrait was the artwork selected to grace the cover of the fifth volume of The Image of the Black in Western Art. The artwork most frequently requested in the last several years is Freedom Now! by Reginald Gammon. It was recently in the Color Line exhibit at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris. It was then shipped to New York University’s Grey Art Gallery where it was featured in their exhibit Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952-1965. It is now on loan to the Tate Museum in London for their exhibit Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power until February 2019.