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October 29, 2020
|
Chapter News

African American Museum in Philadelphia

By Sophia Lee | Urban Design Committee
The African American Museum in Philadelphia. Photo by Sophia Lee.

We are continuing our series sharing stories of of urban spaces around Philadelphia that are important to Black History or otherwise feature and celebrate Black Lives.

The African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) opened its doors as part of the 1976 Bicentennial celebration. It was the first institution dedicated to “preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage of African Americans”[1] that was funded and built by a city, Philadelphia. The AAMP’s Mission, is to bring: “ diverse communities together in greater appreciation of the Black experience through the combined narrative of art, culture and historical witness.”[2]

The Museum’s location, at 7th and Arch Street, was once part of a historic black community. AAMP's collection boasts over 400,000 objects, images and documents.  Its public programming is designed to complement its exhibitions and has been augmented with workshops and demonstrations, concerts, films, dance performance, poetry readings, book signings, storytelling, lectures and seminars.[3]

The Whispering Bells sculpture by Reginald Beauchamp (1976). A Tribute to the Crispus Attacks. [4] Photo by Sophia Lee.

Although the physical building has been closed to the public since March due to the COVID pandemic, the AAMP has continued its Mission by helping Philadelphians grapple with racism and better understand the impact of the events that followed the murder of George Floyd. In the President’s Message, the AAMP President and CEO Patricia Wilson Aden outlines how the Museum has been a “responsive, relevant resource” throughout these times. [5] Read more: [LINK].

Nisaka. [6] Photo by Sophia Lee

Earlier in the summer, AAMP was at risk of losing $231,000 of funding from the City of Philadelphia [7], but the City has since revised its budget to include the full $350,000 allocation to AAMP. [8]

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[1] “About AAMP.” The African American Museum in Philadelphia, 15 Oct. 2020, https://www.aampmuseum.org/about-us.html.

[2] “About AAMP.” The African American Museum in Philadelphia, 15 Oct. 2020, https://www.aampmuseum.org/about-us.html.

[3] “African American Museum in Philadelphia” at ushistory.org – created and hosted by the Independence Hall Association in Philadelphia.  Website: https://www.ushistory.org/tour/african-american-museum.htm

[4]“Whispering Bells: A Tribute to Crispus Attacks (1976).” Association for Public Art, 15 Oct 2020, https://www.associationforpublicart.org/artwork/whispering-bells-a-tribu...

[5] Aden, Patricia Wilson. “President’s Message.” The African American Museum in Philadelphia, 15 Oct. 2020, https://www.aampmuseum.org/uploads/2/2/2/0/22207152/presidents_message_r....

[6] “The African American Museum in Philadelphia.” Visit Philadelphia, 15 Oct 2020, https://www.visitphilly.com/things-to-do/attractions/the-african-america...

[7] Tucker So, Lindsay. “As the Nation Reckons with Racism, Philly’s African American Museum is Wildly Underfunded | Opinion.” The Philadelphia Inquirer, 10 Sep 2020, https://fusion.inquirer.com/opinion/commentary/african-american-museum-i.... Accessed 15 Oct 2020.

[8] Cohen, Ariella & Max Marin. “New Philly budget restores some funds for affordable housing and arts, cancels $19 million police increase.” WHYY, 18 June 2020, https://whyy.org/articles/new-philly-budget-restores-funds-for-affordabl... Access 15 Oct 2020.

 

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