Griot Museum of Black HIstory and Culture
Backstory and Context
Museum of Black History and Culture opened in 1997, and was first named the Black
World History Wax Museum. The name of the museum was changed in 2007, to emphasize
its mission as the caretaker of the stories, culture, and history of African Americans.
Griot is a name for a West African historian or storyteller that collects,
shares, and preserves stories and traditions. The Griot Museum of Black History
and Culture is the second largest black wax museum in the country.
The Griot Museum interprets stories and features life-size wax resemblances of African Americans whose lives influenced the state, region, and country. Visitors have the opportunity to learn about several historical African Americans such as: Carter G. Woodson, Josephine Baker, Dred and Harriet Scott, Elizabeth Keckley, William Wells Brown, James Milton Turner, Clark Terry, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Rev. Earl. E. Nance Sr., Miles Davis, Madame C.J. Walker, York, Percy Green, and many more. The Griot Museum also features a slave cabin that was originally built on the Wright–Smith Plantation in Jonesburg, Missouri. Visitors can also solve puzzles, view documentary videos, and explore a model of ships that were used to transport African Americans to America during the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
This museum also celebrates the achievements of African-Americans. Visitors have the opportunity to learn about John Berry Meacham, who avoided the law which forbade the education of African Americans. He anchored a boat in the Mississippi River and taught them how to read, write, etc. An entire section of the museum has been dedicated to Madam C.J. Walker, and it exhibits the life she led.
The museum hosts local and national traveling arts and humanities exhibits. In order to increase their community outreach, they sponsor community education projects, gallery discussions, and cultural celebrations. The museum hosts traveling exhibits led by local and national artists as well. The museums’ goal is to create a community of lifelong learners who explore and embrace the African-American heritage.