The Tubman African American Museum features many permanent and travelling exhibits which showcase African American art, history, and culture. Permanent collection highlights include a beautiful and educational mural, the Inventors Gallery, local history and Georgia artists exhibit, and folk art exhibit. The original Tubman Museum opened in 1982. Construction for a new facility was completed in 2015 and opened to the public May 16, 2015. Patrons will not want to miss the incredible mural which the museum refers to as its “signature piece”. This acrylic and oil mural measures an impressive 68 inches tall by 55 feet long and allows visitors to explore the lives of prominent past and present African Americans. The Inventors Gallery introduces patrons to innovative African Americans who are typically not recognized for their contributions. The local history and Georgia artists exhibit showcases some of the best works of local artists as well as artifacts pertaining to Macon and Georgia history. African American folk art is also featured in these exhibits. In addition to permanent collections, the Tubman Museum offers a variety of travelling exhibits that can be booked at venues throughout the country. The museum also hosts various public events that occur throughout the year.
Backstory and Context
The Tubman Museum began as a dream of the Rev. Richard Keil, pastor of St. Peter Claver Catholic Church who wished to educate others about African American art, history, and culture. Rev. Keil started a corporation to raise money to purchase property on which to build the museum. In 1985, the first museum opened on the corner of Walnut Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. By 1994, the museum had outgrown its 8,500 square foot facility and that building was demolished in preparation for a new, larger facility. Construction did not begin until 2002 with plans to open in 2003. Unfortunately, due to major financial issues construction was halted in 2005 and did not resume until 2013. The new location is an impressive 49,000 square feet with two levels.1