Established in 1976, the African American Museum in Philadelphia is the first museum in the United States created and funded by a local government to help convey the history and heritage of African Americans to United States citizens. The museum covers the period from slavery to civil rights with over 750,000 artifacts and four galleries. Each gallery contains a variety of exhibits that interpret the museum's collection, selecting items from the collection and placing their history within the larger narrative of the African American experience. The museum also offers a variety of special thematic exhibits throughout the year, to ensure that every visit provides a new learning experience. A huge plus for young children visiting the museum is the "Children's Corner", an interactive exhibit where children explore the lives of young African American children.


  • The museum offers different exhibits quarterly, so it is constantly changing.
    The museum offers different exhibits quarterly, so it is constantly changing.
  • Photo from the Jack T. Franklin Exhibit. Marchers singing in unity while marching for Civil Rights.
    Photo from the Jack T. Franklin Exhibit. Marchers singing in unity while marching for Civil Rights.
  • Gary Nash, Forging Freedom: The Formation of Philadelphia's Black Community, 1720-1840. Click the link below for more information about this book.
    Gary Nash, Forging Freedom: The Formation of Philadelphia's Black Community, 1720-1840. Click the link below for more information about this book.

The African American Museum of Philadelphia is the first of its kind to be built and funded by a major city to show the lives of African Americans. Museum founder Clarence Farmer worked with founding director Charles H. Wesley who earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University. The museum has a variety of permanent exhibits that tell the story of freedom in Africa, enslavement in America, and liberation through the agency and activism of many generations. The current museum is comprised of over twenty directors who make up the board of directors which is headed by President and CEO of AAMP Patricia Wilson Alden.

The museum has also acquired several artifacts from the Philadelphia Civic Center and the Jack T. Franklin collection.  Franklin, upon his death, donated his collection of over 500,000 negatives and photographs to be put on display at the museum.  Some of the photographs contained images of Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Jesse Jackson.  The Civic Center of Philadelphia donated musical instruments, weapons, tools, jewelry, and cushions to be placed on display at the museum. 

The Jack T. Franklin collection, which is a donation from the photographer of over 500,000 photographs from his career, and the Philadelphia Civic Center Museum Collection. The latter collection was a generous gift from the Philadelphia Civic Center Museum that presented the AAMP with over 300 new African Artifacts. In addition to the previously listed major collections, the African American Museum in Philadelphia was also able to purchase, with the help of a grant from Save America's Treasures, Pearl Bailey's personal photographs and photographs from the Cash/Thompson collection.

"African American Museum in Philadelphia", accessed June 16, 2015, http://www.aampmuseum.org. Clark, Vernon. "African American Museum gets grant."Philly.com, September 12, 2000.