The Kansas African American Museum
With a mission of making “the Kansas African American experience resonant with EVERY Kansan,” the Kansas African American Museum features exhibitions on the history, culture, art, and civic impacts of the Black community of Kansas.
The exterior of the Kansas African American Museum in the former Calvary Baptist Church.
Part of the collection of African art at the Kansas African American Museum.
The contemporary art collection at the Kansas African American Museum.
Backstory and Context
From Kansas’s earliest days of statehood in the 1850s, African American involvement has shaped the state. African American history is Kansas history, and nowhere is that history more thoroughly documented and celebrated than at the Kansas African American Museum in Wichita.
Founded in 1998, the museum found its home in the former Calvary Baptist Church, which was itself constructed by church leaders in 1917. The historic church was a mainstay in the thriving Wichita Black community in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as the African American population swelled after the Civil War. When the church relocated in 1975, the First National Black Historical Society was created as a civic movement to safeguard the building during a time when urban renewal was displacing many Black families and communities in Wichita and across the United States. In 1993, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
In addition to rotating exhibitions related to art, music, culture, and history, the Kansas African American Museum displays a large permanent collection of African American contemporary art and African art and artifacts, united by the theme of “Africa to Kansas.” The museum also features displays of African Americans who have made significant contributions to Kansas and the United States, including George Washington Carver, Gordon Parks, and Hattie McDaniel. Many of these figures have made crucial contributions to African American civil rights, and the museum displays shed light on their importance to American society and democracy.
The museum is currently fundraising to relocate to a new space in downtown Wichita.
"About Us." Kansas African American Museum. Accessed April 17, 2015. https://www.tkaamuseum.org/about.