Interpreting African American History at Your Site or Museum?

Every day Drayton Hall offers "Connections," a 45-minute program that traces the story of Africans from Africa to the new world and into the 20th century.

Every day Drayton Hall offers “Connections,” a 45-minute program that traces the story of Africans from Africa to the new world and into the 20th century.

If you’ve been involved with the planning, development, presentation, or evaluation of an outstanding exhibit, program, or project interpretation of African American history and culture at a museum or historic site in the last five years, consider sharing it as a case study for a book I’m editing for Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.  This book will be part of a series on the interpretation of various topics published by the American Association for State and Local History that are slated for release later this year.  The first part of the book will be a wide-ranging anthology of articles written by experts and scholars from a variety of perspectives, including Bernard Powers, Matthew Pinsker, Kristin Gallas, James DeWolf Perry, George McDaniel, Amanda Seymour, Donna Graves, Julia Rose, and Lila Teresa Church with a foreword written by Lonnie Bunch.  If you know any of these people, you know it’ll be an interesting and thought-provoking book.

I need help with the second half of the book: a set of 12-16 case studies of exemplary programs that can be adapted by others.  Are you aware of any outstanding and inspirational school programs, events, websites, publications, heritage trails, interpretive markers, and videos that were developed or presented at a museum or historic sites in the last five years?  I’m particularly interested in projects between the Rockies and the Appalachian mountains.  To give you a sense of the possibilities and where your project might fit in, so far I’ll be including:

  1. Scottsboro Boys Heritage Trail by Ellen Griffith Spears
  2. Frederick Douglass Elementary School Memorial Wall by Wendi Manuel-Scott
  3. Interpreting Dr. Tan at Little House on the Prairie Sites by Michelle McClellan
  4. Cliveden Conversations by David Young
  5. Connections program at Drayton Hall by George McDaniel
  6. Freedom Riders program at Atlanta History Center by Andrea Jones
  7. Six Degrees of Separation: Using Social Media and Digital Platforms to Enhance African American History Projects  by Lynn Rainville
  8. Finding Sarah Bickford in Virginia City, Montana by William Peterson
  9. Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta by d. l. Henderson
  10.  Preserving Los Angeles’ African American Historic Places by Jenny Scanlin and Teresa Grimes
  11. Soul Soldiers: African Americans and the Vietnam Era at the Heinz History Center by Robbie Davis

If you have suggestions or ideas, or if you’d like to contribute a case study, please contact me at Max.vanBalgooy@EngagingPlaces.net.  Thanks!

One thought on “Interpreting African American History at Your Site or Museum?

  1. Kristin Gallas

    Max – My former colleagues at the Montana Historical Society are working on this compendium of information about African Americans in the state. http://mhs.mt.gov/research/AfricanAmerican/AfricanAmericanInMT.asp

    It’s not clear from the website who is responsible for the project, but you can contact Archivist Rich Aarstad raarstad@mt.gov and ask. Please mention my name – hopefully he will respond more promptly if you put my name in the subject line.

    -Kristin

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