Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
|Type||Human and cultural history|
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is located in the Cultural Center of the U.S. city of Detroit, Michigan. Founded in 1965, it holds the world's largest permanent exhibit on African American culture. In 1997, Detroit architects Sims-Varner & Associates (now SDG Associates) designed a new 120,000 square foot (11,000 m²) facility on Warren Avenue The Wright Museum has dual missions, serving as both a museum of artifacts and a place of cultural retention and growth.
The Museum owns more than 30,000 artifacts and archival materials. Some of the major collections it is home to include the Blanche Coggin Underground Railroad Collection, the Harriet Tubman Museum Collection, a Coleman A. Young Collection and a collection of documents about the labor movement in Detroit called the Sheffield Collection. Also in the museum is an interactive exhibit called And Still We Rise: Our Journey through African American History and Culture, seven exhibition areas devoted to African Americans and their lives, the Louise Lovett Wright Research Library, and the General Motors Theater, which is a 317-seat facility for film, live performances, lectures, and presentations. A terrazzo tile creation by artist Hubert Massey entitled Genealogy is in the Ford Freedom Rotunda Floor and the museum is topped by a 100 feet (30 m) by 55 feet (17 m) glass dome. The museum store sells authentic African art and books, as well as other merchandise.
Dr. Charles Wright, a practicing physician, was inspired to create an institution to preserve African-American history after he visited a memorial to Danish World War II heroes in Denmark. In 1965, Dr. Charles H. Wright opened the International Afro-American Museum on 1549 West Grand Boulevard in a house he owned. Some of the exhibits included the inventions of Michigander Elijah McCoy, and masks from Nigeria and Ghana that he had acquired while visiting there. The next year, he opened a traveling exhibit to tour the state. With support from family friends of Dr. Wright, Helen Conley Cargle and Frank Cargle, plans were established for larger, formal museum to house the growing collection. In 1978, the city of Detroit leased the museum a plot of land in Midtown near the Detroit Public Library, the Detroit Institute of Art, and the Detroit Science Center. Groundbreaking for a new museum occurred in 1985, and the museum was renamed the Museum of African American History. Dr. Wright, Helen Conley Cargle and Frank Cargle would eventually join the board of directors for the new institution.
- History of the African-Americans in Metro Detroit
- List of museums focused on African Americans
- (Detroit) Cultural Center Historic District
- Detroit Historical Museum
- Detroit Institute of Arts
- Detroit Science Center
- Conley Family
- , the museum's current location. About the Museum
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