Museum of the African Diaspora

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Museum of the African Diaspora members stand outside the museum, awaiting a tour.

The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) is a museum in San Francisco, California, documenting the African diaspora. MoAD showcases the history, art, and cultural richness that resulted from the migration of Africans throughout the world. By realizing their mission, MoAD connects all people through their shared African heritage. Their focus spans the African Diaspora across history, from the diaspora at the origin of human existence through the contemporary African Diaspora that has affected communities and cultures around the world.[1] It is located at 685 Mission St. next to the St. Regis. The museum, and the building, opened in 2005.


MoAD was developed as part of a public/private partnership led by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency. In 1999, the City of San Francisco created a mandate to include an African American cultural presence in the last vacant parcel of Yerba Buena Gardens. San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown appointed a steering committee to determine the mission and scope of a cultural facility within the complex. Cultural management, architectural and design consultants worked with members of the committee to design a world-class facility and develop fresh, vital programming that didn’t exist anywhere else.

The African American Cultural Institute grew out of the research and development process that began in 2002. The new museum was renamed Museum of the African Diaspora to reflect a broadened scope and mission, and incorporated as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. The architecturally stunning space was designed by the nationally-renowned Freelon Group within the St. Regis Museum Tower. MoAD opened its doors in 2005, debuting a modern museum designed to showcase art and culture through the lens of the African Diaspora.[2]

Linda Harrison was appointed as the Executive Director of MoAD in November 2013. In June 2014, MoAD underwent a 6 month renovation that created more gallery space and refreshed the museum’s overall look. By October 2014, MoAD was named an official Smithsonian Affiliate.[3]

The Original African Diaspora[edit]

MoAD introduces visitors to the original African diaspora—the original movement of Homo sapiens (from the earliest human remains found in Africa)—to eventually all inhabited regions. The museum asks visitors "when did you first realize you are African?" The museum espouses the scientifically accepted idea of panethnicity, wherein all humans have a common African origin.

Past Exhibitions[edit]

Portraits and Other Likenesses from SFMOMA

The Art of Elizabeth Catlett: Selections from the Collection of Samella Lewis

Lava Thomas: Beyond

Finding the I in Diaspora

Drapetomanía: Grupo Antillano and the Art of Afro-Cuba

Crosscurrents: Africa and Black Diasporas in Dialogue, 1960-1980

J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere: Sartorial Moments and the Nearness of Yesterday

The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, Where Art and History Intersect

Desert Jewels

Tuareg and Anima

Choose Paint! Choose Abstraction!

Collected Stories of Acquisition and Reclamation

Soulful Stitching: Patchwork Quilts by Africans in India

From Process to Print: Graphic Works from Romare Bearden

Textural Rhythms: Constructing the Jazz Tradition through Contemporary African American Quilts

Art/Object: Re-Contextualizing African Art

African Continuum: Sacred Ceremonies and Rituals

The Art of Richard Mayhew

Let Your Motto Be Resistance


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°47′11″N 122°24′06″W / 37.786411°N 122.401546°W / 37.786411; -122.401546