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The International African American Museum Finally Opens in Charleston, South Carolina

After more than two decades of planning, fundraising, and construction, the International African American Museum (IAAM) opens its doors to the public in Charleston, South Carolina.

The museum, which aims to honour the history and culture of African Americans and their contributions to the nation and the world, is located on a site of great significance: the former Gadsden's Wharf.

As the epicentre of the transatlantic slave trade, Charleston was once the largest and busiest slave port in North America. Between 1783 and 1808, over 45% of all enslaved Africans who arrived in the country were brought to this site, where they were sold into bondage and systemic slavery. To honour its history, the IAAM museum seeks to acknowledge and confront this painful legacy, as well as celebrate the resilience and achievements of African Americans.

A view of the Transatlantic Gallery in the museum. | Photo Credit: Richard Van De Water

The museum includes displays about Charleston, the state of South Carolina, and the broader South. | Photo Credit: Richard Van De Water

The museum's interior features nine galleries that showcase art and artefacts that visually dissect the livelihood of the enslaved people including their homelands and travels as they struggled to make a living in in America. The museum also features; a Center for Family History which offers services to help visitors trace their family lineage; a memorial garden that pays tribute to those who died at Gadsden's Wharf; and a reflecting pool that connects the museum to the water.

The galleries featuring in the museum will showcase 11 permanent exhibitions that will explore various aspects of African American history and culture, from the origins of the African diaspora to the civil rights movement and beyond. These exhibitions will feature over 30 artworks, about 150 original artefacts, and up to 50 films and digital media.

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The International African American Museum Finally Opens in Charleston, South Carolina

July 31, 2023

Art Report Africa

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