The African American Museum in Philadelphia will reopen on May 6, opening a new exhibit with limited hours to meet capacity requirements and a new set of procedures to keep guests and employees safe.
Founded in 1976 to celebrate the country’s bicentennial, the African American Museum of Philadelphia (AAMP) is the first institution funded and built by a large municipality to preserve, interpret and display the heritage of African Americans.
“We are delighted to once again welcome guests for in-person experiences at AAMP,” said Sabrina Brooks, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the African American Museum in Philadelphia.
The reopening of the museum will mark the launch of a new special exhibition, “Anna Russell Jones: The Art of Design”.
“As an institution in Philadelphia dedicated to honoring the history and culture of African American and Black communities, we are deeply committed to teaching, learning and witnessing the stories of African Americans and the African Diaspora in all its permutations. Brooks said.
The “Anna Russell Jones: The Art of Design,” was originally scheduled to premiere on March 18, 2020, but due to COVID-19 closures, it never got a chance to open.
“It’s been a long road of transition with COVID, but the AAMP team have worked really hard to ensure that we have a safe and enjoyable experience with the public as it’s been a while since we last. not open the doors of the museum, ”Brooks said.
Despite their physical constraints and other challenges when they closed, AAMP was able to come up with new and creative ways to present the museum to a wider audience than ever before.
“The pandemic has been very difficult for AAMP, like all artistic and cultural institutions in the industry, but it has helped us move to virtual programming platforms. “
“We have been able to really communicate with our members. So virtual programming will continue even outside of the pandemic. But we really look forward to being able to provide critical content for the public and the public to be able to safely experience the museum and its exhibits in person. For those who are still a little hesitant to come to our doors, we will also be offering virtual programming, ”said Brooks.
The launch of the Anna Russell Jones exhibition coincides with both the ongoing virtual programming and the Museum’s permanent exhibition, “Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776 – 1876”, presented by PECO, which tells the stories and contributions of people of African descent in Philadelphia during the tumultuous century following the founding of our nation.
“This is your chance to look at beautiful designs and get a glimpse into the life of Anna Russell Jones,” said Dejay Duckett, director of curatorial services at AAMP.
Jones is recognized as the first African-American graduate of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, which is now Moore College of Art and Design, and an alumnus of the Department of Anatomy at Howard Medical School, which is now the Howard University College of Medicine. She is also known for her wallpaper and rug designs, as well as her work as a public service illustrator and freelance artist.
The exhibit will feature original artwork and design by Jones and highlight his interest in African American history, civil rights, public service, and medicine.
“She was active from the 1920s until her death in 1995. Still active, she had her own design studio that she opened for herself. When she didn’t see the opportunities in the 1920s, she created her own. She was just bold and had this amazing life and courage, ”Duckett said.
Following local guidelines from the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Centers for Disease Control, people will be able to re-enter the museum to fully experience history learning while doing so in a safe and healthy manner. .
“I am just excited about our community, to be able to come back through our doors, again we are working so hard to make sure we can keep everyone safe and continue to have an enjoyable experience at the museum,” said Duckett.
They also made a number of enhancements to the “Audacious Freedom” permanent collection exhibit, including the installation of touch screens. “And we’re just excited to start again doing what we do best, you know, celebrating African American art, history and culture,” Duckett said.
“This is truly a celebration because we believe AAMP and its programming are central to the need to heal and deliver the well-being and rebuilding of our community,” said Brooks.
“We’ve been through so much trauma recently, I would say collective public trauma with COVID-19 and social injustices over the past year. So it’s very important that the museum reopens, ”said Brooks. “Our community and our country are being racially calculated and we are seeing a greater focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. And for those looking for a better way to better understand the systemic challenges facing the black community and how we can connect in the modern age, AAMP is an essential educational resource. So this openness is symbolic in many ways, in that we are proposing ourselves as a foundation for the black community, where there is so much healing that is needed and also being an educational resource, while we are doing it.
“We’re excited for this time. This is a time when we want to see our members join us in person if they are comfortable doing so. And then, more importantly, connect and reconnect, ”Brooks said.
Guests will be required to wear masks when visiting, and signage throughout the museum will highlight social distancing and other health and safety guidelines. After each scheduled visit, the museum will be cleaned and disinfected, with emphasis on frequently touched surfaces.
Until capacity limits are lifted, the museum will be open to the public Thursday through Sunday, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., with three time slots allocated for tours. The museum will accommodate 80 people at a time, including 20 staff and around 60 guests. All guests are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance online, but self-service kiosks will be available for on-site ticketing.