Whether or not you’re a history buff, a visit to a great museum can be enriching for anybody. With Black History Month coming to a close, we decided to highlight some museums to visit year-round to learn more about Black history, culture, and artistic movements. Learn about the Civil Rights Movement, school desegregation, the origins of rock and roll and jazz, and Black art history with these five museums.

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Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Birmingham, AL

Learn about the Civil Rights Movement in one of the major cities that saw civil unrest and the fight for desegregation here. As an institution that has been serving its patrons from near and far for over 30 years, the museum hosts exhibits featuring artifacts from important moments in the Civil Rights Era. Their Movements Gallery includes statues of leaders and even the jail bars that Martin Luther King, Jr. was incarcerated behind as he was penning his famous essay, “A Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”

Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, MS

Learn about the history of African Americans in Mississippi and the fight for freedom and civil rights. The museum’s eight galleries cover significant moments in Black Mississipian history, from the beginnings of slavery to modern social justice movements. Visitors will also be able to observe memorials of protestors who died in the fight for equal rights and can even see the mugshots of the Freedom Riders.

National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.


A branch of the Smithsonian Museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture was established in 2003 by an Act of Congress. Today, it has collected over 40,000 artifacts historically and culturally relevant to tell the story of Black people in the United States. Notable exhibitions include “Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures,” “Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom,” and “Musical Crossroads.” (Photo credit: Alan Karchmer)

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National Museum of African American Music, Nashville, TN


For music aficionados and casual top 40 listeners, the National Museum of African American Music is a great place to visit. The museum is dedicated to preserving and telling the history of Black music in the United States. Exhibits include, but are not limited to, “Rivers of Rhythm: The Evolution of African American Music Traditions,” “One Nation Under a Groove: R&B Music Becomes America’s Soundtrack,” and “The Message,” which outlines the creation and evolution of hip-hop music and culture.

California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA

First established in 1977, this is the first African American museum of art, history, and culture fully supported by a state. With a permanent collection of over 5,000 objects, visitors will find themselves returning to this museum to try to take in all of the exhibits, galleries, and works of art. Current exhibitions include “Helen Cammock: I Will Keep My Soul” and “Adee Roberson and Azikiwe Mohammed: because i am that.”

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These are only a fraction of the museums and institutions celebrating Black history both in the United States and around the world. However, if you’re looking for a place to kickstart your deep dive into Black history and culture, this list is a great place to start!