Archival Adventures in Small Repositories
African American Museum in Philadelphia
Founded in 1976 in celebration of the US Bicentennial, the African American Museum in Philadelphia is the nation's first institution funded and built by a major municipality to preserve, interpret, and exhibit the heritage of African Americans. The Museum is committed to telling the story of African Americans in all its permutations: family life, the Civil Rights movement, arts and entertainment, sports, medicine, architecture, politics, religion, law and technology. The Museum holds over 350 linear feet of archival materials dating from the mid 19th century to the present. The archival collections include the papers of famous individuals, including singer Pearl Bailey, pianist Natalie Hinderas, and Philadelphia politician Joseph E. Coleman, as well as less well-known African American performers, athletes, educators, physicians, artists, and other citizens. Materials include family and personal papers, such as correspondence, scrapbooks, and certificates; organizational records, such as minute books, financial documents, and by-laws; and photographs, artwork, posters, architectural drawings, and numerous other document types. The focus of the collections is on the Philadelphia area, although other geographic regions are also covered.