Five Online Museum Exhibits to Visit for Black History Month

Since February marks Black History Month in the United States and Canada, we wanted to share some exhibitions that specifically highlight the history and art of Black Americans (and Canadians). Also known as African American History Month, it was first officially recognized in 1976.

Obviously, we should be learning about and engaging with Black history and art every month of the year, but February is a dedicated time to recognize it. Many museums have put together special exhibits in honor of the month, while others already had relevant exhibits available to their audiences.

This list contains five exhibits that you can experience virtually, no matter where you’re located.

TRAVELING WHILE BLACK: A CENTURY OF PLEASURE & PAIN & PILGRIMAGES at the New York Public Library
Photograph courtesy of the New York Public Library

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, part of the New York Public Library, currently has an exhibit about African Americans and travel. Covering over a century, it examines the migration of African Americans north and west in the early 1900s and what it was like to travel in the Jim Crow South. Many are familiar with the concept of a Green Book, but the Schomburg Center has the largest collection of them worldwide. The online exhibit even has an audio guide tour that you can listen to.

STANDING UP FOR CHANGE at the National Women’s History Museum
Photograph courtesy of the National Women’s History Museum

The National Women’s History Museum in Virginia has a digital exhibit about African American women and the Civil Rights Movement. It shares the stories of many women who were a part of the movement over a long period of time and their often-forgotten accomplishments. It’s full of fantastic photographs with explanations that will educate you about the women of the Civil Rights Movement whose names you probably haven’t heard before.

STORIES OF RESILIENCE: ENCOUNTERING RACISM at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum
Photograph courtesy of the Lyman Allyn Art Museum

This digitized exhibit examines the lives of five New London County residents–from an attorney to a Coast Guard commander, to a freed slave and teacher.  It looks at how these Black Americans thrived despite the challenges and prejudice they faced. The exhibit “showcases their determination, bravery, and strength in the face of personal and systemic racism.” It’s an interesting mix of people who are alive to tell their own stories, as well as a man born in the eighteenth century. The digital exhibit features photos of artifacts in addition to videos about each person’s story of resilience.

SOLIDARITY IN MY COMMUNITY at the Museum of Dufferin
Artwork courtesy of the Museum of Dufferin

The Museum of Dufferin has partnered with the Dufferin County Canadian Black Association for a digital exhibition to celebrate Black History Month. Inspired by the events of the summer, they requested submissions from artists across Canada supporting a theme of “Solidarity in My Community.” The exhibition is divided into Student Art, Student Photography, Open Art, and Open Photography and each piece is shown alongside its title, name of artist, and a brief description by the artist.

THE LIFE AND WORK OF ANTHONY AND FANNY CARTER at the North House Museum
Photograph courtesy of the North House Museum

The Greenbrier Historical Society at the North House Museum has a new in-person and digital exhibit about a free Black family in West Virginia in the mid-1800s. After being given a box with a ledger containing documents about the Carter family, the Greenbrier Historical Society has put together an exhibit with the new information about them. Anthony Carter, his wife Fanny, and children were freed from slavery in July 1837 and Anthony became a cobbler. Pictures of artifacts and written text explain what Carter’s life as a freed man in Lewisburg would have been like.

These five exhibits are just a sampling of what is available both online and in person at museums. If you’re interested in more Black History Month content, you can also check out the Smithsonian’s event calendar to see what they’re planning or browse Google Art & Culture’s  digital exhibits.

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