African American Museum in Philadelphia announces new exhibit, May 6 reopening

Anna Russell Jones is pictured sitting

Anna Russell Jones is recognized as the first Black graduate of Moore College of Art and Design. (AAMP/Facebook)

The African American Museum in Philadelphia will soon join the cadre of cultural institutions that are open to the public.

Starting May 6, the museum will welcome back guests for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Sabrina Brooks, chair of AAMP’s board of directors, said they are thrilled to welcome guests back in person.

“As a Philadelphia institution dedicated to honoring the history and culture of African American and Black communities,” Brooks said, “we are deeply committed to teaching, learning, and bearing witness to the stories of African Americans and the African Diaspora in all its permutations.”

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The museum’s reopening marks the launch of a new exhibit that features a pioneering Philly graduate: “Anna Russell Jones: The Art of Design.”

A promotional image for “Anna Russell Jones: The Art of Design”
“Anna Russell Jones: The Art of Design” will open to the public on May 6. (AAMP)

Known for her wallpaper and carpet designs, Jones is recognized as the first Black graduate of Moore College of Art and Design. The AAMP exhibit, pulling archival materials from a rare collection, marries Jones’ interest in African American history and civil rights, and her commitment to public service.

“Anna Russell Jones: The Art of Design” will be on view through Sept. 12.

What else is open?

Also on view, as a permanent exhibition, is “Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776-1876,” which recounts the stories of people of African descent in Philly during the years that followed the nation’s founding.

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A promotional image for "Rendering Justice"
“Rendering Justice” is currently available for view as a virtual exhibit at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. (AAMP)

For those who cannot visit in person, or who would rather opt for the virtual experience, AAMP will also continue offering online exhibitions and special events.

A photo from Jack T. Franklin's AAMP collection shows young Black boys with a sign that says, "We are ready to do the job"
“Through His Eyes: Youth Activism in The Civil Rights Era In Philadelphia,” features photos from Jack T. Franklin. (AAMP)

A current online exhibition, “Rendering Justice,” offers an expansive view of mass incarceration and its role in contemporary America. Also available for view online is “Through His Eyes: Youth Activism in the Civil Rights Era In Philadelphia.” The virtual exhibit pulls from Jack T. Franklin’s AAMP photographic collection to highlight these often-overlooked civil rights activists.

What will the museum reopening look like?

Until indoor capacity limits are lifted, the museum will be open Thursdays through Sundays from noon to 5 p.m., with three allotted time frames for touring.

During this reopening phase, the museum will accommodate around 80 people at a time, including 20 staff members and 60 guests.

Guests, who will be required to wear face masks and observe physical distancing guidelines, are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance online. Self-service kiosks will also be available for on-site ticketing.

Those interested can purchase timed tickets or learn more about AAMP online.

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