Griot Museum of Black His­tory

Where St. Louis - - EDITOR’S ITINERARY -

The museum, housed in a hand­some brick build­ing, opened in 1997 as The Black World His­tory Wax Museum, and twelve years later, changed the name to more ac­cu­rately re­flect its mis­sion: to col­lect, pre­serve, and share the sto­ries, cul­ture, and his­tory of African Amer­i­cans—par­tic­u­larly those with a re­gional con­nec­tion to Amer­i­can his­tory. Griot (pro­nounced “GREE-OH”) refers to the re­spected mem­ber of the com­mu­nity in some African coun­tries who col­lects, pre­serves and shares the com­mu­nity's sto­ries, ob­jects, and cul­tural tra­di­tions. To that end, the museum il­lu­mi­nates the sto­ries of no­table African Amer­i­cans through life-size wax fig­ures, art, ar­ti­facts and mem­o­ra­bilia, in­clud­ing Carter G. Wood­son, Josephine Baker (shown here), Dred and Harriet Scott, El­iz­a­beth Keck­ley, Wil­liam Wells Brown, James Mil­ton Turner, Clark Terry, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Rev. Earl. E. Nance Sr., Miles Davis, Madame C.J. Walker, York, Percy Green, Ma­cler Shep­ard, Chief Sher­man Ge­orge, and others. The his­tory of blacks in Amer­ica be­gan, of course, with the mon­u­men­tal in­jus­tice of slav­ery, and the museum's in­ter­pre­tive pro­gram in­cludes an au­then­tic slave cabin from Jones­burg, Mis­souri. Vis­i­tors can solve puz­zles, view doc­u­men­tary videos, and “board” a scale model sec­tion of a ship that repli­cates those used to trans­port Africans to Amer­ica dur­ing the Transat­lantic Slave Trade, as well as see trav­el­ing ex­hibits. The museum's gift shop of­fers Afro­cen­tric cloth­ing, jew­elry, fig­urines, sculp­tures, books, videos, and greet­ing cards. Open W-Sa 10 am-5 pm. Ad­mis­sion $7.50 adults, $3.75 chil­dren 5-12. www.the­gri­ot­mu­, 2505 St. Louis Ave., 314.241.7057.

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