What's happening at the National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center Early Spring 2020


 Queens of the Heartland
opens April 11

One of Ohio's greatest legacies is a story rarely told. Since the 1800s, Ohio was at the heart of social change led by African American women. Not only was Ohio the first free state established from the Northwest Territory, but it was also home to some of the earliest universities for African Americans and women. Ohio drew Black women from across the country who found there wasn't space for them in their chosen professions, in education, or society at large, and so they built their lives here. 
Queens of the Heartland will feature 30 of these pioneering women in a new exhibition curated by the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center. The exhibit is presented as a part of the Ohio History Connection's celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment that gave American women the right to vote.
Visitors will learn amazing stories through panel text as well as three-dimensional objects. Edmonia Lewis
(left photo above) was the first sculptor of African American and American Indian descent to achieve international recognition in the mid-19th century. Many of the most prominent and influential Black suffragists, such as Anna J. Cooper and Mary Church Terrell, were classmates at Oberlin College, where they laid the groundwork that would ultimately result in the 19th amendment. 
The exhibit also features the stories of 20th century Black women. Discover Ione Biggs
(center photo above), one the first female police officers in Cleveland. Writer Rita Dove, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her verse novel Thomas and Beulah, and Irene Long (right photo above), the first female chief medical officer at the Kennedy Space Center, are among the many trailblazers in the exhibit.

Queens of the Heartland includes portrait illustrations of each woman created by New York City artist Nichole Washington, whose work focuses on identity and celebrates the African American woman. In a recent interview with Refinery29, where her art is frequently shown, she offered a motto that would certainly resonate with any of the 30 women in the exhibit: "Create from the inside out. Honor who you are on the inside and allow yourself to share that with the world." Washington's artistic contribution brings a new perspective to modernize these indelible legacies, inspiring the next generation of young women and girls to carry the torch. 

Queens of the Heartland opens at the NAAMCC on April 11 and runs through February 28, 2021. The exhibit is supported by a grant from the Ohio Arts Council. Stay tuned for more information on exhibit-related programming in the coming months. For more information, call 800.752.2603 ext. 0 or visit ohiohistory.org/naamcc

  2020 Art of Soul! Juried Art Show Call for Artist Entries

The National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center (NAAMCC) presents its seventh annual juried art show-Art of Soul! This year, NAAMCC will collaborate with the King Arts Complex to host Art of Soul! in Columbus, Ohio. Artists from across the United States are invited to submit their work to the national juried art exhibition in response to the theme of Impact. Applicants must submit a completed entry form along with their non-refundable entry fee (see Entry Fees & Payments below). Click here to download the entry form and submission guidelines.
All submissions should emphasize themes and perspectives related to the African diaspora or African American culture, history, or experience. NOTE: A panel of judges will review all entries. Details on submission guidelines and formats are included in the Call For Artists packet.
Participants and winners will be recognized at the Artists’ Reception and Awards Ceremony at the King Arts Complex, 867 Mt. Vernon Ave., Columbus, on Saturday, September 12, 2020. The exhibition will run through Saturday, February 27, 2021.
Entry Fees & Payments
Each applicant must submit a non-refundable entry fee of $35 for one (1) entry and $60 for up to three (3) entries. Payments can be made on-line using a credit or debit card by visiting http://www.ohiohistorystore.com/artofsoul.aspx
A discount of $5 will be given for credit/debit card payments completed on-line by Saturday, June 6, 2020. An additional discount of $5 will be given to every early-bird submission and payment received by Saturday, May 9, 2020.
Other payment methods: NAAMCC will accept a money order or cashier’s check payable to the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center. Money order or cashier’s checks must be received within five calendar days of the entry form submission.
All entry applications and fees must be received by 4 pm Saturday, June 6, 2020. At that time, any entry application that is received without payment will be automatically disqualified. The deadline for submission is set and will not be extended under any circumstances. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 800.752.2603 ext. 0

Current Exhibits:

*African Americans Fighting for a Double Victory
Now through 2022    
*Behind the Mask: Black Power in Comics  
Now through 2022

*What's in Your Attic? Selections from Our Permanent Collections  
Now through 2022

NAAMCC is open Wed-Sat from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. For more information go to ohiohistory.org/naamcc or call 800.752.2603 ext. 0.

Ohio Diaspora-Artists from the Collection of the National Afro American Museum and Culture Center and Ohio Artists
Now through April 11, 2020
Riffe Gallery 
77 S. High St., Vern Riffe Center, Columbus  614.644.6924


The Riffe Gallery, in collaboration with the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center (NAAMCC) in Wilberforce, is showcasing the work of 17 living Ohio Black artists. Most of the artwork is from the NAAMCC permanent art collection. The exhibit and programming is supported by the Ohio Arts Council.
Image Credit: Willis “Bing” Davis, Ancestral Spirit Dance #415, 2009, oil pastel  

Other Upcoming 2020 Exhibits
Queens of the Heartland
Opens April 11, 2020 at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center
NAAMCC Traveling Exhibit Showcase
Opens April 11, 2020 at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center
2020 Art of Soul! Juried Art Show
Opens Sept. 12. 2020 at the King Arts Complex, Columbus

Tell us why the National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center
and Black History matters to you!

Help us by sharing your thoughts about how the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center (NAAMCC), and museums broadly, engage you. Please take our new annual survey.

Why this survey?
We care deeply about making the Black History exhibits and cultural programming we share with you, our community, and visitors, meaningful.
But we need your help. To learn more about how visitors like you engage with us, we are participating in a national survey of museum-goers, sponsored by the American Alliance of Museums. This survey will provide us with data to help us more effectively share our work with the communities we serve.
The survey takes about 9 minutes to complete, and as a thank you there will be an opportunity for you to win one of four $50 Amazon gift cards!
Simply go to the SURVEY to get started.

Note: all responses to this survey will be kept confidential. Your response will not be used for any future solicitation. If you have any problems with the survey itself, please contact the survey administrator, Susie Wilkening, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Thank you in advance for your time and input!

Become a supporter of $30 for 30 in 2020

For over 30 years, the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center is the place to learn about African American history and culture! We are not only a resource during Black History Month; we educate all audiences about the great achievements of Black Ohioans and national figures throughout the year.
We are continuing to receive donations, so thank you to all of you who have supported us. We hope you will give $30 or more to the campaign and encourage your family and friends to join you in supporting our mission. Your donations will support our educational programs, collections care, and facilities maintenance.

You can mail your $30 or more contribution to: 
National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, P.O. Box 578
Wilberforce, Ohio 45384-0578

or call 800.752.2603 ext. 0 to make a credit card donation by phone.  

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