Walkthrough gives preview of International African American Museum exhibits

Published: Jun. 23, 2023 at 4:22 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 24, 2023 at 6:11 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Lowcountry media outlets got a chance Friday to tour Charleston’s International African American Museum just days ahead of its public grand opening.

Exhibits in the facility, which spans 150,000 square feet, range in age from 300 BC to current day. Visitors will hear stories of the Transatlantic slave trade and its impact on South Carolina. The museum also explains the meaning of the African Diaspora, the global spread of Africans from their native homeland, through several permanent displays.

Lowcountry media got the chance to walk through the new International African American Museum days ahead of its official opening.

Dr. Tonya Matthews, the museum’s president and CEO, says the museum is a midpoint in the array of African history and culture.

“One of the things we do is evoke multiple emotions, I do want folks to understand that this is a big story it’s not just sad, it’s not just victorious, it’s a lot of things,” she says. “And I want visitors to get a sense of that, and I want them to leave with curiosity.”

The museum is located on Gadsden’s Wharf, the place where ships filled with African men, woman and children first came to Charleston.

The facility will also offer family and genealogy resources for those looking to learn more about their own stories and ancestry. While the museum does not open until next week, that resource is already available on its website.