DuSable Museum of African-American History

The DuSable Museum was founded in 1961 as the Ebony Museum of Negro History and Art by a group of artists and educators in Chicago including Margaret and Charles Burroughs. The Museum is the oldest and only one of its type dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of black history and culture. In 1968, the Museum was renamed DuSable after Jean Baptist Point DuSable, a Haitian fur trader and the first permanent settler in Chicago. The exhibitions and displays trace African-American history from the shores of Africa to the present day and include such notable achievers as Bessie Coleman, first black female aviator, the Tuskegee airmen of WWII, Major Robert Lawrence, the first black astronaut, and Harold Washington, the first black mayor of Chicago. Another gallery, a separate wing, and a 450-seat theater were added to the Museum in 1993 in honor of the late Mayor Washington. Upgrades were made to the Trading Post museum store and plans for additional facilities and gallery space are ongoing.

The Museum has an extensive, permanent collection of artifacts, books, slave documents, and civil rights memorabilia, as well as paintings and sculpture by Charles White, Archibald Motley, Elizabeth Catlett, and Henry Ossawa Tanner. Visitors can view rare books, bronze, wood, and ivory castings and masks, and other items of African-American historical significance.

Special exhibitions in the Museum include the remarkable photographs taken by Father Pedro Pablo Hernandez, the missionary priest who has spent years with the tribal people in the remote village of Guji in the mountains of Ethiopia. An impressive exhibit at the Museum documents the people and events in the Civil Rights Movement including photographs and artifacts collected by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and the march on Washington, and objects from the Movement in Chicago. Another prominent display details the history of Annie Malone, a black woman of incredible initiative, who established 48 Poro beauty schools, ran a multi-million dollar empire, and owned four mansions on Chicago’s south side.

Popular annual events held at the Museum include The Arts & Crafts Festival in July that features traditional, ethnic, and experimental works by local artists and the gala award ceremony at the Night of 100 Stars, honoring Chicago’s African-American achievers. In addition, the Museum sponsors films, lectures, and workshops at various times during the year presented by prominent physicians, historians, and speakers from across the country. Individuals or small organizations may apply to rent limited space for $300.00 in the Community Gallery of the Museum, for special exhibitions on accomplishments and events in African American communities that may be of interest to the public.

Hours: Tuesday — Saturday, 10:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m., Sunday, 12:00 Noon to 5:00 p.m. Closed on Mondays (June 1 through January 2, except for school holidays), the 3rd Saturday, and Sunday in February, Easter, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Admission: Adults $3.00, seniors and students $2.00, children 6 — 13 $1.00. Under 6 free and free admission to all on Sunday. Memberships and sponsorships are encouraged.

One Response to “DuSable Museum of African-American History”

  1. Laval, Roland Says:


    Your current presentation of the DuSable Museun provide better information than the museum own site. At least their is a possibility to submit some comment in yours. Thus, should you have the link with the DuSable museum Curator, I would lile knowing why it is impossible to access any information on the past exhibitions at the Museum e.g. The Haitian Connection Exhibit in 1982 (or 1983), a painting by Haitian Artist Pierre AUGUSTIN havinh been in my recolection commissionned by the Museum.
    Said differently, it is impossible browsing through the Museum art collections.

    Best regard
    Paris, France
    March 16, 2008
    Roland G. Laval