Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Fort Wayne: The African/African American Museum

I took a tour of the African/African American Museum. It was a perfect day. People were happy and the sounds of music permeated the building. The museum is ten years old. It is beautiful, powerful and growing.

The first floor begins with a poster of our President, there is no question that people here are proud of President Obama. The next room is the African Room. It has artifacts from West Africa. The room connects to the Passage From Africa Room. Here there are artifacts of the slave ships. From the ceiling hang models of slave ships. It is a sobering room. Behind this room is a gift shop and then two rooms with paintings from local artists.

African-African American Museum: Passage to America

The second floor has a number of exhibits. This includes a room of Fort Wayne African Americans who have changed the city. There is a room dedicated to athletes. There is one dedicated to Audubon. The paintings for birds are replicates done by a local artist.

African-African-American Museum: The African Room

I had questions and volunteers were happy to answer my questions. However, when they could not answer my questions they referred me to one person, Hana L. Stith, the curator and founder of the museum. She is a fixture in the city culture. She is a mover and a shaker, she is a blessing.

Hana was nice enough to grant me an interview. I did not know she was a graduate of the University of Saint Francis, or as it was known then, the College of Saint Francis. She attended the college when it admitted its first male student, times have changed.

Curator Stith takes a great deal of pride in the museum and she should. It is an anchor in the cultural corridor of Fort Wayne. It is visited by many students from northeast Indiana. It is gathering artifacts from the areas underground railroad. It discovers local talent and highlights that talent.

An Interview with Ms Hana L. Stith: Curator

This was the second stop on my cultural tour of Fort Wayne. Two down, one more to go!

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