Du Sable Museum a Reflection of African-American Essay

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Du Sable Museum

A Reflection of African-American History

The DuSable Museum of African-American History is the oldest major museum related to African-American legacy. Founded by Margaret Taylor in 1961, the museum runs on a self-governing model with focus on collection, interpretation and achievement of African-American history. Its location in Chicago provides it an edge over other museums entailing artifacts related to this subject as Chicago was one of the prime cities where the major migration of African-American migration took place. Therefore, the city has African-American blood and heritage in its roots. This is the reason why the organization receives donations from local communities which ranges from single artifact to entire collection. The Diaspora of black people and the regions that black communities were related to, is well-reflected by the collection of Artifacts provided by local African-American communities. Its extensive collection of African-American heritage gives it a status of connoisseurship in its own way (William, 1988).

Its earliest name was the Ebony Museum of Negro History and Art which was later on changed into Museum of Negro History and Art. This museum was the result of efforts made by the team of Dr. Margaret along with her husband and the team of artists and educators having an interracial background. The earliest location of this museum was Burroughs's own residence. In 1968, the museum was given its present name after the pioneer Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable who himself was the first American with non-native background, to settle in Chicago. Due to the increasing contribution made by the local community, the museum soon needed more space for expansion. It was in 1970, when the Chicago Park District provides a space for further expansion. The current location of this museum is now, Washington Park at 740 East 56th Place which has a historic stature itself (DuSable Museum, 2008). Three years after getting the space, the museum moved into its new facility. This change of location made it a prominent member of the consortium of Chicago museums. Since it was the only museum of its kind reflecting African-American major migration movement and culture, heritage and history, the museum soon became the focal point for the local African-American community as well as African-American residing in other cities. During this time, the museum gained national fame and became the joining node between the African-American communities in various locations. The national prominence of DuSable made the communities in other cities form replicas of this museum which are now located in Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia and Los Angeles (Dickerson, 2005).

It was the further donations of artifacts by the African-American community which made this museum expand to the extent that it required further space which resulted in an addition of 28,000 sq. ft into its actual area covered in 1993. The new museum not only had more new galleries but also had a spacious auditorium capable of accommodating 450 visitors. In 2004, the museum expanded again and this time the expansion was in the form of acquiring new historic building, the former roundhouse and stables designed and built in 1880 for Washington Park by the architects Daniel H. Burnham and John W. Root, located just south of the museum across 57th Street. This expansion made it the largest museum in United States.

During the visits, one can find a large and diversified collection of archived publication and other written material, historic literature, artifacts, photographs of the evolutionary era and other models of fine arts. This huge art collection allows the visitors to have a look at African-American culture and heritage, the major migration (Diaspora) and other historic events related to the same subject, all under one roof. Furthermore, the museum has kept its major focus on maintaining historical traces of the period starting from mid-nineteenth century till present. The historic drawings and paintings of Dox Thrash, graphical representation Henry J. Lewis, paintings by the renowned artists like Henry O. Tanner, Clementine Hunter, William H. Johnson, Charles Sebree, James A. Porter and Emilio Cruz, sculptures made by William E. Artis, Richmond Barthe, Elizabeth Catlett and Augusta Savage, and Chicago artist Richard Hunt, are some of the renowned assets of the museum.

Other than the work of major artists, the large collection…[continue]

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