February has been designated as Black History Month by every U.S. President since 1976, and is a time to celebrate the instrumental roles and incredible achievements of African Americans throughout America’s history.
NYC museums and park galleries are honoring the special time with a number of new and limited-time exhibits! Enjoy the many chances to educate yourself on exceptional stories throughout U.S. and world history as well as the role of race in society today.
1. “Race and Revolution: Home/Land,” Lewis Latimer House Museum
Lewis Howard Latimer was an African American inventor who was integral in developing the light bulb and telephone, and he lived right here in Queens from 1903 to 1928. The house has now been restored to offer a peek into his everyday life and work. Along with the permanent collection of Latimer’s possessions and recreations of patents, on February 8 they will be opening a new series that “that confronts historical patterns of systemic racism in the United States.” It will compare and contrast the ways the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 “detained, deported, and re-enslaved ‘runaways'” with the current methods employed by Immigration Customs Enforcement.
Where: 34-41 137th St, Flushing, Queens
Tickets: Pay-as-you-wish with a suggested donation of $5 for individual visitors.
2. A Salute to Black Achievements in Television, Paley Center for Media
With a special spotlight on comedy and BET’s 40th anniversary, this exhibit from February 1 through March 2 is FREE and open to the public. You can watch exclusive compilations of the work of black comedians and test your knowledge of their shows, and also see rare artifacts on display like the Gumby costume from Saturday Night Live, Trevor Noah’s “Racism Detective” wardrobe, and Tracy Jordan’s EGOT necklace from 30 Rock.
Where: 25 West 52 Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues
Tickets: FREE, you can RSVP online here.
3. Screening and Panel Discussion, Brooklyn Historical Society
The Brooklyn Historical Society has a few fitting events for education during Black History Month. First, there will be a screening on February 18 at 6 p.m. of Always in Season, which follows a mother’s fight for a federal investigation when her son Lennon Lacy was found hanging from a swingset in North Carolina. There will also be a panel on bias in the workplace against people of color and women, on February 26 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: 128 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
4. Namesakes: Honoring African Americans in NYC Parks, Arsenal Gallery in Central Park
The gallery within Central Park has a collection of photographs currently on display that show NYC’s parks and monuments that honor African Americans. From Marcus Garvey Park in Manhattan to Hattie Carthan Community Garden in Brooklyn, they honor the influence these important individuals had on our city. It will take place now though February 27, 2020.
Where: 830 5th Ave
Tickets: Admission is free.
5. Focus on African Arts Tour, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met is celebrating Black History Month with a special tour highlighting their collection of African art. Meet at the “Tours” sign in the Great Hall on Tuesday, February 4 at 1 p.m.
Where: 1000 5th Ave
Tickets: Free with museum admission (which is pay-as-you-wish for New York State residents).
6. Black in Time: A Black Renaissance, Art & Design Gallery at FIT
The Black Student Union at FIT curated an interactive exhibit with artwork by students, faculty, and alumni that demonstrates “the constant evolution of black art, using it also as a teaching tool to educate visitors about black fashion, art, music, cinema, and literature, from Ancient Egypt to the present day.” It is on from now through March 8.
Where: Pomerantz Center, Fashion Institute of Technology, 227 West 27th Street
Tickets: Free and open to the public.
7. African Arts—Global Conversations, Brooklyn Museum
This new exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum hopes to insert African works into the overall historical context of art, where they have been unfairly excluded before in other museums. It opens on February 14 in the Lobby Gallery (1st Floor, Collection Galleries, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Floors) and will run through November.
Where: 200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY
Tickets: Overall museum admission is $16 for adults.
8. Black History Month Exhibition, Poe Park Visitor Center
Poe Park in the Bronx is named after famous poet Edgar Allen Poe since he lived in a white cottage on the grounds from 1846 through 1849. He wrote “The Bells,” “Eureka,” and “Annabel Lee” all there. For their February exhibit for Black History Month, they’re featuring the art of Kristen Cherry, James Deliard, Thomas Green, and Dolo, displaying “their interpretation of the black experience through their artistic work.”
Where: Poe Park Visitor Center, 2640 Grand Concourse, Bronx
Tickets: Free on Tuesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
9. Jackie Robinson Family Day, Museum of the City of New York
Tuesday, February 19 will be “Jackie Robinson Family Day” at the Museum of the City of New York. At this kid-friendly occasion, visitors can learn all about the career of Jackie Robinson, who was the first African American to play in Major League Baseball. They’ll get to embark on a scavenger hunt within the In the Dugout with Jackie Robinson exhibit and then can design a sports pennant and decorate a baseball during snack time.
Where: 1220 Fifth Ave., at 103rd St.
Tickets: Register online here.
10. Black History Month Celebration, Museum of the Moving Image
The Museum of the Moving Image in Queens partnered with the Afrikan Poetry Theatre and Black Filmmaker Foundation for their Black History Month Celebration during February. This includes a screening of the dance film “4 Little Girls” along with a live performance from tap musician Omar Edwards and dancers from the Edge School of the Arts on February 9, as well as a screening of the Aretha Franklin Amazing Grace performance followed by a discussion with one of the producers Rob Johnson on February 13.
Where: 36-01 35th Ave, Astoria, NY
Tickets: Varies, purchase online here.
For more Black History Month events, check out this Candlelight Concert that pays homage to great composers such as Charlie Parker & Chevalier de Saint George!
featured image source: Metropolitan Museum of Art