Through the 18th and 19th centuries, the predominant opinion in the United States was that Black Americans had no history, says Joy Bivins, director of collections and research services at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York.
“Black history museums began to exist in the mid-20th century as a response to Black Americans not being in existing museums,” says Bivins.
Founded in 1925, the center was one of the first public spaces in the U.S. to delve into a history largely ignored or whitewashed by mainstream museums. It curated exhibits, protected artifacts, and shared first-hand perspectives from the Black community. It was a pioneer in what has become known as “first-voice” museums, says Malika Pryor, chief learning and engagement officer at the recently opened International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina.
She describes these museums as being born from community history rather than “stolen” artifacts—an initiative that sprouted with Indigenous communities. “We tell the stories of people who have either been completely left out of [mainstream] institutions or whose objects—as extensions of their lives—have been interpreted in a way that is not an [accurate] reflection,” she says.
These sites, from Washington, D.C., to Alabama, offer travelers an unfiltered immersion into the often overlooked and underreported narratives of Black American history.
As more Black culture and history museums open across the country, each presents more nuanced stories unique to their communities. For example, Virginia Beach plans to open The Virginia African American Cultural Center in 2028, highlighting Black Americans’ local contributions.
“That’s the role of public history, to guide people through learning and understanding about what happened in the past, what’s happening in the present,” says Lauren Cross, executive museum strategist for the National Juneteenth Museum, scheduled to open on Juneteenth 2025, in Fort Worth, Texas.
(In Charleston, Black history is being told through a new lens.)
Travelers looking for first-voice museums that comprehensively examine the Black community’s history and culture should start at Washington, D.C.’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. The newest Smithsonian Institution museum takes an unflinching look at the travails and triumphs of African Americans, illuminating more than 400 years of artifacts and historical information.
Other noteworthy museums include the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. Established in 1965, this museum holds the world’s largest permanent collection of African American culture. Among the more than 35,000 artifacts, find displays on trailblazers in
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As Black History Month draws to a close, the Negro Motorist Green Book Exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum is still going strong and open to the public. Featuring a carefully curated selection of artifacts and narratives relating to the famous ‘Green Book’ guide, the showcase is a treasure trove of mid-century American culture. Having partnered with the Smithsonian to bring the show to life, the museum delves into history in an exciting departure from its usual exhibition schedule.
An announcement this week from American Airlines created widespread concern and confusion in the travel advisor community. Once again, as with the NDC fare roll-out, we have a half-baked, significant policy change released to the marketplace without fully thinking through the ramifications or fully communicating specifically how advisors would be impacted.
Motors and Motown put Detroit on the map. Michigan’s largest city also has a vibrant cultural scene expressed through street murals and a rotating fleet of 75 seasonal food trucks. Served by the free-to-ride QLine Streetcar, Woodward Avenue links Downtown Detroit with Brush Park, Midtown, and the Amtrak station. The Detroit People Mover (DPM) is free for 2024, meaning that you’ll have more dollars to put toward sightseeing – or a place to hang your hat. Featuring skyline condos and artsy lofts, these Airbnbs in Detroit have as much character as Motor City.
Alaska Airlines is making it easier to see April’s epic solar eclipse with a series of flights heading to destinations along the path of totality — and they're selling out. The specific routes, which fly to places like Mazatlán, Mexico, Texas, and Ohio, have seen a threefold increase in demand compared to previous years, Alaska Airlines shared with Travel + Leisure. And that increased demand has led to increasingly sold-out flights.
While North America is home to its fair share of fascinating animals—the grizzly bear, American bison and American alligator, to name a few—this sprawling nation is no slouch when it comes to plantlife, either. Across the colder reaches of the continent, the icy grip of winter is beginning to thaw, ushering in a new round of colorful flowers for tourists to admire. From native superblooms to carefully-manicured lavender gardens, the following regions offer a spectacular array of flora that are perfect for a memorable spring vacation.
Hawaii is the latest destination to consider taxing visitors to help address the effects of climate change and overtourism, two issues that are particularly front of mind in the Aloha State following the devastating Lahaina fire.
Denella Ri'chard has been the host of the TV show "Traveling with Denella Ri'chard" since 2020. She is a former executive of Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Hilton, and is also a consultant and industry speaker.
This year more folks are prioritizing travel and newfangled experiences. We’re inspired by beloved television shows à la Emily in Paris to reexamine cities we’ve previously visited. Scoring tickets to see our favorite musical artists, like Taylor Swift, fortuitously opens up the prospect of flying to a different country. A rising wellness and longevity movement encourages travelers to seek alcohol-free vacations. Slower and more intentional travel—quality over quantity—is important and sustainability and eco-minded experiences are at the forefront.
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