We're kicking off our national BlackVoices History Quest tour in "The City of Brotherly Love," Philadelphia.
Probably best known for its hoagies, cheesesteaks and being the home of the Roots, Philadelphia is also home to a broad range of interesting and educational black history museums and events this month.
Check out some of the great places we found. You can also map out a family trip to all these places using the map below.
If we missed a place that you know and love, let us know in the comments, tweet it to us using the hashtag #BHMQuest or post it on our Facebook wall. We'll keep adding to this map and gallery as the month goes on.
Located just a few blocks from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia's Center City East neighborhood, the African American Museum was established in 1976 as part of the city's bicentennial celebrations. It bears the distinction of being the first African-American heritage institution to be funded by a major city. The museum covers three main narratives: The African Diaspora, African-Americans in Philadelphia from 1776 to 1876 and contemporary African-American history and culture. The museum boasts thousands of historical objects, including photographs, furniture, clothing, art and documents, and high-tech interactive galleries that bring history to life. All ages are encouraged to visit, with a children's gallery geared toward 3 to 8-year-olds, youth education programs and plenty of offerings for adult visitors. The museum store features a selection of books, gifts and souvenirs. During Black History Month in February 2012, the African American Museum partners with the Independence Seaport Museum at Penn's Landing on the Delaware River Waterfront for "James Forten on Display," a special exhibition devoted to the African-American businessman who ran a sail-making company in Philadelphia after the revolution; there will be a display at each museum. -- Holly Quinn Address: 701 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA 19106 Telephone: 215-574-0380 Hours Of Operation: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday and Tuesday. Cost: $10 for adults; $8 for students, seniors and children 4 to 12.
Preserving the memory of the darkest period of African-American history, the Lest We Forget" Black Holocaust Museum in the Port Richmond area of Philadelphia focuses on the U.S. slave trade and Jim Crow and their impact on the black community. The private collection of slave-era artifacts, including chains, manacles, branding irons, photographs and documentation, helps shine a light on horrors of the past, as well as triumphs of African Americans throughout history. Historic and contemporary artwork are also on display. J. Justin Ragsdale, the museum's founder, gives tours of the collection by appointment. "Lest We Forget" also has a traveling museum, which brings artifacts to schools, universities and churches. The award-winning film "My Slave Sister Myself" by Gwen Ragsdale is available for private screenings. --Holly Quinn Address: 3650 Richmond St., Philadelphia, PA 19134 Telephone: 215-397-6060 Hours Of Operation: By appointment only, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Cost: $10
The Philadelphia Doll Museum, located along the Avenue of the Arts on North Broad Street, is the only museum in North America dedicated entirely to the preservation of black dolls. The museum's founder, Barbara Whiteman, established the museum in 1988 as a place to display her large collection and to share her knowledge of the long cultural history of black dolls through programs and seminars. Dolls in the collection include African figures, Colonial American folk art dolls, pre-World War I German dolls, Kewpie dolls, character dolls and the Roberta Bell Doll Collection. Each doll in the museum tells a story about its time period and the perception of blacks in the U.S. and abroad. For example, some early 20th-century dolls were considered stereotypical and offensive even in their own time, leading many black parents to make their own handmade dolls for their children. The museum is geared toward history buffs and doll collectors alike, with regular two-hour tours exploring the 300-plus dolls on display and an extensive research library. --Holly Quinn Address: 2253 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19132 Telephone: 215-787-0220 Hours Of Operation: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; noon to 4 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Cost: $4 for adults; $3 for children, students and seniors.
Set in beautiful Fairmount Park, the Belmont Mansion has the feel of a country estate, despite its location in the middle of a major city. The mansion's original owners, the Peters family, were abolitionists from the mid-18th century. The family had many ties to well-known historical figures, including William Penn, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, many of whom stayed at the mansion during the time Richard Peters, secretary of the Board of the Revolutionary Army and a member of the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery, made it his home. After extensive renovations, the mansion was opened to the public as the Underground Railroad Museum in 2007. The museum honors the Peters family's fight to abolish slavery, with exhibits on the men and women who escaped slavery through the famed Underground Railroad, as well as the people who helped them. Photographs and artifacts help tell the story, and guided tours are available. --Holly Quinn Address: 2000 Belmont Mansion Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19131 Telephone: 215-878-8844 Hours Of Operation: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; closed Monday. Cost: $7 for adults; $5 for children 6 to 18, students and seniors; children younger than 6 admitted free.