Interpreting African American History and Culture Resource Kit

The murder of George Floyd and the wave of protests against racial injustice in the summer of 2020 sparked a national conversation about confronting and dismantling systemic racism in America. As the nation reckons with its inequitable structures of power and privilege, it is imperative to understand the historical roots of these current issues to promote healing and reconciliation. As one of the most trusted sources for learning about history in the country, public history institutions have an obligation to tell the whole story of the nation’s past, which includes the dark history of racism, slavery, violence, and discrimination, from new perspectives. This Interpreting African American History and Culture Resource Kit is designed to help public historians fulfill this obligation. The kit is made up of AASLH conference sessions, webinars, History News, technical leaflets, and books that address topics such as working with descendant communities, celebrating Juneteenth, interpreting slavery for a variety of audiences, and the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement on museum practice. Select AASLH award winners are included as case studies for how the contents of this kit can be applied to meaningfully, accurately, and effectively exhibit and interpret African American history and culture.

A full annotated guide to these resources, including details and summaries, can be found here.

Past Conference Sessions

History News Articles and Technical Leaflets



Balgooy, Max van, ed. Interpreting African American History and Culture at Museums and Historic Sites. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014.

Gallas, Kristin L. Interpreting Slavery with Children and Teens at Museums and Historic Sites. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2021.

Gallas, Kristin L., and James DeWolf Perry, eds. Interpreting Slavery at Museums and Historic Sites. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014.


Leadership in History Award Winners


Award of Excellence: John Dickinson Plantation, Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs for the search, discovery, and interpretation of the African Burial Ground at the John Dickinson Plantation

Award of Excellence: Frazier Kentucky History Museum for West of Ninth: Race, Reckoning, and Reconciliation


Award of Excellence and History in Progress Award: Orange County Regional History Center for the exhibit Yesterday, This Was Home: The Ocoee Massacre of 1920

Award of Excellence: Cape Fear Museum of History and Science for Wilmington Massacre and Coup D’État of 1898—Timeline of Events


Award of Excellence: Colchester Historical Society for the exhibit Emerging from the Shadows: The Story of Colchester's School for Colored Children, 1803-1840

Award of Excellence: Florida Historical Society for the multimedia project Florida Frontiers Television: "Free Black Settlements in Spanish Colonial Florida"


Award of Excellence: Chris Myers Asch and George Derek Musgrove for the publication Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital

Award of Excellence: Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Commission Inc. for the exhibit One More River to Cross


Award of Merit: Missouri Historical Society for the project #1 in Civil Rights: The African American Freedom Struggle in St. Louis

Award of Merit: : Montana Historical Society for the project Montana’s African American Heritage Resources


Award of Merit: Little Compton Historical Society for the project If Jane Should Want to Be Sold: Stories of Enslavement, Indenture and Freedom in Little Compton, Rhode Island

Award of Merit: Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association for the exhibit Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon


Award of Merit: California African American Museum, Stephanie DeLancey, and dewdropstudios for the exhibit Coloring Independently: 1940s African American Film Stills from the Collection of the California African American Museum

Award of Merit: Elgin History Museum, Grindstone Productions, and Ernie Broadnax for the project Two Boxcars, Three Blocks, One City: A Story of Elgin’s African American Heritage