Twitter logo Facebook logo link to contact us page link to home page link to home page

COLLECTION DONATIONS

Collection Criteria

The California African American Museum actively collects objects that relate to the arts, sciences, religions, education, literature, entertainment, politics, sports and history of African-Americans.

Visual Rhythms - To Have and To Hold

Though the California African American Museum is a state museum and thus focuses part of its collection on objects pertinent to the state, African Americans did not spontaneously arrive here. Rather, their journey traverses centuries, multiple legs and destinations. Theirs is a history of migration, adaptation and invention. To understand the historical and cultural transformation of Africans in America and especially in California, we must collect those objects, which help tell this American tale. To that end, our intention is to collect objects which explain and document the societies of Africans who were enslaved and transported to America from the west, coastal countries of Africa. Especially part of our concentration is on the period of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. However, because the media from which these objects were created are fragile, many do not survive the ravages of time; hence we have broadened our policy and collect 20th century objects, which continue the aesthetic traditions of their cultural predecessors.

Tracking the migration, we collect art and objects relevant to the culture and activities of African Americans taken to the American South. The period, of course, which is relevant to our documentation, covers the arrival of Africans on American soil and their subsequent journeys west, the 17th-19th centuries. Further focusing the collection, we narrow our field to California.

Collection Scope for Art and Artifacts

West African coastal countries - 16th century to mid 20th century.

  • Ghana, Nigeria - including the Yoruba, Ashanti, Igbo, Ibiobio, Efik, Annang, Fante and Hausa ethic groups
  • Regions near present day Cóte d'Ivoire, Senegal, Benin - including the Akan, Kru, Voltaic, Mandé, Fon, Adja, Somba, Bariba, Wolof, Fula, Serer and Mandinka ethnic groups

The American South - 17th century through 19th century (the South was a slave society while the North was a society with slaves; though the overwhelming majority of African Americans were both Southern and rural until the 20th century, it is important to document the experience of Free Blacks in the North and Exodusters - ex-slaves from the Southeast seeking to claim lands and establish homesteads in Kansas).

  • The Migration Trail - South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas

California, 18th century to present.

Please contact the Registrar at (213) 744-2023 for more information on donating to the California African American Museum. DUE TO THE CAREFUL AND DILIGENT EVALUATION OF OBJECTS UNDER CONSIDERATION, ALL ITEMS RECEIVED AFTER OCTOBER FIRST CANNOT BE THOROUGHLY PROCESSED UNTIL THE NEXT CALENDAR YEAR.