While many, if not most of us learned that Black History Month, celebrated throughout the month of February, meant only that we observed the works of Dr. King and Rosa Parks, I have news for you.
There is more; much more, and the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center is opening their doors this weekend for families to explore just that.
I will admit that before I lived in the South, Black History Month meant the above. We read the story about Rosa and the Back of the Bus, colored pictures of Martin Luther King, and maybe watched a video of the 'I Have a Dream' speech. But for kids growing up in the Northwest and Alaska, especially, we had little to connect the African American culture to our own lives. The Museum, as part of AT&T's Family Free Day, is celebrating Black History Month in creative, passionate ways that teach all of us how African Americans contributed in a big way to the success of the West.
Saturday, February 7th is the day to come on downtown and check out a number of kid-friendly exhibits that will appeal to everyone from preschooler to teenager. Arts and crafts, music, and other interesting tidbits of fun will be ready for your family all afternoon.
Some exhibits, like the 'Northwest Black Pioneers' will be on display through the end of March. The traveling exhibit documents the transformation of a migration pattern to the Pacific Northwest (Alaska, Oregon, and Washington) beween 1860 and 1950. Fascinating stuff.
Teenagers and parents alike will be struck by the depth of understanding and compassion in the 'I Draw the Line...On Ignorance, Racism, Violence, and Hatred' exhibit, a juried display by Alaska high schoolers. Students were asked to respond to Dr. King's teacings through art, with contemplative results that will move you.
With the recent election of our nation's first African American President, there has never been a better time to engage your kids in a day of remembrance, hope, and positive change for the future. For a preview of the exhibits at the Museum, check their Web site.
One final note; the Anchorage Museum will be shutting its doors between March 30 and May 29 to move exhibits into the newly constructed areas, so don't miss these current exhibits while they are still available. Also, note that Adult Admission is only $5 (except Family Day, when everyone is Free). Kids 17 and younger are still free. That's pretty good when you consider other attractions in town.
Check it out.