Exhibits

The Springfield & Central Illinois African American History Museum features exhibits which tell authentic stories about African American life in Central Illinois past and present.

Special events and private guided tours can be made outside of general admission times.
Please call the office to schedule your event,
(217) 391-6323, Toll Free (877) 757-2247.

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On-going Exhibits


The Juneteenth Timeline
The Middle Passage, an Interactive Slave Ship Experience
• “Something So Horrible,” Springfield 1908 Race Riot

• Negro Leagues Baseball in Central Illinois
• Illinois African American Pioneer Families
• Illinois Freedom Project
• “Follow the Recipe,” African American Cooking from Slavery to Today
• Oak Ridge Cemetery, The Colored Section
(Coming this summer)

The Illinois Freedom Project

April 5 - August 15, 2022

Illinois Freedom Project

The Illinois Freedom Project exhibition is an outgrowth of an educational program that engages young people with African American history in Illinois. The exhibition traces Black Illinoisans’ struggles for freedom from the French Colonial era to early-20th-century Chicago. The Illinois Freedom Project provides a glimpse into the struggles and victories of African Americans in Illinois.

Follow the Recipe Exhibit by Kathryn Harris


Introducing, Follow the Recipe, a new exhibit at the Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum. Curated (from her private collection) by local historian, former librarian and AAHM Board Member, Kathryn Harris, this exhibit pays homage to the variety and richness of African American cuisine with a look through an array of "Soulfood" cookbooks on display. Museum open W-Sat Noon to 4 p.m.

“Something So Horrible” - Springfield, Illinois 1908 Race Riots

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The Middle Passage

Featuring "The Door of No Return" - A special interactive audio-visual experience exhibit, designed ed by Jim Betts, an instructor at LLCC and retired Scenic Department Head at Paramount Studios. Figures designs by Alice Boykin. Narratives on the History of Slavery and the Middle Passage, and an artistic presentation of Mother Africa by Korbin "Kas" King. 

Exhibit sponsored by the Rotary Club of Springfield South, the Springfield Area Arts Council, ALPLM, and LLCC.

Past Exhibits

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority

Celebrating 100 years of service

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The Negro Leagues Baseball Exhibit, September 4 - October 30, 2021

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September 4 - October 30, 2021

This exhibit, on loan from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, MO, honors and explores the connections of African American Baseball history to Hispanic cultures, communities and countries. Includes profiles of players and a timeline of baseball history. Negro Leagues Beisbol, a production of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, MO will be at the AAHM September 4 - October 30, 2021.

Exhibit online resources 

Michael Bracey

Author and documentary photographer Michael J. Bracey currently resides in Maywood, IL. His work has been published in various magazines, newspapers, annual reports, and purchased by many private collectors worldwide. His featured exhibition will include works from his books, “Africans Within the Americas” and his latest book, “Caras Lindas de Colombia” (Beautiful faces of Colombia), which was published in June 2018.

Springfield, Illinois 1908 Race Riot

On the evening of August 14th, 1908, a race war broke out in Springfield, Illinois. Although six people were killed, thousands were terrorized, and hundreds of African Americans left Springfield, the event was almost lost to history. After the flurry of (biased) news coverage directly following the event, there was little said or written about it for nearly 80 years. Springfield has seemed reluctant to come to terms with its past. Slowly, efforts led by residents to hold the city accountable for the events of the riots have led to some successes, although many of its citizens remain oblivious to this facet of Springfield’s past. The riots led directly to the formation of the NAACP, and should be studied so that we can understand the mistakes of the past and look forward to a more peaceful future.

Panels are provided by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.

Protest, Photography by Ramona Boston

Protest Exhibit

The Four Oldest African American Churches in Springfield, Illinois

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The Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum recognizes the four oldest African American Churches in Springfield, Illinois.

"Doc" Helm Photography

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This exhibit of stunning black and white photographs by Eddie Winfred Helm (1911-1994), fondly known as "Doc" Helm, covers a broad range of people and places. During 50 years as the Secretary of State's photographer, Helm captured on film momentous events and occasions. During that time, he also photographed a multitude of everyday events, people and places. In this collection are political and sports figures, doctor's offices, lunch counters, nigh clubs, farm scenes a more. We challenge you to identify some of the individuals pictured. Helm's daughter, Beverly Jean Renfro, is generously loaning these photographs to the Museum.

Arts For The Ages 

Arts for the Ages, an exhibit of Springfield Public Schools District 186 Students - January 15th through March, 2022. From noon until 4:00 PM., Tuesday through Saturday, open and free to the public.

Robert Moore's United States Marshalls

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The elite cadre of US Marshals was once the domain of white men only. In 1875 Bass Reeves was the first black man appointed a US Marshal and in 1877 President Lincoln appointed Fredrick Douglass a US Marshal. It was 85 years until the next African-American received an appointment.

Robert Moore was appointed by President Bill Clinton on October 17, 1994 and served until his retirement on June 29, 2002. This exhibit is curated by US Marshal Robert Moore and contains many items from his personal collection.

Black Trooper Exhibit

Please join us on Saturday, December 18th at 2:00pm at the Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum for the Grand Opening of the Black Trooper Exhibit. Ret. U.S. Marshal and Ret. Illinois State Trooper Robert Moore will give a presentation on the exhibit, which highlights Black and Hispanic Troopers in the State of Illinois. Mr. Moore is the lead Curator and primary researcher of the exhibit, which is on loan from the Illinois State Police. The exhibit will be on display from December 18th, 2021until January 29th, 2022.  The Museum hours are Tuesday -Saturday, 12:00pm – 4:00pm.

History Maker Banners

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The "History Maker Banners" honor prominent Illinois African Americans. Visit the exhibit to learn of the significant contributions made by these exemplary individuals.

The Stories of Quilts

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A timeless look at Midwestern quilts, their purpose and evolution. Early Sangamon County quilts made entirely by hand are displayed side-by-side with today's machine techniques.