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.

On-going Exhibits


  • Art for the Ages
  • Black is Beautiful
  • Our Footprints ...Our Stories
  • The Juneteenth Timeline
  • The Middle Passage, an Interactive Slave Ship Experience
  • “Something So Horrible,” Springfield 1908 Race Riot
  • Illinois African American Pioneer Families
  • Illinois Freedom Project
  • “Follow the Recipe,” African American Cooking from Slavery to Today
  • Oak Ridge Cemetery, The Colored Section

Art For the Ages

Featuring  Springfield Public Schools - District 186 student artwork


Black is Beautiful

black is beautiful

By Samira El-Amin

Our Footprints...Our Stories

Screenshot 2023-06-07 at 12.22.19 PM

“Our Footprints, Our Stories”, traces the historic journey of African Americans across Downstate Illinois through their imprint on the landscape and their dialog from within. This is a collaborative effort by the Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum and the Springfield Art Association.

Exhibit Organizers:

Kathryn Harris, Founding Member and Board Member Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum, Researcher and Organizer, Our Footprints, Our Stories.
Benjamin Halpern, Photographer and Project organizer, Our Footprints, Our Stories.
Betsy Dollar, Executive Director of the Springfield Art Association
Anne E. Moseley, Director of Engagement and Curator of the Sangamon Experience


This timeline commemorates pivotal moments in American and Springfield history and displays how freedom and justice have been delayed and denied for its Black residents. Although significant strides have been made towards the assurance that all Americans can exercise their basic human rights, this timeline shows that there is still work to do.

Lincoln Leadership Prize Reciepients

You are cordially invited to visit our newest exhibit at the Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum which features three recipients of the Lincoln Leadership Prize:  Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Little Rock Nine and Neil deGrasse Tyson.  The Prize honors those individuals who, through their beliefs, actions, and deeds, exemplify the spirit of our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln.  Come visit our exhibit and be inspired by these extraordinary individuals.  Thank you.

The Illinois Freedom Project

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.

Early African American Pioneers of Central Illinois

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


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.