The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History was founded in 1965 by Dr. Charles Wright, a Detroit obstetrician who envisioned an institution to preserve black history. In the ensuing thirty years the museum outgrew two smaller facilities before opening at its present location in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center in 1997.
The Wright's mission is to open minds and change lives through the exploration and celebration of African American history and culture. Their vision is of a world in which the adversity and achievement of African American history inspire everyone toward greater understanding, acceptance and unity!
The Museum houses over 35,000 artifacts and archival materials and is home to the Blanche Coggin Underground Railroad Collection, Harriet Tubman Museum Collection, Coleman A. Young Collection and the Sheffield Collection, a repository of documents of the labor movement in Detroit.
At 125,000 square feet and with a collection of over 35,000 artifacts, the impact of The Wright Museum goes far beyond its physical footprint. The museum provides needed educational opportunities to thousands of children throughout Metropolitan Detroit and the region, and serves over a half million people per year—locally, nationally, and internationally— through its exhibits, programs, websites, and events such as African World Festival, which is celebrating its 35th year in 2017.
The museum is a vital part of Michigan’s arts and cultural community, which in sum generates more than $2 billion dollars in economic activity and tourism dollars annually for the State of Michigan. The museum has taken a leadership role in the cultural resurgence of Detroit as a doorway for emerging artists in all disciplines. Through its Contemporary Artists Program highlighting African-American visual artists and its more than 200 annual events, the museum serves as a stage for musicians, dancers, poets and performers of all cultural backgrounds as they take the next step in their careers.
As The Wright Museum celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015, amazing projects came to fruition, including Visions of Our 44th President and Inspiring Minds, an exhibition highlighting African-American inventors, trailblazers, contemporaries, and careers in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.