My kids and I enjoyed this past Saturday afternoon at the beautiful New Orleans African-American museum in the heart of Treme, the oldest surviving black neighborhood in America. The New Orleans African American Museum is dedicated to protecting, preserving, and promoting through education the history, art, and communities of African Americans in New Orleans and the African diaspora.
The NEW ORLEANS AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM IN TREME
NOAAM continues to renovate the original museum located across the street, which is an old house, a Treme Villa, considered by some to be one of the finest examples of a Creole villa in the city. The house was built in 1829 by Simon Meilleur, a prosperous brick maker. The main house, which retains some of its original features, was constructed with Meilleur’s bricks, and the brick patio behind it bears imprints identifying the original manufacturer.
The house is now a historical landmark and is located on the site of a former plantation. And I felt it. Well, just about everywhere in New Orleans, primarily where big ole-old oak trees lined the streets, I could feel my ancestors’ embrace as if their breath blew the sweet scents of wild magnolia bergamot jasmine in the air. But here at the museum, I felt as if we were being greeted, and the girls were encouraged to run and play as if they were visiting their grandparent’s home.
While there, we joined in on building pyramids to build up each other and our communities with Black Men Build New Orleans. The kids enjoyed the craft projects and storytelling. A PopUp shop featured New Orleans Entrepreneurs, @nola_by_nature @breatheenlight @afroniques_honeycomb, that we purchased a variety of goodies such as homemade crafts, jewelry, fresh fruit and vegetables, T-shirts, and other products. Two food vendors were on site. I had a delicious trout sandwich made by MGT Mosque 46. No sooner than we were walking out in walked a guy with pans of pies that I’m regretting not doubling back to buy. The girls enjoyed a sweet fresh fruit cup by @frootorleans, and I brought some fresh fruit and a fire cider immunity juice shot from @sheauxfreshfoods.
It’s an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs and creatives to promote and engage with other black owned-businesses and those visiting the museum.
This was the first time I took my kids along with me, and the previous times I visited NOAAM; it was for events that allowed for the timing to see the exhibits. This leads me to say that as a local native who loves to show off her city, I wish there were more exhibitions more so for them. Children are more inclined to pay attention when they can visually interact, and if it weren’t for the events of Free 3rd Saturday’s they would have driven me up a wall. If you are bringing your kids, I suggest you visit on Free 3rd Saturdays as there will be activities and live music to keep them entertained while you take in some New Orleans knowledge. Did I say it’s FREE??!! Lol
There was artwork on two floors; one room features antique furniture, spiritual articles, and an original Plessy vs. Ferguson document. There is a beautiful artwork display in an adjacent building, Louisiana-Congo: the Bertrand Donation,” a collection of African beadwork, costumes, masks, textiles, and musical instruments. Exhibits are subject to change and I suggest that you call ahead.
New Orleans is known for the perseverance of our culture and traditions that one would expect this museum to overflow with books, documents, pictures, weathered artifacts, and exhibits. I’m sad to say that it’s not and the other museums in the city put the four-room two-story exhibition to shame. It hurts… I thought maybe Hurricane Katrina destroyed, stole, and wiped away our precious heirlooms and priceless written accounts as it did to so many families in New Orleans. I didn’t find anything relating to Hurricane Katrina as being the reason for the lack at NOAAM. Still, I found that over the years, there have been “preservation issues, funding issues, and leadership changes.”
Now let me add that as NOAAM states, it seeks to educate and preserve, interpret and promote the contributions that people of African descent have made to the artistic, cultural, and historical development of New Orleans. The NOAAM, as it is known, does an excellent job of covering it all with the help of volunteer staff. If taking photos is the type of experience you crave, I recommend that you either book a guided tour or come back when the renovation is complete. But as of now, you will never visit a museum that provides such a rich history of the African American experience in New Orleans.
This is a free event so, we are encouraging our patrons to join the New Orleans African American Museum or renew their membership because you know that Black Museums Matter, especially now.
This is a socially distant event, providing ample indoor and outdoor space. MASKS WILL BE REQUIRED FOR ENTRY.
Join us Every third Saturday from 11-4pm on our campus to support Black-Owned businesses and institutions! Local Black Business vendors, farmers, and artists will be in attendance. Our next event is on Saturday, April 17th.
Museum-sponsored bus and walking tours of historic Tremé are a great way to see and learn about this neighborhood.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
1418 Governor Nicholls St.
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116, USA