Museum Minute Vol. 9 – African American Civil War Memorial and Museum

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Museum Minute is written by Elle O’Flaherty. Elle lives in Mt. Pleasant and previously wrote about Lincoln’s Cottage.

Until recently, I didn’t realized there is an African American Civil War Museum tucked behind the African American Civil War Memorial off of U Street (it was actually kind of hard to find, 1935 Vermont Ave., NW). The name is a bit of a misnomer as it actually covers the African American experience from slavery through present day. The museum had lots of stories I had never heard such as the free African American women who were spies for the Union and voluntarily served as slaves in Confederate houses in order to gather information. In my opinion, you don’t hear a lot about women, let alone African American women, in most museums. It was refreshing and I really appreciated learning about it.


The exhibits unfold much like a book and it’s heavy on text with some photos and a few objects. While very interesting and information heavy, be prepared to take your time and read as you go. Due to that, the museum may be better suited to older children. This Saturday, October 5 at 11 am (and the first Saturday of every month), the descendants of Civil War soldiers will present information on their ancestors and the process of researching their relatives. I recommend visiting for a different perspective than you’ll see at a lot of DC museums.

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