The AAMI Turns 20!

2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the African American Museum of Iowa as an organization and the museum’s 10th year in it’s building.  Help us celebrate!

20th Anniversary Celebration: Celebrating the Past, Cultivating the Present, Anticipating the Future
Thursday, May 2 at the Cedar Rapids Marriott
In our 20th year, we have so much to celebrate!  The 20th Anniversary Celebration will be a night of activities and fellowship as we reminisce where the museum has been and look forward to its future.
Click here for details. To purchase tickets, use the PayPal button below.

2013 Celebration Tickets


Free Friday Day and Celebration Mixer
Friday, May 3 at the African American Museum of Iowa
Grown-ups, this day is all about you!  From 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, visit the African American Museum of Iowa for free admission and refreshments, including a look at our newest exhibit, “Western Africa: Before the Boats”.  Then from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm, start your weekend with a relaxing stop by the museum for live music, snacks, and a free chance to explore the exhibits.  Click here for more information.

20th Birthday Party
Saturday, May 4 at the African American Museum of Iowa
Celebrate the AAMI’s birthday with an Underground Railroad puppet show, a performance by African dancers and drummers, 20 Activities including facepainting and balloon animals, and, of course, Birthday Cake!  Click here for more information.

For information about sponsorship, contact Development Director Grant Stevens at 319-862-2101 ext. 223 or Click here to view email address.


Why are we celebrating?  Look at what we’ve accomplished:
1993 – The Museum’s founders began meeting, forming the organization that becomes the African American Museum of Iowa.

1994 – African American Heritage Foundation, Inc. is chartered in Iowa as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization

1998 – First full time employee, Joseph McGill, hired as Executive Director

2000 – Temporary museum opened at Westdale Mall, Cedar Rapids

2002 – Construction began in April on the new 17,000 square foot state-of-the-art museum

2003 –Thomas Moore named interim Executive Director in May. The position becomes permanent in November.

2003 – Grand opening September 19th for permanent exhibit “Doorways: A History of African Americans in Iowa”. The exhibit offered a fascinating overview of the history of African Americans in the United States with specific focus on Iowa.

2004 – Endowment fund opened.

2004 – The Africa section of the permanent exhibit opened. Visitors started in West Africa, where they passed through the “Door of No Return” and entered a slave ship to experience the famous “Middle Passage” from Africa to Iowa.

2005 – The 12th Ave. bridge renamed the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge and the memorial art piece “Trumpet” was unveiled.

2006 – Museum chapters established in 8 communities across Iowa.

2007 –The Museum received grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to hire and train two staff members to coordinate the chapter program.

2007 –The Museum received a second grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to conduct a statewide oral history project entitled, “Adult Voices–Children’s Eyes: Iowa African American Oral History Project”. This innovative and ongoing project trained youth groups across Iowa to conduct oral histories in their communities. These histories record important history at risk and spark a passion for heritage among African American youth.

2008 – The flood of 2008 damaged the Museum building.

2009 – Museum re-opened to the public on Jan. 17th.