A new children’s museum centered on African history and culture is officially coming to Baltimore. According to CBS Baltimore the museum—which is slated to open its doors in the Park Heights neighborhood this summer—will be the first of its kind in the country.
Dubbed the Sankofa Children’s Museum, the idea for the cultural institution was conceptualized by Esther “Mama Kiki” Armstrong. Armstrong—who is the owner of a Baltimore-based African-inspired boutique called Sankofa African & World Bazaar—believed that there was a lack of knowledge amongst children about the historical backgrounds of African nations. She thought there needed to be a space where youngsters could learn and embrace their roots and was adamant about bringing it to fruition.
Armstrong wanted to create an interactive experience for children where they can learn about nations like Ghana, Kenya, and Zimbabwe through playing musical instruments, trying cuisines that were derived from these countries, and dressing up in traditional garbs. She launched a fundraiser for the museum and is moving forward with the project with the help of generous donors.
“This should help them appreciate the culture. We’re not just talking about African-American kids. We’re talking about all the kids in the community,” she told the news outlet. “We have to realize that the history of black America, for instance, does not start with slavery. There is a whole lot of history and a whole lot of civilization before the white men ever set foot in Africa.” She also added that it’s essential to bring an institution like this to Baltimore to combat the negative portrayals of our culture that Black children are inundated with and empower them to have pride in where they come from.
Different countries will be highlighted on a rotating basis and she will have experts from embassies contribute to telling the narratives of these nations. Armstrong plans on opening up the museum on June 19 to commemorate Juneteenth.