Black history is not relegated to a month; it is studied year-round. A new children’s museum set to open in Baltimore is attempting the enrich the lives of young Black children by teaching African history.
According to The Baltimore Sun-Times, Sankofa Children’s Museum is set to open on Juneteenth of this year and will provide educational tools and host events teaching third, fourth and fifth-grade students African history. The focus will be on the histories of African nations such as Kenya, Zimbabwe and Ghana.
The museum will become a Baltimore landmark, housing artifacts and paying tribute to African culture. Founder “Mama Kiki” Armstrong launched a fundraising campaign and began spreading the word to increase interest in the museum.
“This should help them appreciate the culture,” Armstrong told CBS Baltimore. “We’re not just talking about African-American kids. We’re talking about all the kids in the community.”
Students will get the chance to learn about different forms of music, types of food, clothing and other cultural items. The museum is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.
“As customers have come in and out of the shop I’ve come to realize that there is a basic lack of knowledge about Africa,” Armstrong told the Sun-Times last month. “A lot of kids and even adults think that Africa is a country instead of a continent. You try to be respectful and correct them without making people feel bad.”
The idea for the museum was first conceived in 2016. Armstrong owns and operates the Sankofa African & World Bazaar boutique in Charles Village.
She’s been in business since 1994. When a customer approached her about hosting a series of Black History Month workshops in 2016, she jumped at the opportunity. These workshops attracted 150 young people, according to the Sun-Times.
From that moment, she knew she wanted to do more. Armstrong and her husband have received $50,000 in startup funds from a generous donor.
The couple is still going over details of building’s lease.Museum-goers will be able to explore all 54 African nations in one half of the museum and, on the other, learn about one nation on a rotating basis in an in-depth exhibit.