The International African American Museum (IAAM) explores the history, culture, and impact of the African American journey on Charleston, on the nation, and on the world, shining light and sharing stories of the diverse journeys, origin, and achievements of descendants of the African Diaspora. Located in Charleston, S.C., at the historically sacred site of Gadsden’s Wharf, IAAM honors the untold stories of the African American journey.
Across 9 galleries and a memorial garden with art, objects, artifacts, and multi-media interaction, IAAM is a champion of authentic, empathetic storytelling of American history. As a result, the museum will stand as one of the nation’s newest platforms for the disruption of institutionalized racism as it evolves today. The mission of IAAM is to honor the untold stories of the African American journey at the historically sacred site of Gadsden’s Wharf and beyond.
Its nine distinct galleries will demonstrate how enslaved Africans and free blacks shaped economic, political, and cultural development throughout the nation and beyond, while offering an especially close look at the connection to the South Carolina Lowcountry. These include the Transatlantic Experience, the Atlantic Worlds Gallery, the South Carolina Connections Gallery, the Gullah Geechee Gallery, the American Journeys Gallery, the Carolina Gold Gallery, the
African Roots Gallery, The Theater, and the Special Exhibitions Gallery.
In addition to the galleries, the African Ancestors Memorial Garden sprawls across the museum’s grounds and reflects on the historic significance of Gadsden’s Wharf, one of the many docks in Charleston Harbor at which an estimated 45% of enslaved Africans entered this country. Artistic installations and site objects mark the history and archeology there. This area, which will be free and open to the public, also provides a space for informal and structured gatherings where stories and traditions can once again be shared.
Working to serve and improve equity for Black and African Americans, IAAM is a champion of authentic, empathetic storytelling of American history and is thus one of the nation’s newest platforms for the disruption of institutionalized racism as it evolves today.