Past Exhibits

 The Kansas Heritage of President Barack Obama
As our 44th President, and the nation’s first African American President, leaves office, The Kansas African American Museum (TKAAM) presents an exhibition that reflects on the influence of his deep Kansas roots and on the Midwestern values of his mother and grandparents, who raised him. The oil industry brought two of his great grandfathers, Rolla Charles Payne and Harry Ellington Armour, to Kansas. One settled in Augusta, the other in El Dorado. Obama’s grandfather, Stanley or “Gramps,” was born in Wichita, as was his mother, Stanley Ann. This Kansas setting for his story is as unlikely as it is perfect. It’s a story of a literally African and American child being raised by white parents from a nearly homogenous Kansas. The Sunflower state proudly entered the union as a “Free State,” but has long wrestled with a complicated racial history that included riots, lynching, and segregation. Those complexities, hate and hope, emerged in his presidency.

Beauty Wit & Satire

 The term “folk-art” is a catch-all phrase referring to imagery and objects made independently of the academic conventions and formal art institutions of Western culture.   This new form was particularly relevant to African American artists who saw folk-art as an essential part of their heritage. TKAAM’s exhibition, Beauty, Wit and Satire, incorporates objects that range from sophisticated decorative inventions to personal expressions of humor. We invite you to enjoy this local art treasure.

April to October 2016

Kansas boasts tie to some of America’s greatest athletes, from Super Bowl champions, to NBA champions, to a heavy weight boxing champion and more. 

THE POWER OF THE IMAGE: DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHS BY GORDON PARKS

January 9 through April 23, 2016

IN WINTER 2016, three Wichita museums partner with simultaneous exhibitions devoted to Gordon Parks, a Kansas native and one of the most celebrated African American artists of his time. Parks (1912–2006) was a groundbreaking American photographer, musician, poet, novelist, journalist, activist, and film director.

He worked from 1948 to 1972 as a staff photographer at Life magazine, the most influential magazine of the era. Later, he continued to work with Life on contract, as his film and writing projects flourished. He was the first African American photographer hired by this journal and regularly assigned projects exploring the contested race relations of the day. The images and stories he contributed are recognized for the humanizing perspective of African American cultural experience that he brought to mainstream America in the pages of Life

During the 1940s, Gordon Parks worked for the Farm Securities Administration/Office of War Information documenting factory workers, soldiers leaving Union Station and women working at munitions plants. One of his assignments was photographing interracial camps in New York

These rarely seen photographs of black children and white children eating, working and playing together, are a testament to the optimism and hope of youth, unfettered by racial bias and the culture of fear black people experienced in the South and other parts of the country.

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