This summer, the Park Heights neighborhood in Baltimore is planning to open the doors to a new African museum for children called the Sankofa Children’s Museum of African Cultures, reports CBS Baltimore.
Esther K. Armstrong, the brainchild behind the museum, manages and owns the Sankofa African & World Bazaar specialty store in Baltimore with her husband. On the museum’s website, she explains that the idea for the museum came about after she and her husband worked with young people from two Baltimore City Elementary Schools to teach them about African culture. After receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from the students, teachers and parents, Armstrong decided it would be beneficial to create a facility where all students can learn and be introduced to African culture throughout the year.
“This should help them appreciate the culture,” she tells CBS Baltimore. “We’re not just talking about African American kids. We’re talking about all the kids in the community.”
She explains that with the museum, she wants to feature African-inspired music, drumming and dancing that have all influenced American pop culture over the years. She also wants to teach youth about the untold stories of African civilizations and cultures before the start of slavery.
Photo: Sankofa Children’s Museum of African Cultures
“We feel strongly, as the famous quote by Marcus Garvey indicates, that by empowering our children with the pride and respect that comes from their knowledge of their history and connection to their roots prior to the Transatlantic Slave trade, we would be making a major contribution to their sense of identity and self-esteem, and perhaps help prevent the negative behaviors that we see exhibited on so many levels today,” she writes on the museum’s website.
Armstrong, who is originally from Ghana, is relying on community fundraising to help support the project. CBS reports that already a few thousand dollars have been raised for the museum, which will open with a temporary location this summer. Armstrong then explains that once 50 percent of the start-up funding is raised, they will secure a more permanent space and expand it into a full-fledged children’s museum.
If you’re interested in donating to the development of the Sankofa Children’s Museum of African Cultures, then you can visit its website at www.sankofakids.org.