Since the inception of the A.C. McMillan African American Museum, several exhibits have been developed that have local, regional, and national appeal. Our strategy for building our collections has been through our development of exhibits. Of these exhibits, some have become permanent exhibits and others have become traveling exhibits—being shown at other museums, libraries, conferences, and educational institutions.
Buffalo Soldiers was the inaugural exhibit for the opening of the Museum. In this exhibit, the contributions that the Buffalo Soldiers made to the development of the western frontier and Texas in particular were highlighted. The Ninth and Tenth Cavalries built roads, forts, and defended frontier communities from Indians and criminals. In the Museum is an original photo of an actual Company of Buffalo Soldiers.
Negro Baseball Leagues is an exhibit showing the contributions of the Negro Baseball Leagues toward the development of major league baseball. This collection has signed baseballs, bats, gloves, photographs, and other paraphernalia, as well as an extensive amount of printed material on the Negro Baseball League from its inception in 1920.
African American Images on United States Postal Stamps is an exhibit that documents African Americans on United States Postage Stamps beginning with Booker T. Washington in 1940 and the development of the Black Heritage Collection which features contributions of African Americans in science, sports and entertainment, medicine, Civil Rights, education, and business. The Museum has postage stamps, as well as a first-day issue collection.
The Rosenwald Schools Exhibit includes a history of the 527 Rosenwald Schools in Texas and highlights the two Rosenwald Schools in Rains County—Richland and Sand Flat. This exhibit includes many photos of students that attended these schools, as well as the principals and teachers.
Black Reconstruction in Texas is an exhibit that describing the contributions of African Americans in reorganizing Texas after the Civil War. The principal contributions were made in the Constitutional Conventions and in the Texas Legislature. This exhibit is primarily written materials because of limited photographs of the participants. The Museum, however, does have this photograph of some of the African Americans that served in the Legislature from 1866 – 1900.
Jim Crow Racial Stereotypes Exhibit demonstrates how African Americans were portrayed in derogative ways during the Jim Crow Era that lasted through the 1970s. This exhibit has many photographs, posters, books, dolls, and videos (such as Amos ‘n Andy, and Our Gang).
Slavery Collection includes artifacts such as shackles that were dug up from Texas plantations. Also examples of slave medallions, and posters, as well as books and other printed materials on slavery.
Dolls of Color Collection includes approximately 100 dolls of color, which includes collectibles such as Michael Jackson, Daddy’s Longlegs, Barbie, as well as play dolls. These dolls of color include African American, Native American, Mexican, Caribbean, and European, to name a few. This collection has been assembled over a period of approximately 40 years.
The Civil Rights Movement Exhibit highlights select periods of the Civil Rights Movement. This exhibit includes information on the desegregation of schools and public facilities and the struggle for the achievement of voting rights.
In addition to the aforementioned collections, the Museum has many individual pieces that were collected from Haiti (wood carvings) and Africa (carvings, musical instruments, dress, furniture, etc.) as well as several commissioned metal sculptures. The Museum is the beneficiary of individual items donated by local public officials and individuals.