Everything You Need To Know About The Museum of The African Diaspora
For visitors to San Francisco, the Museum of the African Diaspora is a must-see.
Since opening in 2005, the museum has celebrated the universal connection of all people through their association with Africa, the cradle of humankind. As one of the designers behind the museum, Deborah Sussman of Sussman/Prejza, put it, “MoAD is essentially a place of storytelling. It’s about people and their experiences, rather than a collection of artifacts.”
A Museum with a Mission
Since its recent remodeling, the museum is expanding on the original story of the diaspora to focus on artists from various diasporas, whether they be Afro-Cuban, Afro-Asian, Afro-Caribbean, or African-American. Since its inception, four themes have guided MoAD on its mission to help tell the story of the African diaspora:
- Origin - Looking at the African roots of contemporary social, artistic and cultural forms of expression and practices that define the modern diaspora.
- Movement - Tracing the social, cultural and artistic threads of the diaspora through various forms of art.
- Adaptation - Exploring the variety of ways adaptation occurs through creative reinvention, innovation, and cultural resiliency.
- Transformation - Looking at how individuals of African descent have forged new identities, defined their place, and made their mark on new communities and societies.
It tackles one of the most fundamental questions we human beings consider as we ponder our origins: “When did you discover you were African?”
New and Global Art
With a host of new exhibitions rotating through MoAD annually, the museum always presents a new experience, even for frequent visitors to the museum. The exhibitions aim to represent work that may be under-represented in other U.S. museums. This global intention yields exhibitions that include artists from the Middle East and Africa, as well as artists who may be in the early stages of their career. According to Mark Sabb, MoAD's director of marketing and communications, many of the artists whose work is exhibited at the museum are still living, and they often attend previews and special events at the museum. This accessibility to the artists offers an opportunity that is rare in most institutions. Be sure to check out the Emerging Artists Gallery which supports MoAD's initiative to foster San Francisco Bay Area artists.
A Community Leader
Throughout the year, MoAD has an active community calendar. It is an anchor for celebrations honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. every January and ongoing Black History Month events in February. The museum also offers numerous workshops, film series, panel discussions and its lively chef-in-residence program, which showcases the culinary skills of chef Bryant Terry. He is creating programming that celebrates the intersection of food, farming, health, activism, art, culture and the African diaspora. As a Smithsonian affiliate, MoAD is part of a national network of cultural institutions who partner with the Smithsonian to share resources and expertise.