The African American Museum of Iowa’s collection chronicles the history and culture of Iowa’s African American community. Since the museum was founded in 1993, the collection has grown to include thousands of objects, documents, photographs, and oral histories. These collections preserve African American history for future generations and contribute to a deeper understanding of Iowa’s African American heritage. They’re also used in the museum’s exhibitions.
The AAMI also is home to a research library containing a unique collection of more than 2,500 books about African American history and culture.
Search our online collection to view archives, photos, library items and more.
Hear first-hand accounts of life as an African American in Iowa by watching videos from our oral history projects. Our oral history projects include:
- Adult Voices, Children’s Eyes – The AAMI partnered with youth groups to connect generations and capture little-known stories. The project focused primarily on four themes: segregation and integration, African American professionals, civil rights organizations, and church history. This project was funded in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
- The Only One – As part of its 2011 exhibit with the Johnson County Historical Society, the AAMI captured oral histories that focused on the experience of being the only one in the classroom, on a sports team, in the office, and more.
- Civil Rights in Linn County – In 2015, the AAMI interviewed over a dozen current and former Linn County residents, focusing on issues related to the Civil Rights Movement, segregation, and integration. This project was funded by a grant from the Linn County Historic Preservation Commission.