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5 objects to look for during Black History Month

Black History Month is a time set aside to remember, recognize, and celebrate the achievements by African Americans throughout history. The next time you visit The Children’s Museum, be on the lookout for these five objects. They have connections with men and women who broke records and shattered stereotypes. We hope they inspire you.

1. Replica of Ruby Bridges’s 1st Grade classroom

Ruby Bridges classroom in The Power of Children at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Ruby Bridges helped change our country when she became one of the first African American students to integrate the all-white school system in New Orleans. You can hear her story and explore a replica of her 1st Grade classroom in The Power of Children: Making a Difference®.

While you’re visiting Ruby’s gallery, be sure to look for the display case featuring Oscar Robertson. He and his basketball team from Crispus Attucks changed the face of Hoosier Hysteria in 1955 when they became the first all-black team to win an Indiana state basketball championship. In fact, they were the first all-black team in the entire country to win a state basketball championship.

2. Football signed by Tony Dungy

When Tony Dungy coached the Indianapolis Colts to a championship on Feb. 4, 2007, he became the first African American coach to win a Super Bowl. A football that was signed by this Hall of Fame coach is on display in First & Goal.

3. Replica of Lieutenant Uhura costume

Replica of Lieutenant Uhura's Star Trek costume on display in the Schaefer Planetarium and Space Object Theater at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Nichelle Nichols is known throughout the world for the character she played on Star Trek—Lieutenant Uhura. She was a television pioneer. She was the first African American woman to be featured on television who was not stereotyped as a servant or a maid. She also blazed trails when her character kissed William Shatner’s Captain Kirk on national television. It’s believed to be the first scripted interracial kiss viewed on television.

When she told Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that she was going to leave Star Trek for a Broadway production, he convinced her to continue in her role as Uhura. “The world sees us for the first time as we should be seen,” he told her. Dr. King helped her realize how much of a role model she had become.

A replica of Lieutenant Uhura's famous costumes is on display in the Schaefer Planetarium and Space Object Theater inside Beyond Spaceship Earth.

4. Race car driven by Willy T. Ribbs

Willy T. Ribbs was the first African American to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. The car he drove in the 1993 Indy 500 is on display in The World of Sport in the Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience®.

5. Maxi dress designed by Stephen Burrows

Maxi dress designed by Stephen Burrows on display in American POP in The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Stephen Burrows was one of the first African American designers to come to prominence in the fashion world. His bright colored creations with lettuce edging were part of the New York disco scene in the 1970s. You can see one of his jersey knit maxi dresses—and other pop cultural artifacts—in American POP.

Other opportunities

Here are other opportunities to be inspired by African American groundbreakers and trailblazers.

Learn about Dr. Percy Julian
Dr. Percy Julian was a ground-breaking chemist. His trailblazing discoveries helped improve and save countless lives. On Feb. 22 and 23, you can learn about Dr. Julian’s discoveries and even try some of his laboratory techniques in an interactive program called Soybean Science in the museum’s STEMLab. Click here for times.

Be inspired Ruby Bridges’s story
You can hear Ruby’s story during a live performance of Voices of Hope in The Power of Children®. After discovering how she conquered fear and hatred, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss ways in which we can make a difference today. Click here for times.

Old National Bank Sports Legends Avenue of Champions
The outdoor areas of the Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience® are closed for the season. But once they reopen on March 14, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about African American athletes like Tamika Catchings and Wilma Rudolph who impacted American culture through sports. The Old National Bank Sports Legends Avenue of Champions is included with museum admission.

Celebrating diversity all year long

In our pursuit to make our communities kinder, stronger, and more compassionate, we celebrate groundbreaking, trailblazing, and extraordinary achievements of African Americans all year long through our programs, exhibits, and artifacts. We hope you’ll join us throughout the year.

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Categories: Exhibits
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