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International African American Museum to Premiere ‘Follow the North Star’ Exhibition

Underground Railroad escape journey.

International African American Museum to Premiere ‘Follow the North Star’

The International African American Museum (IAAM) situated in Charleston, South Carolina, has announced its role as host to a traveling display titled “Follow the North Star: Freedom in the Age of Mobility.’ The exhibition, highlighting historic events linked to the quest for freedom and self-determination of African Americans, will premiere on May 23, 2024, and run until November 3, 2024.

The distinctive feature of the exhibition is its traveling nature, as it will move around museums across the country after its debut at IAAM, presenting a new avenue of knowledge on the African American journey to freedom. It owes its realization to a collective effort supported by funding from Michelin North America, Inc, to the tune of $1 million. Further financial aid came from the Mellon Foundation.

Michelin’s President and CEO, Alexis Garcin, commented on the contribution by stating, “Our sponsorship of this new exhibit illuminates that goal. Additionally, through this partnership, a group of Michielin employees worked with the museum’s Center for Family History to research their genealogy, helping to connect the past and present, moving forward together, per the purpose of our company.”

‘Follow the North Star’: A Journey Through Three Perspectives

‘Follow the North Star’ is a multi-media exploration that presents the African American liberation journey from three unique viewpoints: Transportation, the Great Migration, and Spirituality/Imagination. Each perspective deepens the narrative, offering visitors an immersive exploration of the diverse ways African Americans have grappled with their daily realities in search of freedom.

This pursuit of freedom isn’t always physical; as the exhibition explains, it can take metaphysical forms such as folklore, storytelling, and imagination. These forms underscore the versatility and resilience of the African American journey towards freedom. The struggle encompasses various movements and milestones, like the Back-to-Africa Movements, Montgomery Bus Boycotts, and Afrofuturist visions of other worlds.

James Bartlett, curator at IAAM, added, “‘Follow the North Star: Freedom in the Age of Mobility,’ explores this dichotomy. How has the concept of ‘freedom’ remained an eternally compelling beacon, while simultaneously proving to be an utterly elusive destination? We have unquestionably covered immense distance on this journey as a people. Yet, at times, ‘freedom’ can feel as far away as ever.”

World Premiere and Subsequent Events

An opening reception will commence on May 22, marking the global premiere of ‘Follow the North Star.’ Guests who wish to attend the reception can register online. In addition to the Grand Opening, a Curator Talk is scheduled for August 8th, and registration details will be provided in the due time.

Chief Learning and Engagement Officer at IAAM, Malika Pryor, has expressed her pride at the museum’s achievement in planning and executing a traveling exhibition within its inaugural year of opening. “It’s the marriage of lesser told stories paired with immersive art, powerful artifacts, and technology that humanizes and elevates the narrative guiding you through a moving journey much like our forefathers may have witnessed,” she adds, emphasizing the essence of the upcoming exhibition.

International African American Museum to Premiere 'Follow the North Star' Exhibition

HERE Charleston
Author: HERE Charleston

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