The first museum in the Brazos Valley to promote the history of African American citizens, the Brazos Valley African American Museum celebrates the amazing contributions of African Americans while also documenting their tragedies.
The vision of retired educator Mrs. Mell Pruitt, the museum is built on the site of one of the original black schools in the Brazos Valley. Ever since their public opening on July 22, 2006, this influential museum has striven to accurately present and preserve African American cultural history and heritage. Curating records, artifacts, letters, and educational trunks for teachers to use in their classrooms, the museum bears testimony to the African American experience from the ancient past to present times.
All of these mediums are available to any interested audience that want to be better informed of African American values. As well as physical documents and artifacts, the museum often holds exhibits that celebrate history and significant events. To celebrate Juneteenth, the museum honored the day with good food, good music, and a parade line of horses, motorcycles, four-wheelers, and a talented dance crew that put a smile on everyone’s face!
Oliver Sadberry, curator for the Brazos Valley African American museum, says the museum also recently celebrated the museum’s birthday on July 22, which was combined with a walk through of the museum’s last exhibit containing the work of local artist Kevin Newsome. Newsome is a contemporary art impressionist who Sadberry says captures the concept of life beautifully. “Everything that Newsome paints has something to do with life,” Sadberry says, “touching life and the meaning of it.” Newsome is from Brenham and earned an Associates of Arts Degree from the Blinn Fine Arts program. His work can be viewed on his Instagram account.
From August through November, the museum’s upcoming exhibit will be about voting, a combination celebration of the 19th amendment where women received the right to vote and also celebrating the right to vote in general. In this exhibit, visitors can learn the history of voting rights and how important voting is to the success of the country.
Every year, the museum holds an annual Appreciation Banquet that spotlights the achievements of the individuals in the community. Museum supporters keep the museum alive, and this banquet is a major contributor to the success of the museum. The funds raised from this event allows the museum to build new exhibits, conduct outreach activities during the hot summer months, and to offer school children the opportunity to visit.
Attending the Appreciation Banquet and visiting the museum are both great ways to support the museum and help them reach more of the BCS community. Membership benefits include free admission to the museum and patio, members-only emails, discounts on merchandise, and eligibility to rent museum spaces for private events. You can also volunteer to help out at the museum with any tasks they need done. All ages are welcome to volunteer! Donations are also appreciated, and when visiting the support section of the museum’s website, donations can be specified toward scholarship donations, library book donations, the education program or the brick program.
The museum serves the Brazos Valley community in a variety of ways by hosting weddings and other special events, providing programs and exhibits for students, and also materials for teachers to use in the classroom. Come experience all the Brazos Valley African American Museum has to offer!