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About Us

Our Mission

The mission of the Evansville African American Museum is to continually develop a resource and cultural center to collect, preserve, and educate the public on the history and traditions of African American families, organizations, and communities.

Our Vision

The vision of the Evansville African American Museum is to become a cultural and educational resource for the residents of Evansville. As a historical centerpiece of the city, we seek to rebuild local pride and lead the urban revival of Baptisttown while connecting all residents with the rich heritage of Evansville's African American community.

Our Museum 

The Evansville African American Museum tells the stories of local black histories from 1820 to the present. While textbooks often overlook the narratives of black citizens, our tours, exhibitions, and preserved living quarters of black inhabitants from the 20th century immerse visitors into a community that has helped to shape our city and nation. 

We aim to build an inclusive and expansive local black identity and believe that the exploration of our complex history—one with moments of inclusion and exclusion—helps prepare us to recognize and discuss current social issues with empathy and refinement.

Our History

Early Beginnings

The Evansville African American Museum sits on the former location of the Lincoln Gardens housing development dedicated by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1937. In 1997 the Evansville Housing Authority (EHA) planned to demolish the housing development. 

In August 1997 Sondra L Matthews (Editor and Publisher of Our Times newspaper) appeared before the Evansville Housing Authority Board of Commissioners to request the preservation of parts the Lincoln Gardens housing development for historical and educational purposes. Ms. Matthews shared with the board the personal impact the units had on her and other Black families. She along with a small group of former residents met with EHA Executive Director John Collier and explored the possibility of saving a building and creating an African American Museum.

In September 1997, a new non-profit corporation was founded, and an executive board formed with Ms. Matthews as President. On January 19, 1999, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held and finally in December 1999 the museum was awarded 501(C)(3) status.


A preserved, furnished section of one of the original apartments showcases life during the era of the 1930s. The remainder of the building has been renovated into a modern museum serving to promote the arts, education programs, cultural events and festivals. The museum showcases local artists, traveling and permanent exhibits, and contributing citizens of the past and present. The gallery serves as a celebration center for community events and meetings. The museum serves as a tourist destination for visiting organizations and groups. Museum revenue sources include membership contributions, grants, charitable gift legacies, admissions, facility rental, events, and a gift shop.

We collaborate with other organizations to share the contributions of African Americans in the city of Evansville, in Indiana, the United States, and the world as we celebrate the contributions of all African Americans.

The Evansville African American Museum is a place for meeting, learning, celebration and discovery.

Tuesday - Friday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Saturday 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.

579 S. Garvin St.
Evansville, IN 47713
P: 812-423-5188