Museum Memo: California African American Museum

Art. History. Culture.

Not only is this the motto of the museum, these three words embody what you will experience at California African American Museum (CAAM) at the very least during your visit.

CAAM was officially open to the public at its current location in South Central Los Angeles in 1984, as the first museum of its kind to be fully supported by the state. Today, after over 30 years in operation, CAAM has continued to curate thought provoking, educational, historical, and beautiful exhibits.

Apotheosis of Admiral Vettor Pisani #1 by Kehinde Wiley
Look At What You’ve Become by Mickalene Thomas,

Although entry is free, it wouldn’t be a true LA experience without paying a small fortune for parking. Luckily, CAAM is surrounded by multiple other museums and attractions allowing you to get your money’s worth. My personal favorite being the rose garden in Exhibition Park.*

The museum is smaller than your average, along the back perimeter of the spacious lobby there are around 5 separate rooms that house the exhibits. Despite its size, this isn’t an experience you want to rush through. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and eager to educate. During one of my visits, as I was walking through the No Justice, No Peace: LA 1992 exhibit, a Newsweek cover was being displayed. It just so happened that the man on the cover, Mark Craig, was standing there introducing himself to the visitors and telling his story. An experience like that is what makes CAAM the important place that it is.

Mark Craig by Orange County Register photographer Paul Rodriguez

Among the long list of things that I love: California, art, and black people are near the top, making CAAM a magical place for people like me. I urge everyone with the opportunity to, to take time out of their day to enjoy CAAM and a walk around the rose Garden.

Friends in the Rose Garden after a day at CAAM

*always bring a homie who knows your angles

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