The Greenbelt Museum's virtual tour of the Jim Crow Museum took place on Wednesday, February 22. Over 35 people joined the Museum for a tour of this facility that "uses objects of intolerance to teach tolerance and promote a more just society" as the website states. Jim Crow Museum Collections Manager, Cyndi Tiedt, began the tour by explaining the term Jim Crow. As she said, Jim Crow was the name of the racial caste system which operated primarily, but not exclusively in southern and border states, between 1877 and the mid-1960s and that resulted in African Americans being treated as second class citizens or worse. She then guided us through various sections of the museum.
One of the points that Museum staff make sure audiences understand is that Jim Crow imagery is not just a thing from the past. There are still frequent examples of the same types of harmful imagery being used today. To make her point, she showed us examples of racist ephemera in conjunction with the Obamas in the White House.
Dr. David Pilgrim, founder of the museum, was also present for the tour and answered several questions from the audience during the Q&A portion. One of the topics that was covered was that this can be difficult material. The museum does not give tours to very young children, for instance. Dr. Pilgrim did say, however, that they do have some advantages at the Jim Crow Museum. He said that when people arrive at the Museum, they are prepared to discuss racism and that "they believe in the triumph of dialogue." He also discussed the coming museum expansion.
If you weren't able to join us for the tour, we encourage you to take the self-guided tour available on the Jim Crow Museum's website. Information about the tour is here. To go directly into the museum, click here.