Race and racism are touchy subjects for adults and can be an even harder subject for kids to digest. If you are looking for ways to have a conversation about race consider tying in a visit to a few of these places in the United States where kids can learn about race.
7 Places In the United States Where Kids Can Learn About Race
Teaching your kids about every aspect of life is an important part of parenting. It is equally important to teach your kids about different cultures, their history, and to respect those that are different from us. Teaching your kids about race and racism can be extremely hard because we each have our own biases.
Sometimes the best way to approach talks on race and racism is to allow kids to experience it with their own eyes through learning about the past. We do this through visits to museums that focus on breaking down historical events into information kids can understand. Incorporating historical places into your travel experiences is a great first step. Kids learn more when they can actually touch, see and feel the things they have learned in history books. If you are looking to tackle the issues of race and racism consider a visit (or even a virtual visit) to one of these historical locations.
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center– Cincinnati, Ohio
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is located just a few minutes’ walk from the Ohio River. You can find a rich history of freedom heroes from the underground railroad era. The museum offers both temporary and permanent exhibitions which means things switch out frequently enough that you can visit more than once and learn something new each time. This museum’s focus is on demonstrating the effects of slavery and the fight for freedom.
Here kids learn the true meaning of slavery and freedom and things are broken down into language they can understand. They have a great exhibit of a Black Soldier from WWII that includes handwritten letters. Through pictures and letters, the difficulty of his life’s journey from being a slave to freedom can be understood. The museum also offers online learning resources to learn more about the history of freedom heroes. You can find exhibitions, videos, and lesson plans to educate you and your kids without leaving your home.
Civil Rights, Black History, and Culture– Jackson, Mississippi
You may already know that Jackson Mississippi has the famous Civil Rights Museum. But it’s a lesser-known fact that the city has many other important historical locations that deserve a visit. You can take the Civil Rights Driving Tour where you can learn about all the historical locations in Jackson.
Other must-visit historical locations in Jackson include the Smith Robertson Museum, Cultural Center, and the International Museum of Muslim Cultures. Additionally, don’t forget to visit a few of the historical churches. There are also several restaurants and cafes in the area so give those a try as well.
National Museum of the American Indian– Washington D.C.
National Museum of the American Indian is a must-visit for a lesson on American Indian history and culture. The museum offers an imagiNATIONS Activity Center that allows children to explore the history and lifestyle of American Indians. Kids can also surf a virtual river inside the museum as well as explore teepee while learning about the traditional living styles of the American Indian. There is also a library for kids who enjoy reading as well as Mitsitam Café that serves native cuisine like fry bread and succotash.
Wounded Knee Museum– Wall South, South Dakota
Wounded Knee Museum cab is a must-visit if you’re headed to Mt. Rushmore and Black hills. The massacre of over 300 people of Lakota nation that happened on December 29, 1980, can be explored through pictures and artifacts at the museum. The museum also celebrates with events like “Lakota Ways: A Cultural Experience” which is truly something to experience in person.
Belle Meade Plantation– Nashville, Tennessee
Belle Meade Plantation is a historic place that speaks the truth about the enslavement of African-Americans. This property was first used in 1807 for American-Africans immigration where they stayed until the early 1900s. The Jubilee tour tells the history of the early African-American people who were first brought there and perfectly defines the dark era of slavery from the point of view of African-Americans. One thing to note. Belle Meade is not recommended for kids under 12 years of age so please keep that in mind when planning your visit
Tenement Museum– New York
Tenement Museum is a tenement building located in the Lower Eastside. The museum which once housed over 7000 working-class Irish and Jewish people offers hand on exhibits for kids of all ages and adults.
Wing Luke Museum– Seattle, Washington
Wing Luke Museum, also known as “The Wing”, is located in Seattle, Washington. The museum defines the history and culture of Asian-Americans. The KidPlace of the museum is specially designed for kids and families to enjoy the colorful architect of Asian-American culture. Try to plan your visit during their special even days where local Asian-American artists spend the day engaging in art projects with the kids