The Bronzeville Children’s Museum presented its annual Kwanzaa program on Monday, December 26, 2022, at the museum located 9301 South Stony Island Avenue in Chicago. Children ages 3 to 9, and adults attending the First Day of Kwanzaa on December 26, learn how to celebrate this weeklong cultural and historic event.
Children and adults participated in a celebration of family, community and culture. In keeping with the seven principles of Kwanzaa, the first day celebrates UNITY. Activities for the children included storytelling, music, singing, crafts, and face painting. The program was highlighted with a visit from the KWANZAA KING!!
The idea of a Kwanzaa King is new and unique to the museum. As the regally dressed King makes his grand appearance to greet the children, he was adorned in a robe befitting African royalty with a Kente cloth sash and hat. The Kwanzaa King gives a Kwanzaa book containing activities that explain and teach children and their families the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
With over 20,000 children having visited the museum since it opened, it is still the first and only African American Children’s Museum in the United States.
There are over three hundred children’s museums nationwide. The children that visit the museum each year have come from as far as Northwest Indiana, and in Illinois from as far north as Wilmette and as far west as Oak Brook.
It has been the Bronzeville Children’s Museum’s mission to expose all children, ages 3 to 9, and adults, to the history, culture and contributions of African Americans and Africans of the Diaspora through unique exhibitions and programs. The celebration of Kwanzaa is one of its special programs.
During the 20th Year celebration in 2018, the museum opened a new exhibition. The “STEM READY” exhibit features a green screen experience that enables children to be on television. There are also other STEM related activities designed to expose the children to the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in their lives and how important it is to learn science and mathematics in their school journey.
Young people also learn about African Americans who have developed important STEM related inventions.
The STEM exhibit was generously funded by ComEd, the Institute of Museum and Library Service, Harris Bank, and the Richard Driehaus Foundation.
There are interactive activities such as “You Are What You Eat,” which focuses on learning how to have a healthy eating lifestyle, and “African American Inventors Changing Lives.”
A calendar of programs presented by the Bronzeville Children’s Museum throughout the year included “Martin Quest” in January; Annual Black History Month program in February; Women’s History Month program in March; Smart Money program in April; Juneteenth program in June; Dreamers and Dream Makers program in July; “Not So Scary Halloween Film Festival in October and the calendar finale, the annual Kwanzaa program in December.