February is Black History Month, and there’s no better time to teach your kids about the history and heritage of Milwaukee’s African-American community. Here are some events and exhibits going on this month.
1. Black Holocaust Museum – Grand Re-Emergence
Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
401 W. North Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53212
After years of planning, rebuilding and virtual operation, America’s Black Holocaust Museum will be re-opening a physical location. The brand-new facility can be found in Milwaukee’s historic Bronzeville neighborhood, at the corner of Vel R. Phillips and North Avenue. Inspiring new exhibits take visitors on a chronological journey through more than 400 years of African American history, from pre-captivity to the present. There will be a brief ceremony at 9 a.m., followed by a ribbon cutting at 9:45 a.m. The museum doors officially open to the public at 10 a.m.
2. Wisconsin Black Historical Society/Museum
Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.; Closed Sundays and Mondays
2620 W. Center St., Milwaukee, WI 53206
Admission: $10 (Members FREE)
The Wisconsin Black Historical Society is in its 30th year of preserving Wisconsin’s African American history. Current exhibits include Work’n In The Promised Land: The African American Labor Experience in Wisconsin, and Ancient Eqypt to Modern Milwaukee. See the world unfold before your eyes, from ancient Egyptian civilization to early African American settlers in rural Wisconsin. A larger-than-life mural provides a glimpse of modern life of African Americans in Milwaukee.
3. The Watsons at Milwaukee Public Museum
Wednesday-Monday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (closed on Tuesdays)
800 W. Wells St., Milwaukee, WI 53233
Visit the Museum during Black History Month and learn about the Watson family! Sully and Susanna Watson took their family from the oppressive conditions of antebellum Virginia in 1834 and, after several years in Ohio, arrived in Milwaukee in 1850. Through skilled labor and business entrepreneurship, the couple played a vital role in establishing Milwaukee’s black middle class. You’ll find the replica Watson House in the Streets of Old Milwaukee exhibit. Visit on Kohl’s Thank You Thursday, February 3, to enjoy FREE admission.
4. Family Matters Shorts Program by Milwaukee Film
Saturday, Feb, 19, 2022, 1 p.m. – 2:40 p.m.
Oriental Theater, 2230 N. Farwell Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202
Admission: $12 (Members $9)
This showing represents the family-friendly installment in Milwaukee Film’s Black History Month series. An award-winning collection of short films chosen with kids and parents in mind, this shorts program features intergenerational themes appropriate for all.
5. Stars, Stories & Rhythms of Africa
Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, 6-8 p.m.
UWM Manfred Olson Planetarium, 1900 E. Kenwood Blvd., Milwaukee, WI 53211
Celebrate Black History Month under the stars! The UWM Planetarium presents a night of live music, dancing, storytelling, and stargazing in different African cities. Cosponsored by the Black Student Cultural Center and Sociocultural Programming at UWM, this free event will include indoor stargazing sessions of the night sky followed by the opportunity to ask questions. Not recommended for children under 4. No registration is required, but masks are currently required inside all University buildings, regardless of vaccination status.
6. The Watsons Go To Birmingham – 1963 (First Stage)
Jan. 21-Feb. 13, 2022
Marcus Center, Todd Wehr Theater, 929 N. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53202
Admission: Starts at $21
First Stage, one of the nation’s leading theaters for young people and families, returns to live performances with a heartwarming production of The Watsons Go To Birmingham – 1963, now showing at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater. Based on the award-winning book by Christopher Paul Curtis and adapted by Cheryl L. West, with original music by Paris Ray Dozier and directed by Brandite Reed and Jeff Frank, this journey into the deep South in 1963 reminds us of the importance of family, love and laughter to get through challenging times.
7. Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design
Jan. 17 – March 12, 2022
Frederick Layton Gallery at MIAD, 273 E. Erie St., Milwaukee, WI 53202
What does it mean to be Black in today’s America? At MIAD’s current exhibition, Presence and Persistence: Visions of American Blackness, artists provide insights through the lenses of their own lives and the artwork they have created. The gallery is free to tour and sponsored in part by the Milwaukee Art Museum’s African American Art Alliance.
8. Black History Month Reading Challenge
Feb. 1-28, 2022
Milwaukee Public Library (various locations)
Milwaukee Public Library is challenging everyone to read three items of their choosing for a chance to win a prize! There will be prize categories for adults, teens and children ages 0-12. Kids’ prizes include a $50 Milwaukee Bucks gift card, a $25 Confectionately Yours gift card, Super Soakers and more. Submit an entry form at any Milwaukee Public Library location by February 28, 2022 to be eligible to win. Need ideas for books, e-books, audiobooks, e-audiobooks? Go to mpl.org/blackhistorymonth to browse suggested reading lists and website recommendations.
9. Black History Month Take-and-Make Crafts
February 1-28, 2022
Wauwatosa Public Library, 7635 W North Ave., Wauwatosa, WI 53213
Throughout the month of February, drop by the children’s library at the Wauwatosa Public Library to learn more about several local and nationally known Black Artists who express their unique perspectives as African Americans through their creative endeavors. Then take home a project kit to continue your exploration of Black Artists and to celebrate their work by making a creation of your own. Anyone interested is invited to return their project to the library to be included in Wauwatosa’s Black History month celebration on Feb. 17 (see below)!
10. Wauwatosa Black History Month Celebration (VIRTUAL)
Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, 7 p.m.-8:15 p.m.
Join Tosa Together (virtually) for their annual celebration of Black History Month. This year’s focus is Black Health & Wellness, and Dr. Staci Young will be the keynote speaker. There will be art, music, trivia, great community involvement and more! A fun evening for the whole family! Register online for this FREE event.