Gems range from plantations to the largest black history museum in the world.
African American Museum, Dallas
The leading African-American art and culture museum in the Southwest, this site is dedicated to showcasing rich heritage through both exhibits and educational events geared toward families. The museum boasts collections of both fine and folk art by some of the foremost African-American artists.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday;
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
For more information: (214) 565-9026 or aamdallas.org
African American Museum, Philadelphia
This gem features a wide array of exhibits pertaining to the African-American experience in Philadelphia during the nation's formative years, a usually overlooked slice of history. The piece de resistance is Audacious Freedom, an exhibit that features an interactive timeline and video projections highlighting African-American figures integral to the city's history.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
For more information: (215) 574-0380 or aampmuseum.org
California African American Museum, Los Angeles
Located in the heart of Los Angeles, this museum houses an extensive collection of 19th- and 20th-century African-American art. In addition to its role as a museum, the location also serves as a research library dedicated to the study of African-American history and culture. Its research collection holds more than 20,000 archival materials.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
For more information: (213) 744-7432 or caamuseum.org
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit
Founded in 1965 by Detroit physician and community leader Charles H. Wright, this institution is the largest African-American historical museum in the world. The museum has more than 30,000 artifacts pertaining to African and African-American history, including an extensive collection of Underground Railroad artifacts and documents.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 1p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
For more information: (313) 494-5800 or thewright.org
Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, Earlimart, Calif.
Established in 1908, Allensworth, Calif., was the state's only township that was financed and governed entirely by African Americans. Although the town's success was short-lived because of severe drought, the site became a state historic park in 1974. The park includes a number of restored early-20th-century buildings to give visitors a sense of life at the settlement as its founders knew it.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.
For more information: (661) 849-3433 or www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=583
Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, Big Rapids, Mich.
Located at Ferris State University, this educational repository of racist objects highlights a less celebratory but very much integral part of the African-American experience. Since its founding in 2012, the Jim Crow Museum has expanded its collection to also include empowering exhibits pertaining to the civil rights movement.
Hours: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday- Friday.
For more information: (231) 591-5873 or ferris.edu/jimcrow/
Kingsley Plantation, Jacksonville
The antebellum estate of plantation owner Zephaniah Kingsley and his Senegalese wife Anna Kingsley, a former slave, is the site of the first archaeological dig dedicated to unearthing African-American artifacts. The site features an extensive educational exhibit on plantation culture, including an in-depth look into the former slave quarters.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
For more information: (904) 251-3537 or nps.gov/timu/historyculture/kp.htm
George Washington Carver National Monument, Diamond, Mo.
Aimed at preserving Carver's legacy as an educator and intellectual, the monument in his hometown of Diamond, Mo., looks beyond his better-known achievements as a peanut farmer and food scientist. The monument is home to a museum with educational events and interactive exhibits, as well as a self-guided trail along Williams Pond, where Carver first explored his passion for the natural world.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
For more information: (417) 325-4151 or nps.gov/gwca
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, Charlotte
With frequent on-site events and film screenings seeking to inspire dialogue among visitors, the Gantt Center is much more than your average African-American art museum. In addition to housing both permanent and touring collections, the center also promotes the work of emerging visual and literary artists through online initiatives and public programs. (Gantt, the museum's namesake, is an architect and longtime community leader and was the first black mayor of Charlotte.)
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday;
1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
For more information: (704) 547-3700 or ganttcenter.org
Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, Richmond, Va.
The first black woman in the United States to found a bank, Walker was a prominent early-20th-century advocate for African Americans' and women's rights during a time when both groups were considered second-class citizens. Visitors can tour her historic neighborhood, Jackson Ward, as well as her former mansion, which features exhibits that chronicle her life and accomplishments.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday.
For more information: (804) 771-2017 or nps.gov/mawa
National Great Blacks in Wax Museum, Baltimore
Established in 1983 as the first wax museum dedicated entirely to African-American history, this site showcases a collection of more than 100 wax figures. The museum features exhibits on significant events and people in black history, including one showcasing wax models of famous black residents of Maryland.
Special hours for Black History Month (February): 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
For more information: (410) 563-3404 or greatblacksinwax.org
Nicodemus National Historic Site, Nicodemus, Kan.
This early settlement was established during Reconstruction after the Civil War as a safe haven for formerly enslaved Kentuckians, and represents one of the first efforts to settle the Great Plains by African Americans. The site features a visitors center replete with educational displays, as well as five restored buildings, two of which are open to the public.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
For more information: (785) 839-4233 or nps.gov/nico
Paul Laurence Dunbar House, Dayton, Ohio
Paul Laurence Dunbar, one of the first African-American poets to gain widespread acclaim, spent the last years of his life in this modest but comfortable Dayton house. The restored early-20th-century home exhibits his treasured books and original family furniture, as well as a bicycle built for Dunbar by fellow Dayton residents Orville and Wilbur Wright.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday-Saturday; Thursday by appointment only.
To schedule a tour: (937) 313-2010.
For more information: ohiohistory.org/
The Rosa Parks Museum, Montgomery, Ala.
Founded to educate the public about the accomplishments of Rosa Parks and other participants in the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, the museum was built on the site of the old Empire Theatre, the bus stop at which Parks famously refused to give up her seat to a white person. Exhibits include a replica of the bus on which Parks made her stand, as well as "time machines" that transport visitors to the segregated Montgomery of the 1950s.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
To schedule a tour: (334) 241-8661.
For more information: trojan.troy.edu/
W.E.B. Du Bois Boyhood Homesite, Great Barrington, Mass.
Located in far western Massachusetts, the actual childhood home of legendary 20th-century black intellectual and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois is just a collection of ruins, but visitors can participate in a self-guided walk of the site while facing the serene Housatonic River. The community of Great Barrington also hosts occasional events celebrating the life of Du Bois and other black leaders.
Hours: daylight hours, daily, in spring, summer and fall.
For more information: (413) 528-3391 or duboishomesite.org. The website has a self-guided tour map available for download.