International African American Museum opens this week

The museum has been in the works for over 20 years and will open its doors to the public Tuesday, June 27.

IAAM tour_ CHStoday

Malika N. Pryor, Chief Learning and Education Officer, took us on a tour of the space last week.

Photo by CHStoday

After more than two decades of planning and a six-month postponement, the highly-anticipated International African American Museum will open tomorrow, Tuesday, June 27.

The museum’s mission is to honor the untold stories of the African American journey. Located in downtown Charleston, the groundbreaking project has 12 permanent exhibitions, including nine galleries and one special exhibitions gallery.

Design elements of the building feature pluff mud, shells, tabby, and grasses as a way for visitors to see how African Americans helped form the scenery of Charleston from a colonial landscape to what it is today.

Art piece IAAM_CHStoday

One of the museum’s main art pieces is titled “Jah Defender,” by artist Demond Melancon.

Photo by CHStoday

One of the most unique elements of the museum is the interactive Center for Family History. This space is dedicated in the building to foster family research.

Additionally, the African Ancestors Memorial Garden stretches across the museum’s grounds. This area will be free and open to the public, providing a space for informal and structured gatherings.

Special Exhibit:

  • Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth | Tuesday, June 27- Sunday, August 6 | The Smithsonian exhibit highlights African American men who have altered the history and culture of the country. The museum is the only one in South Carolina to feature this traveling exhibit.
CHStoday IAAM special exhibit

Take an inside peek of the special exhibit from the Smithsonian Museum.

Photo by CHStoday


  • The building stands at 14 Wharfside St., 13 feet above the historic site of Gadsden’s Wharf, the port of arrival for nearly half of all enslaved Africans brought to North America.


  • The museum is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (the last entry is 4 p.m.) Tuesday-Sunday. It is closed on Mondays.



  • Hourly parking is available nearby in the City of Charleston parking garage (24 Calhoun St.). Metered parking is located along Washington St. and Concord St.