Penn Museum celebrates Black History Month with virtual events, festival

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Penn Museum in University City is honoring Black History Month with virtual events and an online festival.

The museum will be hosting a series that features stories of African American history told through buildings, monuments, and their historic preservation.

The museum’s Ellen Owens said Joseph McGill Jr., the history consultant for the Magnolia Plantation, will give a talk about his new project, the Slave Dwelling Project.

The lecture examines the damaging ways White supremacy bolsters modern white privilege within an up close and personal view of slavery.

“This project has people actually stay overnight in previously enslaved people’s homes and he tries to bring out personal narratives of their experiences,” she said.

The museum will also be virtually hosting Fêtes des Masques, or festivals of masks, as part of CultureFest! The festival is celebrated on the west coast of Africa, mostly in Ivory Coast, Mali, and Burkina Faso, Owens said.

As part of the online festival, there will be discussions and crafts. The event will also feature African music, dance and colorful masks that all have a powerful meaning behind them.

“This is kind of a festival that celebrates the dead through these incredible dance performances,” Owens explained.

The festival starts Feb. 2 and runs throughout the month, and the lecture will be on Feb. 3 at 6 p.m.