Celebrate Black History Month at these museums and galleries
From a photography centre in London dedicated to Black artists to museums committed to decolonising their collections, discover some of the best venues to visit during Black History Month.
October is Black History Month, a nationwide celebration of Black culture, arts and history, held annually in recognition of the significant achievements and contributions of Black people to British society.
We've highlighted some of the best museums, galleries and historic houses in the UK to visit during Black History Month, who are all doing brilliant work to spotlight Black artists, history and culture.
Don't forget to pack your National Art Pass: you'll get great benefits at lots of these venues.
And for even more to explore, remember to explore our full exhibition and events listings.
Discover the best museums, galleries and historic houses to visit during Black History Month
Autograph is a leading organization that has played a vital role in promoting and supporting black photographic practices for over 35 years. Their central mission is to act as an agent of change by championing photography that explores race, identity and human rights to redress gaps in photographic history and to highlight who is absent from museum collections, archives and exhibitions.
MIMA have been working to decolonise their collection, following an audit which revealed that Black artists only make up 2% of their collection. They have worked on significant research projects and exhibitions to help the museum learn from Black artists and Black communities to develop new approaches to collecting, conservation, interpretation and display in order to make their collection more representative and inclusive.
Museum of Liverpool has a display titled Liverpool 8 Against Apartheid, highlighting how the city's Black community supported the anti-apartheid campaign in the 1980s through demos, product boycotts and the Free Nelson Mandela Campaign. Highlights include campaign posters, badges and photographs of community demonstrations and marches, revealing the power of activism and the importance of solidarity.
Straddling the border between Scotland England, Paxton House is one of the finest examples of Palladian architecture in the UK. It also has direct connections to the Caribbean and slavery: its owner during the 18th century was Ninian Home, a Scottish slave plantation owner. In recent years, Paxton House have worked to decolonise their collections and exhibition spaces, and actively embeds the house's historical links to slavery deeper within their interpretation. They have programmed exhibitions, including a permanent display, exploring the links between the historic house and the slave trade.
Since its founding, Bristol's Arnolfini has done incredible work to champion Black artists and embed post-colonial thinking into its exhibition programme, including significant group exhibitions such as Trophies of Empire (1992), Disrupted Borders (1993), and solo shows by Veronica Ryan, John Akomfrah and Frank Bowling.
Touchstones Rochdale, formerly Rochdale Art Gallery, had a daring and innovative approach to exhibition making and education programming in the 1980s. It focused on exhibiting artists engaged in critical and socio-political practice, giving a platform to those who were not given the opportunity to exhibit their work in other high profile institutions, including Sonia Boyce and Lubaina Himid. The gallery also presented its historic collection in new and critical ways, demonstrating the potential for galleries to function as a tool for social change. Touchstones Rochdale is currently closed until 2025 for an extensive redevelopment.
The more you see, the more we do.
The National Art Pass lets you enjoy free entry to hundreds of museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, while raising money to support them.