DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) - A museum in central Illinois recognizes African-Americans who have made a difference throughout history locally and worldly.
The African-American Cultural and Genealogical Society and Museum of Illinois works throughout the year to bring new exhibits that educate people about African-American history throughout the United States and throughout central Illinois.
In honor of Black History Month the museum created exhibits to educate and inform visitors. One exhibit features photos and information about how African-Americans arrived to the United States.
"This exhibit shows how they arrived on the slaves ships and how they endured the travel," explains Stanley Oldham, museum volunteer.
Oldham says this exhibit will give visitors a look at the conditions and the pain African-Americans endured as they made their way to the United States. Oldham says, looking back on the past and understanding is one way to look ahead towards the future.
"400 years have gone by, we've made a lot of progress but we still have a long way to go in this country and it should be remembered where we come from," explains Oldham.
Throughout the African-American Cultural and Genealogical Society and Museum of Illinois visitors can go through time and see history come to life as they work through each exhibit.
"You can explore your roots and you can find something that makes a connection with history and makes history come alive," explains Kevin Wilmot, Vice-President of the museum.
A section in the upstairs of the museum an exhibit was donated by Decatur native Marty Watkins. The exhibit features autographed photos from famous African-American throughout history.
"Kids want to be something some day. As I grew up I had ideals and heroes I wanted to be like. These people here (in the exhibit) have paved a way for the youngsters.
Oldman and Wilmot say the museum is a great place to bring family and a great place to learn. Another exhibit the museum featured is "Dolls of Color". The exhibit has dolls from all over the world and from all different time periods. Wilmot says the dolls were donated and make a great feature to the museum.
The African-American Cultural and Genealogical Society and Museum of Illinois is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and the first and third Saturday of each month 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information click here.