CHATTANOOGA, TN – On June 25, 2021, the Bessie Smith Cultural Center will re-open the Chattanooga African American Museum to the public, after being closed for fifteen months during the pandemic. The Board of Directors and dedicated staff of the Bessie are excited to display the true history of African Americans in Chattanooga with a new museum vision in place. Incorporating new technology and exhibits has allowed the organization to better tell the story of African Americans in Chattanooga throughout history. Interactive kiosks, new exhibits, a children’s education corner, and more will give guests a new experience like never before. Visitors will be able to walk through Chattanooga African American history from Native Americans and slavery to today’s current events.
This new vision was made possible by support from great community partners: BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation, Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union, Chattanooga Coca-Cola, City of Chattanooga, Kazee, Inc. Darrell and Gloria Freeman Foundation, Food City, Benwood Foundation and Tennessee Valley Authority.
A short program and ribbon cutting will take place at 10:00 am on the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation stage, located on the terrace of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center. Immediately following, guests will have an opportunity to tour the new museum free of charge. The museum will also be open with free admission on Saturday, June 26 from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. In the interest of safety and optimal visitor experience, guests will be allowed to tour in small groups. The museum’s regular hours of operation will be Tuesday – Friday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Saturday from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. Admission cost will be Adults $10, Kids, Students, and Senior Citizens $7, Group rate (10 or more) $5 per person. For more information contact the Bessie Smith Cultural Center at (423) 266-8658.