Want an uncomfortable day at the museum? The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia features posters, toys, and signs spanning from the segregation era to the civil rights movement.
The museum, located at Ferris State University, aims to provide a timeline for the African-American experience in America. David Pilgrim, the founder and curator of the museum, said that the collection “is all about teaching, not a shrine to racism.”
The museum website says that it hopes to use “objects of intolerance to teach tolerance” and that it “strives to become a leader in social activism and in the discussion of race and race relations.”
The collection, which includes a full scale lynching tree, instructions on how to “black up” for theater, and other racist signs that were once common in America, provides a shocking experience for museum goers.
Nancy Mettlach, a student conduct specialist at Ferris, said:
“There’s parts in that room — the main room — where it’s quite gut-wrenching… And the thought that was going through my mind was: ‘How can one human being do this to another human being?’”
The N word is prevalent throughout the museum in displays that portray black man as lazy, violent “beasts,” and women as “mammies” and “jezebels.”
The Telegraph reports that most of the items in the museum come the Jim Crow era, but the museum also features several items from the last few years, including racist signs of President Obama.
Here’s a video about the Jim Crow museum.
“I collect this garbage because I believe, and know to be true, that items of intolerance can be used to teach tolerance. A confrontation with the visual evidence of racism – especially thousands of items in a small room – is frequently shocking, even painful. Our goal is not to shock visitors. Our goal is to use items of intolerance to teach tolerance.”