Areas of Bowling Green, Kentucky were once hubs of African American heritage, hosting culturally vibrant and bright communities such as Shake Rag and Jonesville. These communities have since been demolished or forgotten by the community. Where Jonesville used to exist, Western Kentucky University’s football stadium now towers. Several shops and businesses that thrived in Shake Rag have been contorted into new businesses or leveled completely, their historical value lost.

The African American Museum was created in 2006 to preserve the rich black culture and contributions that blossomed in these communities. After watching historic Shake Rag buildings and structures be redeveloped and reconstructed, a woman who grew up in Shake Rag, Wathetta Buford, decided to take her concerns to the City Commission. With support from Slim Nash, they were able to establish a museum in a building on Third Ave.

In search of broader horizons, the museum left Third Ave in 2014 and found a home in the Erskine House Building at WKU. Since then, the museum has grown its exhibits and artifacts, now featuring rooms designated to different portions of history. Exhibits showcase African American accomplishments at WKU as well as in the military. Exhibits exploring historic African American schools feature artifacts such as senior’s letterman’s and newspaper clippings about the schools. Seamless incorporations of the accomplishments, contributions, and culture of African Americans in the early 20th century is what makes this museum worth the visit.

About Us


We honor the rich, vibrant culture that blossomed from black communities in Bowling Green, Kentucky during the early 20th century. Though racism and violence loomed in this area, these men and women did not cower. They lived bright, fulfilling lives and built thriving communities, businesses and schools.

We have made it our mission to recover, document, preserve, and present the history of these African Americans to ensure that their history is never forgotten.


The wind beneath the wings of the African American Museum-Bowling Green Area Inc. was The New Era Planning Association, Inc. This organization was founded in 2001 to preserve and document the African American history in the Bowling Green and Warren County area. For more than a decade, members of the Association carefully collected pictures and other historical artifacts about the Bowling Green area’s history and culture.

The first meeting of what would become the AAM Steering Committee was held on April 12, 2011 at the proposed site for the Museum, 301 State Street. The Museum’s first site was located in the historic Shake Rag district. This block contained the State Street Missionary Baptist Church, the oldest African American congregation in Bowling Green (1838). In September 2011, the Bowling Green City Commission provided seed funding for an African American Museum in Bowling Green.

In 2012, WROTE, INC.(a local non-profit community foundation) assisted the Museum to organize itself as an independent 501 © (3) tax exempt charitable organization. The Museum is also registered with Commonwealth of Kentucky as a non-profit organization.

As more documents were accumulated and exhibits grew, the board of directors sought another site. In July 2014, the board signed a long-term lease with Western Kentucky University to use its property located at 1783 Chestnut Street known as the Erskine House. Although on the WKU campus, the site is three blocks from the historic African American Jonesville community. This property has three buildings and a modest parking lot. Since then, the Museum has provided tours of its exhibits without direct admission charge and conducted its own educational programs with various community organizations.

Partnership with Musée du Louvre

The Louvre Museum is one of the largest museums in the world, located in the very center of Paris in the 1st arrondissement. Nearly 35,000 objects, from prehistory to the 21st century, are exhibited there over an area of ​​60,600 m². With more than 8 million visitors each year, it is the most visited museum in the world.

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The beginnings of the Louvre Museum

While the court of the Sun King moved to Versailles, the Louvre Palace was occupied by nobles, intellectuals and artists who took up residence there. The latter make the proposal to the king of a museum project. Louis XVI likes this idea and begins the development work. It was the French Revolution that precipitated the opening of the Grand Gallery to the public. Works from the royal collections are exhibited there. The collections grow as confiscations and military successes. Private donations also offer the Louvre the opportunity to acquire new pieces. While Napoleon Bonaparte(1769-1821) housed in the Tuileries Palace, the Emperor turned the Louvre into a major museum with the help of its first director Dominique Vivant Denon (1747-1825). The latter organizes the collections. Later, Charles X (1757-1836) had a new gallery built along Rivoli , parallel to the one built at the instigation of Henri IV. The departments of Greek and Egyptian antiquities are created and take the name of Charles X Museum . It was during the Second Empire that the Louvre acquired the silhouette we know today. He had two buildings built around the Cour Napoléon where the Pyramid is today… New rooms were fitted out for the museum, the Louvre had offices for the ministries and stables were installed. The works extend to the Tuileries that Napoleon III wishes to renovate with first the destruction of the gallery which was along the Seine. Unfortunately, this project was not completed due to the events of the Commune during which the Tuileries Palace was burned down.

The museum is located in the Palais du Louvre, once a fortress built at the end of the 12th century under Philip II. The remains of the fortress can be seen in the basement of the museum. The building was extended several times to form the current Palais du Louvre. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles as his home, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection. In 1692 the building was occupied by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which held the first of a series of salons in 1699. The Académie remained in the Louvre for 100 years. During the French Revolution, the National Assemblydecreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum, in order to display the nation’s masterpieces.

The museum opened on August 10, 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being royal and the property confiscated from the church. Due to structural problems with the building, the museum was closed in 1796 until 1801. The size of the collection increased under Napoleon and the museum was renamed the Musée Napoléon. After Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, many works seized by his armies were returned to their original owners. The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X, and during the Second French Empire the museum gained 20,000 pieces.

As of 2008, the collection is divided between eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities, Oriental Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Islamic Arts, Sculpture, Decorative Arts, Paintings, Prints and Drawings.

The Grand Louvre

In 1981, François Mitterrand was elected President of the French Republic. The renovation of the Louvre Museum and its redevelopment are entrusted to the architect Ieoh Ming Pei . These works allow, among other things, the construction of the pyramids, as well as the extension of the main entrance with the Carrousel du Louvre. The largest museum in the world then opened up to new audiences. The last major projects that marked the Louvre Palace were those of the development of the Cour Visconti to install the Islamic arts department there .

In 2014, the Museum welcomed more than 9 million visitors , three quarters of whom were foreigners. This success makes the Palais du Louvre one of the most visited places in Paris.