DuBois ’83 Directs Museum Honoring Girls of Color

Editorial StaffMay 15, 20172min

(By K Alshanetsky ’17)

Vashti DuBois ’83 is the founder and executive director of the Colored Girls Museum, a memoir museum honoring the stories and histories of black women. Located in the Germantown area of Philadelphia, Dubois created the space in September 2015 to rectify the continual neglect of black women’s experiences and labor. Featuring artifacts pertaining to the herstory of Colored Girls, the museum respects these objects as containing both personal and historical significance. It acts as an exhibition space as well as a place to research, gather and heal.

As reported in the Chestnut Hill Local, Dubois first visualized the Colored Girls Museum during her time as an undergraduate student at Wesleyan. For her first exhibition she crowd sourced the objects on display from friends:

DuBois, a theater artist and literacy coach, came up with the idea of a museum of black women’s artifacts during her sophomore year at Wesleyan University. When she began to re-knit her life three years ago after her husband of 16 years, Al Stewart, died in a car crash, she asked her friends to donate objects. The first exhibit, “Open for Business,” was a 2015 Fringe Festival event.

In the exhibitions she puts on, Dubois seeks to break stereotypes surrounding women of color. Describing her ultimate motivation for creating and sustaining the museum, she explains:

“So much depends on cleaning women, child care workers and other colored women who remain anonymous. The museum shows colored girls from the ordinary to the extraordinary.”

The Colored Girls Museum, 4613 Newhall St., is open Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. The suggested donation is $10. More information here.