Education & Public Programs

MoAD’s Education and Public Programs provide lifelong learning opportunities for all ages while demonstrating the cultural richness resulting from the dispersal of Africans throughout the Diaspora.

Our education programs support the museum's vision to serve as the bridge that connects all people through our shared African ancestry and our common humanity. All programs use inquiry based learning, intended to inspire involvement that leads to understanding and transformation.

"Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand."
—Old adage

Youth Programs


MoAD provides one hour facilitated tours for both children and adults at all developmental and cognitive levels. Tours are led by experienced tour guides who are trained to facilitate active conversations and encourage critical thinking skills. Tours include some time with the Permanent Exhibits abut are primarily focused on the Current Exhibition (this exhibition changes a few times per year). Each tour is tailored to the ages of the visitors and include age-appropriate interactive materials.

Behind the Lens: Girls of Color in the Media (BTL)

BTL 2015 Application (211K PDF)
BTL 2015 Flyer (300K PDF)

MoAD's program Behind the Lens: Girls of Color in the Media is a Smithsonian Youth Access partner of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage program Will to Adorn. Youth programs around the nation and the Caribbean are participating in a global movement to examine research and celebrate the innovative ways we bring beauty to the various areas in our lives. In 1934 Zora Neale Hurston, renowned anthropologist and folklorist, observed that "the will to adorn" is one of the primary characteristics of African American expression. Ms. Hurston was referring to writing, but our will to adorn is grounded in the history of African-descended populations in the United States and throughout the African Diaspora, visible in dress, speech, music, food and the like.

BTL Participants posing with their hip hop teacher Flo, at Dance Mission Theater in San Francisco.

BTL girls attend a screenprinting workshop.

Behind the Lens: Girls of Color in the Media presents: “The Rhythm of Being Brown.”

Saturdays only, 10-3 January 24-February 28, 2015

This 6-week workshop series will explore how women of African descent
have influenced the world of music. Through various projects this workshop
combines fashion, music, history and pop culture and takes participants
on an exciting journey through the African Diaspora. This session
will also include a Hip Hop for Change workshop in which participants will
learn about the history of hip hop, how to write rhymes and much, much more!

Behind the Lens allows young girls of color to explore the origins of the images, sounds and words they hear and see every day. We "belong" to many communities variously defined by ethnic, class, gender, regional, religious, political, cultural, and other affiliations that exist in complex interrelationship with each other. Our six week modules celebrate accomplished (known and unknown) girl and women leaders in the African Diaspora. Each lesson is cross-curricular. The girls will learn how and eventually be able to articulate how music, art and fashion work together to shape our complex identity.

Space is limited, so early registration is highly recommended. Spaces are held once the application and $25 deposit are received by the program coordinator. Applications can be emailed to or faxed to 415-358-7252. Please mail all deposits to:

Museum of the African Diaspora Attn: Behind the Lens
685 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105.

A confirmation email will be sent when all materials have been received. If you have any questions or concerns, please email Behind the Lens Coordinator, India Wilmott at

Diaspora Curriculum Project (DCP)

The Diaspora Curriculum Project is a new program initiative under development that supports arts and cultural experiences through education, curriculum and outreach, MoAD is developing an arts education initiative whose centerpiece is an innovative K-12 curriculum focusing on the African Diaspora (the dispersion of Africans to the Americas, Asia and Europe) and the contributions of people of African descent in various parts of the world. Lesson plans will focus on social studies, geography, history, and the arts. The curriculum highlights the arts and humanities within a cultural, social, political and historical framework. The curriculum will fulfill content standards adopted by the California Department of Education and that supports California and National Curriculum Content Standards.

The DCP spotlights the museum as a resource for teachers and students, locally and internationally.

The Diaspora Curriculum Project (DCP) affirms MoAD's mission as a primary and relevant resource for its local communities. By focusing on educational enrichment through culture and the arts and by using a teaching tool focused on social studies, language arts, geography, and arts integration, the project provides instruction that supplements key subjects addressed in textbooks. All materials support California and International Baccalaureate curriculum content standards. DCP gives students and teachers access to the history of Africa and the African Diaspora not available through any other single curriculum guide.

Adult Programs

Educator Workshops

Provide professional development for educators featuring content and curricula from permanent exhibition and opportunities for more in depth learning about the African Diaspora. Past workshops have included teacher training with opportunities to network and develop curriculum. These workshops are free of charge, with limited seating. Reservations are encouraged.


MoAD provides one hour facilitated tours for both children and adults at all developmental and cognitive levels. Tours are lead by led by experienced tour guides who are trained to facilitate active conversations and encourage critical thinking skills. Tours include some time with the Permanent Exhibits abut are primarily focused on the Current Exhibition (this exhibition changes a few times per year).

Tell me more: Scholarly Voices of the Diaspora

These lecture / conversations are facilitated by academic thought leaders locally, nationally and internationally. Scholarly Voices offers an opportunity to share ideas about how to foster and in turn implement intellectual and scholarly exchanges among diverse Bay Area communities, especially academic and lay groups within those communities. These Saturday morning lectures begin before the museum opens 10am – 12pm; are member only events, seating is limited and registration is strongly recommended. RSVP to

Support Programs

MoAD Guides

The Guide Program features broad training on the African Diaspora, related history, and contemporary art. Guides develop their public speaking skills and learn to give informative tours that support an enriching and open atmosphere for visitors. In addition, guides help visitors build looking skills. Guides make a commitment of at least 6 months and are required to attend monthly trainings. MoAD guides are volunteers and are not paid. However they can earn a free Membership to MoAD.

Guide Training Schedule for 2012

  • September 17th — October 22nd, 2011
  • March 17th — April 22nd, 2012

All Guide Trainings will be held at MoAD from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Attendance for all six trainings is mandatory. If you are interested in attending the next training please rsvp to

No phone calls please.


MoAD offers unpaid internships during both the summer and academic year. The internships provide college, graduate students (all majors are welcome), and those in transition, with a wide range of experiences designed to provide insight into the daily workings of a professional museum environment.

Wells Fargo Heritage Center

Presents programs focused on cultural preservation including a speakers series, workshops and classes on oral history and genealogy. Visitors can utilize resources on site such as films, books and have access via the web to programs presented by partnering heritage centers and libraries nationally and internationally.

Public Programs

Public Programs include exhibition and non-exhibition related programs for audiences of all ages including lectures, symposiums, conferences, gallery talks, guided tours, interactive demonstrations/workshops, films, book signings and conversations with authors among others. Programs feature a variety of topics and themes related to Africa and the African Diaspora and all forms of social and cultural expressions including dance, music, literature, visual arts, craft, religion, language, journalism, education, technology, heritage, genealogy, aspects of popular culture and mass media and historical and contemporary social, political, economic issues.

Family Programs

Folktales from the African Diaspora

MoAD introduces a new interactive program series, on the Third Saturday of EVERY month, for children and their families of storytelling, performance, and craft-making from Africa, North America, South America and the Caribbean. Presented in partnership with ALICE Arts. Check the MoAD calendar for upcoming programs. 12:00 – 4:00 pm, the 3rd Saturday of every month; free with museum admission.

Music Across the Diaspora Workshop Series

A program series that combines a lecture with performance/demonstrations of the various musical forms that emerged from North America, the Caribbean, South America and Africa. Consists of multi-week programs which includes video, audio recordings and lecture demonstrations that are related and function as mini-courses on a particular subject. Experts in the field of music from Africa and the African Diaspora, both scholars and performers, will conduct these courses that will enrich and enlighten participants about the rich and vibrant world of music from Africa and African descendant cultures.

Sacred Music, Sunday Fellowship

Complements the ongoing lecture series, Migrations of the Sacred: Spirituality Across the Diaspora. This new program initiative includes a lecture/educational component examining the historical sources of contemporary forms of religious/sacred music throughout the African Diaspora, including gospel, spirituals, Orisha praise songs, among others. The lectures will also explore topics such as the historical importance of the Black church, the role music played in the syncretism of religions in the New World, among other topics. The lecture component is complemented by small scale performances by local individuals and groups that demonstrate the various musical forms. The purpose of the program is also to support fellowship across religious lines.

Dance Across the Diaspora

Incorporates lectures, performances, and workshops featuring local, national and international performers, scholars and practitioners of traditional, African-derived and contemporary forms of dance and music. The series offers an opportunity to experience a dance or musical form in an intimate space. The program will include performances coupled with interpretive information and analysis of the history and contemporary manifestation of the dance form.

Authors in Conversation

This new series is a program that brings to our audiences new and relevant scholarship that addresses contemporary currents of thought and themes within or about African Diaspora, African and African American life and culture. They are presented as conversations, allowing the audience to engage more with the authors and join in the conversation as part of the program. This series provides a unique opportunity for scholars and authors to reach an audience, the museum and cultural arts community, outside of their traditional venues.

I’ve Known Rivers – MoAD Story Project (BHP Project)

Collects and preserves oral histories and material culture through “story-mining” interviews and workshops. The current initiative is to collect stories from Bayview Hunters Point residents and business owners primarily African American, document and make publicly accessible via on-site presentations and Sunday Salons and as the next digital volume of IKR. Currently, IKR stories only exist online.

Migrations of the Sacred: Spiritual Practices Across the Diaspora

Through lectures, discussions, performances, and films this series explores the cultural context of spirituality across the Black Atlantic with the purpose of deepening understanding of spiritual and sacred practices within African religions and beliefs and how they have been adapted and syncretized throughout the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe over the last 500 years. There may be more updated language in the other documents.

Educational Resources

MoAD's Education Department serves as a gateway to deeper understanding of the Museum's mission to connect all people through the art, culture and history of the African Diaspora. The Museum's permanent installations and current exhibitions should be used as an entry point for visitors to explore the commonalities between other cultures and their own.

Educator Workshops
“Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter”
– African Proverb

Crosscurrents pre- and post- Exhibition Activities

The Museum of the African Diapora's exhibit Crosscurrents Africa and Black Diasporas in Dialogue 1960 to 1980 focuses on an era of profound political, social and cultural transformation that was fueled by exchanges of ideas and culture among Blacks in the Americas, Africa, and the Caribbean.

The exhibition re-examines the achievements gained through the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements in the United States, and the empowerment of Blacks in general.  It affirms the significant impact of Pan-Africanism and the philosophy of Négritude in informing a new consciousness that led to African nationalism and independence movements during the 1960s.

Download the full activities guide, summarized in the two sections below.

Pre-Exhibititon Activities

Crossword Puzzle (download puzzle | answer key)

Many of the movements and artists on display in the Crosscurrents exhibition may be new to students. The crossword puzzle provides an opportunity to discuss and learn about the various movements and artists during the 1960s - 1980's.

This activity may also be used as a post activity to highlight learning's from exhibition.

Post-Exhibition Activities

• Please review these suggested activities to enrich your class experience. Individually or in groups, students can discuss, write, and draw reactions to their MoAD visit.

• Nelson Mandela was one of the world's best role models of cross cultural dialogue. His memorial service served as a witness to the importance of trans-cultural dialogues. Read the article by Deborah Santana: 'Celebrating Mandela.' Select a partner and create a plan to make a difference.

Are you interested in bringing the African Diaspora into your classroom? Throughout the year, MoAD offers a series of FREE Sunday afternoon workshops to teachers and educators. All education workshops are held on Sunday afternoons. The workshop schedule for the 2013-2014 school year is as follows, or you can download the full workshop listing.

Teacher workshops use the California Common Core State Standards, and MoAD’s current exhibition and permanent installations to guide teachers through a hands on afternoon of learning and networking.

Educator workshops are FREE and open to all educators.

Kelly Clark activist and 5th grade teacher at San Francisco’s Harvey Milk Elementary facilitates our K-5th workshops.

6th -12th WORKSHOPS
Dr. Ruth Bissell Assistant Principal Terra Linda High School in charge of leadership at San Rafael City Schools facilitates our 6th -12th grade workshops.

Space is limited please rsvp to

K-5th Grade Education Workshops

K-5th Education Workshops are held on Sunday afternoons from 1-4pm

Are you interested in bringing the African Diaspora into your K-5th grade classroom? Throughout the year, MOAD offers a series of weekend workshops to teachers and educators. Each workshop provides a hands on opportunity for teachers to explore ways to integrate MoAD’s permanent installation into their classroom curriculum, and network with other like-minded professionals in the Bay Area.

6-12th Grade Education Workshops

The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) has developed an innovative curriculum ‘Diaspora Curriculum Project’ focusing on the African Diaspora and the contributions of people of African descent throughout the world. This interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to develop social studies, history, science, and visual arts skills for student’s grades 6-12. The DCP aims to think with people, not about them and tell history from the perspective of those who live it. Each workshop will explore ways in which to implement one of the curriculum modules into a 6-12 grade classroom

Curriculum Guides

MoAD's Education Department prepares Curriculum Guides to accompany some of our current exhibitions. Curriculum Guides are interdisciplinary and written to align with California State Content Standards for K-12 education. Each Curriculum Guide contains information and lesson plans to help students gain a deeper understanding of the topics and themes covered by our exhibitions. Curriculum Guides also contain worksheets to help teachers prepare their students for a focused museum visit.


Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is a holiday in the United States honoring African American heritage by commemorating the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. States This holiday is believed to have had its first celebration in Galveston Texas in 1865. Celebrated on June 19, the term is a combination of June and nineteenth, and is recognized as a state holiday in 39 states of the U.S.


Though Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, with an effective date of January 1, 1863, it had minimal immediate effect on the day-to-day lives of most enslaved people, particularly in the Confederate States of America. Texas, as a part of the Confederacy, had seceded and weren't following the law of the U.S., was resistant to the Emancipation Proclamation, and though slavery was very prevalent in East Texas, it was not as common in the Western areas of Texas, particularly the Hill Country, where most German-Americans were opposed to the practice. Juneteenth commemorates June 18 and 19, 1865. June 18 is the day Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its slaves. On June 19, 1865, legend has it while standing on the balcony of Galveston’s Ashton Villa, Granger read the contents of “General Order No. 3”:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

That day became known as Juneteenth, a combination of the words June and “teenth” like nineteenth and other numbers with “-teenth.”

COLLECTED: Stories of Acquisition and Reclamation
(October 7, 2011 – March 4, 2012)


Soulful Stitching: Patchwork Quilts by Africans (Siddis) in India
(July 15, 2011 – September 25, 2011)

Soulful Stitching: Patchwork Quilts by Africans (Siddis) in India features 32 striking patchwork quilts made by Siddi women, heirs to the culture and values of Africans brought to Goa on India’s west coast beginning in the 16th century. While they have adopted and integrated many cultural aspects of the Indian peoples with whom they have lived for generations, Siddis have also retained and transformed certain cultural and artistic traditions from Africa.


Curriculum Guide archive

Library Resource Guides

MoAD’s Education Department partners with the San Francisco Public Library to prepare Library Resource Guides to accompany each of our exhibitions. These guides will help you find books and other materials at the San Francisco Public Library related to topics covered by each exhibition.