Our History

The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) is based in San Francisco Bay Area and plays a vital role in the local arts community.  MoAD is uniquely positioned as one of the few museums in the world focused exclusively on African Diaspora culture and on presenting the rich cultural heritage of the people of Africa and of African descendant cultures all across the globe.

Since opening in December 2005, MoAD and its neighbors, including SFMOMA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Contemporary Jewish Museum all create a dynamic cultural corridor for the City of San Francisco.

A public-private partnership

MoAD was developed as part of a public/private partnership led by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency. In 1999, the City of San Francisco created a mandate to include an African American cultural presence in the last vacant parcel of Yerba Buena Gardens.

San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown appointed a steering committee to determine the mission and scope of a cultural facility within the complex. Cultural management, architectural and design consultants worked with members of the committee to design a world-class facility and develop fresh, vital programming that didn’t exist anywhere else.

A museum is born

The African American Cultural Institute grew out of the research and development process that began in 2002. The new museum was renamed Museum of the African Diaspora to reflect a broadened scope and mission, and incorporated as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. The architecturally stunning space was designed by the nationally-renowned Freelon Group within the St. Regis Museum Tower.

MoAD opened its doors in 2005, debuting a gorgeous modern museum designed to showcase art and culture through the lens of the African Diaspora.

The mission continues

Today, MoAD brings people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds together in the heart of the city. Here, they can explore and discover the culture, history, and art of people of African descent.