LHS welcomes the first ever Black History Month museum

Several students of all grades explore the informative Black History Month museum, which was created by students and staff members to better educate community members during Black History Month.

On Feb. 21-23, Libertyville High School hosted its very first Black History Month museum in the school library, which was created by students in classes, clubs and as individuals, along with staff members. The museum was open to people from all over the community to come and explore. The museum took place in the evening at 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 22, and throughout the school day during all lunch periods on Feb. 21 and 23. The museum had a variety of exhibits including posters, infographics, slideshows, videos and art.


What to Know About About the Museum

“I want students to know that this museum is created by other students and by a few staff, but mostly created by students,” said English teacher Mrs. Anne Singleton. “I think it’s so awesome to give students opportunities to create original work and then publish that work. So I just want other students to know that what they’re seeing is what their peers create and what their peers think is important.”

Along with current examples, early origins of black culture were also explored.

“You can expect to see a variety of information about African American and black history beginning back in the 1700s all the way to present day,” said Mrs. Singleton.

Displays of African Americans may include the challenges that they have faced such as racism or their accomplishments such as publishing a book.


Inspiration for the Museum

Mrs. Singleton was inspired by her “opportunity to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. in October, as part of our professional learning trip.”

It was ultimately here that the idea for the museum came to Mrs. Singleton.

“While I was in the museum, I kept thinking, ‘I wish I could bring every single one of our students there’ because there was so much that I learned there,” said Mrs. Singleton.

Mrs. Singleton wanted LHS to have its very own museum, so she brought it up to Ms. Scott and Ms. Hall, who are staff at Vernon Hills High School. After getting their approval, she then talked to Ms. Wiggins, an LHS librarian.

According to Mrs. Singleton, one goal for the museum is for students to “take away some new information about Black History Month or about African American or black history that they didn’t know before.”

“A lot of students are familiar with Dr. King and his work or Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman [and] maybe Frederick Douglass. There are certainly athletes and artists who are African American or black, but hopefully students learn about one new person or one new topic that they didn’t know before.”


Displays from Students in the Museum

For a Freshman Literature Honors assignment, freshman Ella Pawelczyk created an infographic about basketball player Michael Jordan. In the infographic, she shared information about early in his life.

“I played basketball and Michael Jordan is a well-known basketball player and I knew a lot about him,” said Pawelczyk. “He’s an amazing player, but I wanted to dig deeper and learn more about things people don’t really know about him.”

Pawelczyk explained what she wants other students to know about Michael Jordan.

“As a high schooler, he was cut from his basketball team, and he worked extremely hard to get better and to make the team the next year,” said Pawelczyk. “As a college athlete, he started all the games and he played a lot.”

Pawelczyk wants other students to know what Jordan has done besides playing basketball. Jordan benefited other people because “he’s donated a lot of money to organizations to help African American people who were being discriminated against.”

Other Black people who have made history who are featured in the museum besides Michael Jordan include Aretha Franklin, Bill Russell, Jackie Robinson, Althea Gibson, Serena Williams, and Oprah Winfrey.

Through the museum, information is explained visually in many ways for students to discover. There are some African Americans who have made history such as artists and athletes who are well known, but Mrs. Singleton hopes students will take away some new information from the museum about some people or topics.