The first African-American Museum, the Old Slave Mart Museum has been open sporadically since 1938. Located in Charleston, South Carolina, it was built in 1859. It is thought to have been the last surviving slave auction gallery in South Carolina. It was used briefly before the American Civil War ended slavery in the American South.
The building itself is living history, and inside there are displays attesting to what happened there, as well as providing wider context about American slavery and its lasting legacies. The collections are quite sparse in terms of objects from the slave trade but there are many photographs.
The museum makes use of personal testimonies to bring the history to life through the voices of the enslaved and their descendants. These are presented as audio clips, available for visitors to sit and listen to. The interpretation features many examples of statistics, as well as maps and contemporary images.
All of the above forward the museum's mission to broaden public understanding of Charleston as a slave-trading centre in order to reach out to the local community.