Harrison Museum of African American Culture's mission is
"to research, preserve and interpret the achievements of African Americans,
specifically in Southwestern Virginia, and to provide an opportunity for all
citizens to come together in appreciation, enjoyment and greater knowledge of
African American Culture."
Harrison Museum of African American Culture is located on the ground
floor of Harrison School, the first public high school built in 1916
for African-American students. Due to its important and long-lasting
role in the history of the African-American community in the Roanoke
Valley, Harrison School is designated as a Virginia Historic Landmark.
The renovation of Harrison School and the establishment of a museum and
cultural center was a project initiated by the Northwest Neighborhood
Improvement Council, Inc. and Total Action Against Poverty in Roanoke
Valley, Inc. Memorabilia, photographs, and objects relating to the
African-American experience in the Roanoke Valley form an extensive
portion of the Harrison Museum Permanent Collection. Oral stories and
recollections as told by elders highlight the culture and significance
of the valley's black communities. These oral histories enhance the
materials found in the museum's archives. In addition, African and
contemporary art are an integral part of the permanent collection. The
annual Henry Street Heritage Festival is sponsored by Harrison Museum
on the last Saturday in September to recognize and celebrate the rich
culture and heritage of people of African descent.