On the to-do list this week: February is Black History Month, a time meant to commemorate the Black struggle and learn about Black history. In the coming weeks, you can attend an event to celebrate Black culture and history, visit a museum that focuses on Black history, and much more. (And, your time spent honoring Black history doesn’t have to end on Feb. 28, either. These museums are open all year round.)
On my personal to-do list: I’m planning to take a day trip to the Harriet Tubman Museum in Cape May.
📆 Need something to do this weekend or next week? We have an events calendar with 20+ things to do in Philly and outside of the city, too. See our full calendar, here.
We’ve collected our best Philly tips all in one place here. Stay healthy, stay safe, and get vaccinated.
Where to celebrate Black History Month in Philly by Amber Burns
How to celebrate Lunar New Year in Philly by Grace Wong
The best knitting and craft stores in Philly by Michelle Reese
Insider’s guide to 19 essential museums just outside Philadelphia by Candis McLean
» Ask us a question through Curious Philly: Inquirer.com/askus
Here is one highlight from our weekly events calendar:
🩰 Philadanco at Esperanza (Dance / in-person / community) Philadanco celebrates its 50th anniversary with a performance of the company’s most popular pieces along with new works. Take in the show in-person or pay-what-you-wish and stream virtually from home. Seating is limited and masks are required regardless of vaccination status. ($15, Feb. 4, 7:30-9:30 p.m., 4261 N. 5th St., esperanzaartscenter.us)
Philadelphia is a city rich in Black history — it was once home to stops on the Underground Railroad, it’s where the country’s first African Methodist Episcopal church was founded, and has been home to Black leaders throughout history. Many of our city’s accolades and accomplishments would not have been possible without the contributions of Black people.
This Black History Month, you can learn about the contributions of Black Philadelphians throughout history while celebrating strides made by Black people today. Here’s our full guide to celebrating Black History Month in the region, and a few of my picks below.
Black History Month Programming at the Free Library of Philadelphia (Community / virtual and in-person) You can stop by your local library to create a paper quilt square featuring quotes by Black authors or Black historical figures. If you’re celebrating from home, you can tune into virtual book clubs, pick up Black history book bundles, or create delicious recipes from the Black diaspora at a virtual cooking class. (Free, Feb. 1-28, freelibrary.org)
‘Meet James Forten’ Performance & Panel (Theater / in-person / history) Watch a first-person performance on the life of James Forten — an abolitionist, sailmaker, and free Black Philadelphian — at the Museum of the American Revolution. Actor Nathan Alford-Tate plays Forten in this 20-minute theater piece about Forten’s formative years. After the performance, Alford-Tate will be joined by Michael Idriss, the Museum of the American Revolution’s African American Interpretive Fellow, for a discussion on the significance of Forten’s story. ($15, Feb. 10, 5:30-7:30 p.m., 101 S. Third St., amrevmuseum.org)
The African American Children’s Book Fair (Community / in-person / kid-friendly) The African American Children’s Book Fair returns for its 30th year with an in-person book sale at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The event bills itself as one of the largest and oldest one-day children’s book fairs in the country and promises a wide array of children’s books by Black authors and about the Black experience. Additional events include games and giveaways. (Feb. 26, 1-4 p.m., 1101 Arch St., theafricanamericanchildrensbookproject.org)
» READ MORE: Where to celebrate Black History Month in Philly
While it may be Black History Month right now, there are museums and cultural landmarks throughout the region that honor Black history all year round. You can visit former stops on the Underground Railroad to learn about the formerly enslaved people who made their way to freedom, visit the home of the first Black person to sing with New York’s Metropolitan Opera, hear about Club Harlem (the premium jazz club for Black performers) at a South Jersey museum, and much more.
All of these spots, and many more, are included in our guide to museums and cultural landmarks that showcase Black history. Black history is Philadelphia history and it’s no surprise that in one of America’s most historic cities, Black history is all around and as much a part of the framework of this city as the crack in the Liberty Bell.
The Fashion District of Philadelphia is currently hosting Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition, a traveling exhibition that will remain in Philly until March 18. While it’s certainly not the same as actually visiting Italy to see the Sistine Chapel, the exhibition offers an opportunity to experience something different as travel during the COVID-19 pandemic remains challenging. The immersive exhibitions promises billboard-size reproductions of the artworks that make up the Sistine Chapel, along with an audio guide for an additional cost.
🤓 A fun fact
Thanks for reading! We’ll be back next week with more things to do this month. But in the meantime, here’s something to know:
Are you obsessed with Wordle? I certainly am. My colleagues Tom Avril and Francois Barrilleaux shared some ways to boost your odds of guessing the right word when playing the game.