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Overcoming Hateful Things: Stories from the Jim Crow Museum


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The Jim Crow Museum's new traveling exhibit, Overcoming Hateful Things: Stories from the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Imagery, explores the Jim Crow system, the African American experience through the Jim Crow era, and the legacies of this system in modern society. Hateful Things will cultivate understanding and empathy for victims of racial intolerance throughout history to the modern day and allow visitors to bear witness to the need to guard against the dehumanizing characterizations of others, so they do not become further culturally entrenched.  

From Aunt Jemima advertisements to children’s games, American popular culture is replete with racist images. The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Imagery features an extensive collection of racist objects that trace the history of the caricaturing and stereotyping of African Americans. The Museum, located at Ferris State University, is offering Overcoming Hateful Things, a traveling exhibition designed to further the Museum's mission of stimulating the scholarly examination of historical and contemporary expressions of racism, as well as promoting racial understanding and healing. 

Who Was Jim Crow?

In the early 1830s Thomas Dartmouth Rice created the antebellum character Jim Crow. "Daddy Rice" was a white actor who performed, in blackface, a song-and-dance whose exaggerations popularized racially demeaning minstrel shows. The name "Jim Crow" came to denote segregation in the 19th century when Southern and Border states passed "Jim Crow laws," legitimizing a racial caste system.

The Exhibition

The traveling exhibition contains over 150 items of material culture from the late 19th century to the present, embodying the terrible effects of the Jim Crow legacy. In addition to items from popular and commercial culture, the traveling exhibit contains images of violence against African Americans as well as the Civil Rights activists struggling for racial equality. Signage for each primary source places it in its proper cultural or historical context. The disturbing objects have been lifted from their original purposes to now serve as powerful reminders of America's racist past—and as teaching tools. But more importantly, Hateful Things acquaints viewers with African American pushback, through activism, achievement, and living with dignity in their daily lives. 

Exhibition Contacts

Traveling Exhibit Coordinator 
Michelle Watson, Culture Trove 
[email protected]


Traveling Exhibition - Hateful Things

Exhibition Specifications:

  • Requires a minimum medium security level
  • 2,400 - 5,000 sq ft exhibit (requiring approximately 3,000 sq ft) 
  • 151 Objects 
  • 17 Exhibit areas
  • 35 cases
  • 9 Reader Rails/Fixtures  
  • 7 Walls 
  • 1 couch 
  • 2 tables with attached tablets 
  • 8 multimedia interactives (technician available upon request) 
  • Secondary Educators Guide 
  • Visitor’s Guide 
  • Museum Staff Training and Guide 
  • Press Release Template 
  • Digital install drawings  
  • 19 Exhibit Crates
  • 14 Exhibit Frames
  • 1 Carpet Roll
  • Forklift required; indoor storage required 
  • The recommended minimum height and width for loading bays and door- ways, as well as ceiling height, i.e:
    • 12 ft x 12 ft for loading bay doorway, with a lift platform 8ft. X 8 ft.;
    • 98 inches high x 50 inches wide minimum for doorways;
    • ceiling height of 106 inches for gallery
    • minimum recommended weight bearing load for elevators (4000 lbs)
  • Artifacts will be packed in a crate and labeled according to area. Major components frames come partly pre-assembled for minimum onsite assembly required. Similar items are packed together, for example, base plates packed together, graphic panels together, vitrines and cases together. 

Exhibition period:

  • Minimum 3-month rental plus in-bound shipping
  • Maximum 1 year

Host institution fees

  • Accepting bookings internationally for 2024-2027
  • $50,000 for a minimum 3-month rental plus in-bound shipping (not including installation technicians if requested), $10,000 for each additional month. 
  • In-bound shipping costs. The sponsoring institution is responsible for coordinating with the exhibit coordinator and paying the cost for transporting the exhibition to the host facility.
  • Insurance covering the exhibition during shipping to and from the sponsoring institution as well as during the exhibition period is required. A complete inventory list with total value of the exhibition will be sent with the Traveling Exhibition Service Contract. A certificate of insurance is required to be on file with the museum prior to shipping.