The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History – more affectionately called The Wright – has been educating Detroiters and visitors on African American history since 1966. The museum continues to expand, introducing new exhibits, bolstering its technology, and expanding its performance theater.  

The newest permanent exhibit at the museum is “Honoring the Life and Legacy of Judge Damon J. Keith.” The exhibit showcases the new innovative technology the museum is implementing, taking the viewer through the timeline of Judge Keith’s life from childhood to his service as a federal district judge.  


“What [the technology] would allow us to do then is whenever new information comes, let’s say on Judge Keith, we find out something we didn’t know about him, we’re able to go in and reprogram that, add the images, and have a very contemporary view of that subject,” Charles H. Wright Museum President and CEO Neil Barclay said. 

The Wright is also revamping its theater, leaning into performances, including music, poetry and film. “We doubled the size of the stage, we brought in all new state of the art theatrical equipment, surround sound equipment, equipment to be able to do film and to show movies in the theater,” Barclay said. “And more comfortable seats.” The General Motors Theater is now open and is also available for rent.

One Detroit contributor Sarah Zientarski sat down with Barclay to talk about how the museum continues to expand its programming opportunities and operations.

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