Domini Hoskins Museum & Learning Center makes its annual debut for Black History Month

Domini Hoskins Museum & Learning Center makes its annual debut for Black History Month

Opening its doors in the heart of downtown Redwood City, the Domini Hoskins Museum and Learning Center commemorates the first day of Black History Month on Thursday, Feb. 1.

 

Museum founder and curator, Carolyn Hoskins, standing next to her favorite exhibit section, Black Inventors

The museum was founded by Carolyn Hoskins in 1997, inspired by her grandson, Domini Hoskins, and his curiosity about Black leaders in American history. 27 years later, the exhibit has transformed from posters hung at Central Elementary School in Belmont to occupying a 22,000 square foot building at the corner of Jefferson Ave. and Middlefield Road, filled with memorabilia curated by Hoskins herself.

Since then, she has made it her mission to educate the youth on the legacy of Black history, hosting tours for local schools on Mondays.

“When they come into the museum, the educational lesson that they get is amazing because none of this history have they been taught,” Hoskins said. “It’s so important for me as an African American woman to tell my story. I tell the kids and I encourage them to do like Domini and I did, to tell [their] story because it’s not just one race of people that has made America great. Everybody has contributed.”

Wall dedicated to the achievements of 44th U.S. President Barak Obama

Hoskins recounted a story from two years ago that stressed the importance of fostering empathy at a young age. She told a group of elementary school children of the discrimination and hatred she faced from adults in school, and when she was finished with her story, they gathered around and gave her a group hug in an attempt to uplift her in this moment. 

“Kids understand, they have that compassion. They will like you or they dislike you for your character, not because of your skin color or your race or your nationality,” Hoskins said. 

While envisioning the potential impact of the museum, Hoskins recognizes the positive value of education and its impact on social change.

“Every race has something that they’re not proud of. But let’s sit down and talk about it. Then you can say ‘I really hate that this happened. But I want my generation to do better.’ And that way, it’s something that’s in the past, but you won’t repeat it because you know about it,” Hoskins said. “If you don’t know about something, you’re going to continue to do it. But if you know about what it was then you’re gonna say, ‘Now, I don’t think that’s the right thing to do.’” 

While it has been an institution of the Bay Area for many years, the process of curating the museum hasn’t always been easy for the Hoskins family.

Music Display designed and created by Kate Hoskins

“It has been such a struggle. Trying to get into the schools, trying to find places to house the memorabilia. Having to come up and pay all of these high storage places and whatever because I mean, [my family] felt like the journey was gonna be a lot easier than what it has been,” Hoskins said. 

Despite these hardships, the museum recently received a grant of  $2 million from California Senator Josh Becker, as a part of the 2023-24 state budget, to find a permanent museum location to continue educating the Bay Area.

“My grandson did tell me that he was very proud of me that I did not give up, that I continue to do what I’m doing to educate. […] I’m here today, after 30 years, with, now a 22,000 square foot building of African American History, which is amazing,” Hoskins said. 

Above all else, Hoskins hopes that people who visit the museum take away one lesson: “We have to learn the main word [of] just respect, just to learn to respect each other. Very simple.”

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About the Contributor
Haylee Huynh, Co-Editor in Chief
Haylee is a senior and Co-Editor in Chief of the Raven Report. She is responsible for instructing the class, overseeing layout and publishing, and ensuring diverse and authentic reporting on our local community. This is her third year in journalism and her favorite sections to write for are Features and Arts & Entertainment. She enjoys playing lots of sudoku, kayaking, and spending time at the Redwood City Public Library. 

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