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Situated in the historic Germantown of Philadelphia is The Colored Girls Museum. Established in 2015, this safe space for Black girls and women is a memoir museum that honors the history and experiences of Colored girlhood. It serves as not only an exhibition space but also a gathering place to celebrate being a Black woman. While the site might be small by some standards, it overflows with love and culture.

Visitors at the museum.
Visitors exploring. Photo courtesy of

Described by many of the showcased artists as “home”, the Philly-based museum recently faced zoning conflicts. An anonymous complaint was filed with Philly 311, the city’s non-emergency inquiry line.

Philadelphia city code requires a variance for museums to operate in semi-detached buildings. Ultimately, the zoning board voted to grant the variance, keeping the heartfelt archive alive. 

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Entry path to The Colored Girls Museum.
Entry path brickwork. From The Colored Girls Museum on Facebook.

Overcoming Hurdles

The museum, however, encountered not only the zoning issue but also several other obstacles. The house is over a century old and requires an updated heating system.

Founder Vashti DuBois shared a residence with the museum but must relocate due to agreements settled in the zoning variance. They are also looking to fund a new exhibit titled The Intermission.

Originally hoping to have the exhibition ready by March 2024, they’ve had to push it back to May. 

This living testament to the lives of ordinary Colored girls has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for operating costs. DuBois wrote on the fundraiser page that the fight for zoning approval put a strain on the foundation’s financial resources.

DuBois continued, “Stand with us as we reclaim our space, rewrite the narrative, and bloom anew. Together, we can build a future where the ordinary colored girl is heard and celebrated in every corner of Philadelphia and beyond.”

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