Traveling Panel Exhibition

African-American Children’s Illustrated Literature

Traveling Panel Exhibition

Thanks to a generous grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation in Cleveland, OH, the Richard and Carole Cocks Art Museum at Miami University is pleased to bring the content of the original exhibition to elementary and middle schools, public libraries and other educational institutions. The 5 sets of the Traveling Panel Exhibition will support the introduction of educational resources and programming opportunities surrounding the contextualization of African-American children’s picture books.


For the first time, African-American children’s illustrated literature is the focus of a museum exhibition featuring art produced for book illustrations. The presentation of this genre offers a lens into the cultural, historical, and social makeup of African-American cultural identity, while also shedding light on the long neglected world of African-American authors and illustrators in the pantheon of children’s literature. Telling A People’s Story addresses:

  • The presentation of African-American identity and history in a creative, educational and respectful manner.
  • The raising of greater awareness for the role African-American illustrators and authors play in the development and growth of the field of children’s literature.
  • The topic of social justice throughout African-American history.
  • The need for awareness to the challenges African-American children’s book authors and illustrators face in a field lacking sufficient representation of minorities.
  • The importance of appreciating the culture and history of a people who are deeply rooted in the American story.

Organization of themes

  • Title & Introduction Panel
  • African Traditions and Storytelling
  • The Middle Passage (1650s-1850s)
  • Slavery & the Underground Railroad (1619-1865)
  • Civil War, Emancipation & Reconstruction (1863-1877)
  • Segregation (1860s-1960s)
  • Harlem Renaissance & The Great Migration (1918-1924)
  • The Civil Rights Era (1954-1968) – Panel 1
  • The Civil Rights Era (1954-1968) – Panel 2
  • Modern Cultural Identity (1970s and beyond)
  • Biographical Sketches – Panel 1
  • Biographical Sketches – Panel 2

What’s Included

  • 1 set of 12 single-sided panels, each panel measures 82×33 inches (see images below)
  • Durable vinyl panels with free-standing supports
  • Can be arranged back-to-back, in a square, rectangle, etc., or in 37 linear-foot presentations
  • 12 books featured in the exhibition for onsite visitor reading
  • 7 shipping boxes
    • 6 boxes measuring 36 x 8 x 8 inches (2 panels in each box); each box weighs 22 lbs.
    • 1 box measuring 14 x 14 x 6 inches; (contains books for display); weighs ~10 lbs. 

Venue Time Slots & Fees

  • 2-week participation period: $200; 4-week participation period: $300; or 8-week participation period: $500
    • FREE rental for public K-12 schools
    • Participation fee applies to private K-12 schools, libraries, universities and colleges. 
    • Host venue pays incoming transportation, typically $200.
  • Ohio venues can apply for grant funding from the Ohio Humanities
  • Transportation and insurance costs
    • Exhibition can be transported via personal/institutional vehicle by school/library/university staff or shipped via UPS. UPS shipping fee (typically $100) in addition to participation fee.
    • Venues cover insurance of $2,500 in case of replacing full set. (Per panel replacement is $200).


For more information

  • Please contact Jason E. Shaiman, Curator of Exhibitions, Richard and Carole Cocks Art Museum at

Suggested Programming Opportunities