Lewis Latimer House Museum Reopens In Juneteenth Celebration

The Lewis Latimer House Museum has officially reopened. The New York-based museum marked its new era with a Juneteenth celebration.

The museum honors the life and legacy of Lewis Latimer, a Black inventor, writer, and artist whose contributions helped develop the lightbulb and telephone. In 1995, New York City designated his residence, located in Queens, as a landmark. After years of restoring the home to Latimer’s original layout and work studio, it has officially reopened to the public.

Its grand opening on June 15 featured a drum circle, art therapy, and a live ready by “Fresh Prince” actress and author Karyn Parsons. The museum’s executive director spoke to guests about how the new upgrades will provide an innovative experience for future generations.

“We’re grateful that New Yorkers came together to honor African American freedom, innovation, and resilience just days before Juneteenth,” shared Executive Director Ran Yan. “The museum’s newest offerings reflect Latimer’s commitment to collaboration and how embracing diversity can propel society forward.”

Born in 1848, Latimer lived in the house until he died in 1928. Latimer had no formal education when he began his career. He worked alongside American inventors such as Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison to evolve society despite this. His own creations included an evaporative air conditioner and the railroad car bathroom. Today, he remains celebrated as a self-taught patent expert and pioneering Black inventor.

The cultural institution will now offer a new exhibit with five galleries that engage visitors in Latimer’s life and journey. The immersive space will also extend its summer hours for all the voyages into the esteemed inventor’s world.

“The museum has been completely reimagined and reinvented,” incoming Board Chair Hugh Price explained. “In the spirit of Lewis Latimer’s penchant for technology and thirst for discovery, LLHM has been transformed into a
dynamic, highly interactive, tech-forward experience which community members of all ages can enjoy.”

As Juneteenth celebrates the plight and freedom of the Black community, the Lewis Latimer House museum offers a unique learning experience for its namesake and other Black creators.

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