Delbert Richardson, the Founder and Curator of the American History Traveling Museum: The Unspoken Truths, was the recent recipient of The Governor’s Arts & Heritage Spotlight Award through the Washington State Arts.
The Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards (GAHA) distinguish and acknowledge arts and heritage organizations and cultural leaders who stood as shining lights for their communities during the pandemic.
Richardson’s work with the Museum has brought a renewed understanding of slavery in America, from its origins through Jim Crow and beyond. And he sheds a strong light on African American inventors, scientists, and cultural innovators throughout history.
Prior to the pandemic, Richardson had contracts to teach The Unspoken Truths curriculum in several Puget Sound schools. But he immediately became unemployed when COVID-19 hit in early 2020.
“Normally my work is done one school at a time,” Richardson said. “COVID closures allowed me to bring The Unspoken Truths online, and I was able to reach multiple schools and classrooms each day resulting in the ability to teach more students than ever before.”
In an unprecedented time when arts and cultural activities struggled under the stress of COVID-19, many artists, tradition bearers, and cultural institutions found innovative and impactful ways to serve their constituents and communities.
“Delbert’s work with his Traveling African American Museum was especially important during these chaotic times. Switching to a virtual platform, he was able to provide his very personal stories and histories on past and present inequities to thousands of more students,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “The light shone by Delbert stretches from our present far into the past – and forward to our future.”