West Oakland homeowner Jilchristina Vest took it upon herself to honor and bring awareness to members of the Black Panther Party on the first floor of her apartment building. Following her displayed mural honoring the often unsung women of the Black Panther Party this past Black History Month, Vest set out to create a “Mini Museum” exhibit highlighting prominent members and the history behind the political party and social movement, which she plans to open to the public this Juneteenth.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Vest thought of the idea to create a community exhibit after her downstairs tenants moved out, leaving the first floor of her apartment vacant. A visitor recently came by to see the outdoor art mural, but mistakenly thought there was a museum inside, leading to Vest’s “light bulb moment” to actually create an exhibit for Black Panther Party.
“It felt like it needed to be something more than somebody’s apartment. It needed to be something that was more along the lines of the Black Panther Party,” she told the San Francisco Chronicle, adding that she believes “this is the house’s destiny,”
Based in Oakland, California, the birthplace of the Black Panther Party, Vest is surrounded by history in her apartment building, which is located at the intersection where co-founder Huey P. Newton was tragically shot and killed 31 years ago.
Banners, archived photographs, posters and more will be featured at the community event, which will open on Juneteenth. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, large banners will teach visitors about the 16-year history behind the organization as well as the notable figures, free meal programs and ideologies that came from it.
After unveiling the large mural outside her home dedicated to the women of the Black Panther Party in February, Jilchristina Vest knew she wanted to do more.
That idea is finally coming to fruition. https://t.co/bMfXw5eb8D
— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) June 13, 2021
Lisbet Tellefsen, an Oakland-based activist and archivist known for her work with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, will help curate the museum exhibit, titled “The Mini Museum @ The Mural.”
“I hope people get a fuller picture of the Panthers and what they represented and what they were able to accomplish,” she told the San Francisco Chronicle about the unique opportunity.
Those interested in checking out the temporary museum exhibit can purchase their tickets online. According to Vest’s website, children under 12 and adults over 65 can enter free of charge, making it the perfect family trip idea for summer.
Likely due to COVID-19 precaution, only five people will be allowed to enter at one time.