Welcome to KDCAH!

Katherine Dunham is probably best known as a legendary dancer who propelled the awareness of the cultures of the African Diaspora via her choreography. Her famous dance technique reflects a fusion of many cultures.

Miss. Dunham was a true renaissance woman. She was an artist, anthropologist, author, activist, manager, movie star, producer, educator, wife, mother and so much more.

The world needs to know about her wonderful life story and there’s no better learning environment than the Museum and Centers for Arts and Humanities she created.

Please take a global journey through this website and find out more about Miss Dunham’s legacy, Museum, Dance Technique, Dance Seminar, Children’s Workshop, and Membership/Giving Opportunities.

Thank you for visiting our website and we invite you back again and again.

Her legacy continues...

Katherine Dunham Museum

The Katherine Dunham Museum houses Miss Dunham’s outstanding collection of symbolic and functional art, including more than 250 African and Caribbean art objects from more than 50 countries.

Tapestries, paintings, sculpture, musical instruments and ceremonial costumes from around the world celebrate the human spirit of the Museum.

The museum displays costumes, photographs, programs, letters, awards and mementos from Miss Dunham’s career as a dancer, choreographer, teacher, writer and dance company owner. Operating Hours Have Changed

Hours are currently on an appointment basis.

Please contact: Leverne Backstrom 618-795-5970 or lbackstrom1947@yahoo.com.

Donations are appreciated


From Illinois: I-64 & I-70, Exit 2A Downtown E. St. Louis, take the first left turn onto Missouri Ave., turn left onto 10th St. (Katherine Dunham Place) to Pennsylvania Ave.

From St. Louis, Missouri: I-55-64-70, Exit on 4th St., Downtown E. St. Louis, turn right on Broadway, turn left onto 10th Street to Pennsylvania Ave.


Located 3 miles from the St. Louis Arch and a short walking distance from the Emerson Park Metrolink stop

Click here for directions.

Collections The Haitian Room A painting in the Haitian Room. Photo by Steve Buhman, SIUC Photocommunications.


The Haitian Room

A painting in the Haitian Room. Photo by Steve Buhman, SIUC Photocommunications.A collection of paintings, furniture pieces, carvings, macramé, thunderstones, and art relics from the Caribbean and African cultures. Several of the furniture pieces that are displayed were designed by Miss Dunham and crafted by Haitian artisans.

The Dynamic Room This room celebrates West African culture through the display of sculpture, masks, statuettes, and tapestry. Mask

Kpelle Mask, Lõ Society, Senufo, Ivory Coast - in the Dynamic Room. Photo by Steve Buhman, SIUC Photocommunications.

The Music Room

Kpelle Mask, Lõ Society, Senufo, Ivory Coast - in the Dynamic Room. Photo by Steve Buhman, SIUC Photocommunications.The rear room on the first floor contains African, Caribbean, and Latin American percussion instruments collected by Miss Dunham during her travels all over the world. Some of these instruments were used by the original Dunham Dance Company during performances.

The Top Floor

This floor provides a history of Miss Dunham’s long and illustrious career as an anthropologist, dancer, choreographer, educator and humanitarian. Mannequins display some of the original costumes and head dresses worn by Miss Dunham, and photographs capture many of her famed dance performances. Also on display are some of the paintings Miss Dunham created to “come down” after her exhilarating shows. The conference room is a legacy to her humanitarian efforts. Scrapbooks, photographs, letters and awards document her important contributions to the struggle for human rights. Finally, Miss Dunham’s office provides a look at a working sanctuary of one of the most important American cultural and historical figures of the 20th century. Exhibitions

Come visit our annual exhibition shows celebrating Black History Month, Women History Month, and more. Special exhibits take place throughout the year, so please check our calendar of events for upcoming exhibitions.

You can now book a Special Katherine Dunham Traveling Exhibition in your city or town. For more information and pricing details, please call 618-795-5970.

Group Tours

  • Tour Times: By appointment
  • Tour Days: By appointment
  • Admission is $10 adult and $8 seniors/kids (12-under -Kids must be chaperoned) minumum $50 per tour

Please call us at 618-618-795-5970 for an appointment or e-mail at lbackstrom1947@yahoo.com.

Please make reservations at least 3-5 days in advance. A personal guide adds to the value of your experience, so come take the global journey with us. 

School tours are always welcome during the week. Students are introduced to aspects of African cultural and history that often go untold. An inspiring and fun experience that kids will remember for a lifetime.

Gift shop

Please stop by our newly renovated Museum Gift Shop where you can purchase unique memorabilia of Miss Dunham and outstanding African art pieces and more. The Gift Shop was developed with a theatrical/box office theme in recognition of a major part of Miss Dunham’s life. The following items are on sale at the gift shop: key chains, book markers, magnets, post cards, posters, Tee shirts, caps, mugs, pens, pencils, tote bags, & gift certificates. Also, on sale are various local Artists eloquent pieces of artwork via consignment agreements. Discounts are available for members.