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 appointment basis. The contact is Leverne Backstrom 618-795-5970... lbackstrom1947@yahoo.com or kdcah@ymail.com. Donations are appreciated. Thank you.


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. Poster-size photographs capture some 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.


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 618-477 3826.

Group Tours

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

Please call 618-795-5970 for an appointment or e-mail 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. 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: magnets, post cards, posters, Tee shirts,  pens and gift certificates.