This museum's goal is to document the role that African-Americans played in the settlement of the western part of the country. Many of the exhibits illustrate the journey from the West Coast of Africa to California and the West Coast of the United States. Included in the collection are paintings from African-American artists Edward M. Bannister, Grafton Tyler Brown, and Robert Scott Duncanson. There are also contemporary paintings in the collection from the Harlem Renaissance period and more recent times. The collection includes pieces from Haiti, Brazil, and Jamaica, as well as Africa and the United States. Historical artifacts are also included in the museum's collection and these items portray the culture and heritage of African Americans in California and the United States. The museum's most popular objects include photographs from the estate of golfer Bill Spiller, theatre programs from performances by Duke Ellington, Katherine Dunham, Janet Collins, and Dorothy Dandridge, artifacts from the estate of Ella Fitzgerald, and a collection of items from Los Angeles' first African-American mayor, Tom Bradley. The museum frequently has special events including lectures and film showings, as well as an active docent training program. There are also special educational events planned throughout the year for younger museum visitors.