The Costen Cultural Exhibit is a unique collection of rare photographs, documents, ephemera, memorabilia, fine art and collectibles which serves as a vehicle to educate, encourage, enlighten and inspire people of the African American imprint on this country. It documents the history, literature, politics and culture and represents the diverse experience from across the country focusing on regional, ethnic and generational differences. It attempts to explain the history that has been hidden from the world and it honors the contributions of African Americans to society. It is a vibrant showcase of culture, history and education. It invokes emotions ranging from pride and passion to enthusiasm and excitement. It inspires and motivates while leaving a lasting and enlightening impact on adults and children alike. It wants young people to know about their ancestors’ strengths, perseverance, dedication and struggles to open the gates a little wider for those who would come after them.
The Costen Cultural Exhibit was created by commercial hot air balloon pilot, photojournalist, collector and historian, Bill Costen. He began collecting items many years ago for his personal inspiration but as the collection grew, he realized its potential to help educate society, especially children about the people that helped shape America. Costen now shares his collection with the public by way of on-going exhibitions in which viewers are able to get a comprehensive glimpse of their heritage. Having a passion for telling stories through his photography, Costen is very committed to sharing the history of America through thought-provoking exhibitions showing the African American’s role in that story.
The Costen Cultural Exhibit has been custom designed to travel to any location. Topics address the interests of all age groups and include: slavery, civil rights, politics, government, invention, science, athletics, sports, aviation, military, music, dance, theater, literary arts, religion, radio, film, television and other forms of popular entertainment. The exhibition has been displayed at fundraising events, schools, colleges, universities, museums, historical societies, churches, community organizations and corporations.
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