Celebrate Juneteenth and Black History at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Kick off the month of June with a free day at the world’s largest children’s museum as we celebrate Juneteenth and Black History. While Juneteenth, or Jubilee Day, is a federal holiday traditionally celebrated on June 19, the museum will honor the day on June 1, 2024, with free admission and special programming, so families can attend other celebrations later in the month.   

Featured festivities at The Children’s Museum for Juneteenth Jamboree include:  

  • Live performances by musicians  
  • Local artists and opportunities to create art 
  • Juneteenth trivia  
  • Meet and interact with Miss Indy Juneteenth   
  • Dresses worn by past Miss Indy Juneteenth winners will be on display 

What Juneteenth Means 

Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved Black individuals following the Civil War, despite President Abraham Lincoln’s earlier enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation. It is also a chance for families to celebrate accomplishments, justice and freedom, as well as an opportunity to think about the continuing struggle for equity. James Webb, director of Indy Juneteenth, says it’s important to know, “Everyone is included in the celebration,” he says. “The purpose is to educate people about the national holiday and create value in a culture. For younger ones, it might be to learn more about their culture or another culture, and what various traditions mean.”  

Webb hopes our entire community can recognize the dark times in history so we don’t repeat them, and yet celebrate moving forward to brighter, more inclusive times. 

Indy Juneteenth Celebration 

The Indy Juneteenth celebration will take place on June 15, 2024 in Military Park. One quadrant will be reserved for kids with a wide variety of games and activities, including a bounce house, a zip line, pedal car four-wheeler races, lots of treats, foods and desserts. In fact, children will be encouraged to decorate their own cupcakes. There will be a mobile bookstore where grownups can help the kids pick out books that share more information about history and Black culture. Older kids and parents will enjoy the college and career conference.  

Webb says you don’t have to be a person of color — the celebration is intended to include everyone. “Bring everyone, from babies to great grandmas and grandpas,” Webb says. “Learn and have fun together.”  

Indy Juneteenth doesn’t operate only on June 19. Webb wants you to know they are happy to serve as a resource 365 days a year. 


Explaining Juneteenth to Kids 

Some might find it tricky explaining something as painful and complicated as Juneteenth with little ones without scaring them. Elyse Handel, early childhood education manager at The Children’s Museum, provides some suggestions and tips for ways you can have conversations with young children or respond to their questions surrounding Juneteenth.   

  • Ask your child what they know about Juneteenth. Let them lead the conversation, and let them share their questions or curiosities.    
  • Remember: You don’t have to have all the answers or share everything all at once. Let your child know that you want to learn alongside them, and together you can learn about Juneteenth. This will help you have conversations that are developmentally appropriate and at a pace both of you are comfortable with.   
  • Talk about your emotions and feelings surrounding Juneteenth. Lead by example and share how you are feeling. Discuss what you can do when you feel this way.   
  • Remember that it can take young children time and space to process information. It’s OK to have multiple conversations about Juneteenth and do so over a period of time. You do not have to try to fit it all in at once.   
  • Read books. Young children can feel safe discussing their feelings and experiences when they are also present in the story. Read stories about children who live in different communities, look different than your family, celebrate different holidays, or have different traditions than your own family.  

More Resources 

Another way to educate your children about the meaning of Juneteenth and Black History is by using online resources, like the ones below:  

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