To research, collect, preserve, and interpret for public enrichment the history, art and culture of African Americans with an emphasis on California and the western United States.
Chartered by the State of California in September of 1977, the Museum began formal operations in 1981 housed in temporary quarters at the California Museum of Science and Industry (currently the California Science Center). The current facility in Exposition Park was built with State and private funds for $5 million. Designed by African American architects, Jack Haywood and the late Vince Proby, the Museum facility opened its doors to the public during the Olympic Games of July 1984. CAAM is currently in its 28th anniversary of being housed in its own facility.
The Museum occupies a 44,000 square feet facility that includes 3 full-size exhibition galleries, a theater gallery, a 14,000 square foot glass ceiling Courtyard, a conference center / multi-purpose room, a research library, administrative offices, exhibit design department, registrar accession room and humidity controlled vault for art and artifact storage.