“Lest We Forget” –Museum of Slavery, founded 2002 is home to the private Ragsdale collection of slavery artifacts, Bill of Sale documents and Jim Crow memorabilia owned by J. Justin & Gwen Ragsdale. The exhibit includes authentic slave shackles, chains, whips, branding irons and other items that were used for human bondage and punishment. It also includes numerous objects from the Jim Crow era that negatively depict Blacks.

This compelling collection truly brings history alive and provides a better understanding of the pain and suffering endured by kidnapped Africans brought to America and other parts of the world and held in bondage for hundreds of years.

The LWF extensive collection of slavery artifacts and other items were acquired over the past 45 years by J. Justin Ragsdale. LWF Museum is the only museum in Philadelphia, PA with authentic slavery artifacts that include: shackles, branding irons and other forms of punishing ironware from the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Their collection also includes numerous genuine documents that promoted the buying and selling of enslaved Africans. These rare collectibles bring history to life. Together we provide moving presentations and use items in the collection to demonstrate what it was truly like to “Be a Slave”.

Mr. Ragsdale’s vast experience has made him a renowned expert in authenticating slavery artifacts, documents and the like. Both collectors and sellers constantly call upon him for his knowledge. During presentations he uses several of his extraordinary collectibles to demonstrate and explain what it was truly like to “Be a Slave”.

Gwen uses her skills to deliver compelling presentations that she inter-weaves with historic accounts and actual slave narratives. She coordinates the museum tours, traveling exhibits and researches and writes the contextual descriptive panels displayed throughout the collection.

Together, the Ragsdale’s shed light on a dark and tragic period in American history and pays tribute to the generations of slave ancestors who greatly contributed to the building of America. Lest We Forget Slavery Museum and LWF Traveling Exhibit(s) perfectly document how differently coming to America was for enslaved Africans.

The Lest We Forget Museum of Slavery provides a unique historical perspective into the reality of slavery for Africans brought to America. It is the only museum of its kind in Philadelphia that exhibits authentic slavery artifacts. LWFSM tears the scab of mystery and shame off the subject of SLAVERY and shines light on the enduring spirit of our African American ancestors and the contributions they have made in the building of America.

We also continue to offer our well known Traveling Slavery Exhibit which we present at schools, universities, conferences, places of worship and local events. We are presently accepting requests for 2018 Black History programs. Contact us for more information.

The Lest We Forget Museum of Slavery provides a unique historical perspective into the reality of slavery for Africans brought to America. It is the only museum of its kind in Philadelphia that exhibits authentic slavery artifacts which include hundreds of shackles, chains, coffles, branding irons and other forms of punishing ironware.

Authentic documents show how enslaved Africans were bought and sold as chattel. Numerous “Jim Crow” objects which negatively depicted and ridiculed African Americans, creating a lasting racist attitude, are also on display. Incredible African works of art – sculpture, oil paintings and vintage photographs line the walls of the museum. Descriptive contextual panels are posted throughout to assist visitors in understanding the significance of this period in American history.

We are accepting tours at our new 5501 Germantown Avenue location.

Distance from Independence Visitor Center: 5.88 miles
Distance from Sister Cities Visitor Center: 5.33 miles
Distance from Pennsylvania Convention Center: 5.59 miles


Facility Amenities

  • Comp for Guides

Venue Amenities

  • Guided Tours Available


Hours Sun

  • 12 - 4pm

Hours Tue

  • 10 - 4pm

Hours Wed

  • 10 - 4pm

Hours Thurs

  • 10 - 4pm

Hours Fri

  • 10 - 4pm

Hours Sat

  • 10 - 4pm


Facility Amenities

  • Culture Specific
  • Guided Tour Available

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