As of February 27, 2017, the museum is permanently closed to the public. The university is digitizing the museum’s holdings for research and can be viewed on our Collections page.
Two Black Faces: The Power of a Sales Pitch
February 1-April15, 2009
A series of advertisements in mainstream
magazines in the first half of the 20th century were used to tell
the stories of the long-standing sales icons, Rastus and Aunt Jemima, who have
been promoting pancake mix and Cream of Wheat cereal respectively for more than
100 years. Though fictitious, each was based on a real person, and both
characters appealed to consumers who would have been happy to have live-in
black servants. In the case of Aunt Jemima, her image was updated a number of
times. This was not without controversy, and black and white audiences have
identified her as personifying a number of stereotypes: the joyous slave, the
loyal servant and the natural-born cook.