The mission of the Backstreet Cultural Museum is to preserve and perpetuate the unique cultural traditions of New Orleans' African American society through collections, exhibitions and publications, public programs, and performances. These cultural traditions include Mardi Gras Indians, Skull and Bone gangs, Baby Dolls, jazz funerals, social aid and pleasure clubs, and other related activities, rituals and celebrations.


The vision of the Backstreet Cultural Museum is to foster the appreciation of New Orleans’ African American processional traditions as important to American history and contemporary visual culture. The Backstreet Cultural Museum is a gathering place of memory, celebration, and communion that uses art and culture to enrich and sustain its community.  


Our institutional goals: The Backstreet Cultural Museum will be an accredited institution. The objects and artifacts in its possession will be presented and preserved in stable, climate-controlled facilities. The Backstreet Cultural Museum will have sufficient human and financial resources to carry out its mission. The museum will produce public programs that attract high visibility and substantial audiences. In addition, the museum will support and host important community cultural celebrations and rituals.


The Backstreet Cultural Museum’s core values:


  • Appreciation for the role of the parading arts in strengthening traditions of mutual support and solidarity

  • Recognition of culture as important to community development

  • Commitment to using the traditional arts and culture to enhance economic prosperity in the African American community

  • Excellence in presenting museum exhibitions and programs

  • Affirmation of the highest ethical standards in museum operations