The museum's permanent exhibition, From Victory To Freedom: Afro-American Life in the Fifties, explores African American experiences in America's history from 1945 with the ending of World War II, to 1965 with passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1964. This exhibition chronicles the trends, struggles and social changes that occurred within this crucial period in American history through a variety of photographs and artifacts, but also through life-sized scenes and settings depicting "typical" lifestyles and activities in the fifties. Examples of this typical fifties lifestyle include a barber shop, a beauty salon, and a church interior complete with pews, pulpit and choir stand. These exhibits are made real to the visitor through the accompaniment of recorded speaking voices and gospel music.
Interspersed between these settings are display cases containing clothes, jewelry, consumer products, sports equipment and other artifacts from the fifties. Located in the center of the exhibition is a small theater, which shows the award-winning Music As a Metaphor, a 27-minute video tracing the origins of African American music from its roots in Africa to period music of the fifties. Gospel, jazz, bebop, classical, and protest music are all explored, as are artists such as Paul Robeson, Fats Domino, Dizzy Gillespie and others.