Juneteenth, America’s newest federal holiday, will soon have a museum commemorating June 19, 1865, the day more than a quarter of a million enslaved people living in Texas learned they were free.

The National Juneteenth Museum , currently under construction, is tentatively planned to open in Fort Worth, Texas, June 19, 2025. The museum will continue America’s tradition of honouring Juneteenth, or Freedom Day, with celebrations across the country that honor Black Americans’ contributions to society and resilience in overcoming a history of enslavement.

The museum’s target opening date comes four years after President Biden signed a law in 2021 making June 19 a federal holiday, and 160 years after news reached Texas that “all persons held as slaves” were free. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation January 1, 1863, at the height of the U.S. Civil War.

The proclamation was largely ignored in Texas until Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston June 19, 1865, with troops to deliver and enforce the federal order. As African Americans reconnected with loved ones separated by slavery, Juneteenth celebrations took hold, beginning in Texas in 1866. Texas recognized Juneteenth as a state holiday in 1980, and additional states followed in the coming years and decades.

Juneteenth celebrations occur across the United States, with family reunions remaining a central feature, along with food, music and poetry. In 2022, celebrations in Atlanta included a parade and free concerts, while Inglewood, California, near Los Angeles, showcased live performances and a children’s art space.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture  in Washington holds a community day to celebrate Juneteenth with history, stories and live jazz. And on June 10, Biden hosted a Juneteenth celebration at the White House featuring performers including Doug E. Fresh, Trombone Shorty, Gladys Knight and Roy Wood Jr. Opal Lee, 97, known as the ‘Grandmother of Juneteenth,’ has said she hopes people of all races will embrace the National Juneteenth Museum as a symbol of freedom. The 4,645-square-meter facility will serve as an epicentre of Juneteenth education, historical preservation and celebration.

“The museum will be a learning experience for all,” said museum board legacy member Dione Sims. “We hope to help the nation and the world find themselves in the Juneteenth story.”