Museum founder and curator David Pilgrim used to buy these items and destroy them, but changed his mind:
He grew up in Mobile, Alabama where he attended segregated schools. One day while shopping, he saw a small "Mammy" figurine for sale.
"I bought it and destroyed it in front of the man who sold it to me," said Pilgrim.
For years after that incident, young David purchased and disposed of racially insulting items wherever he found them. The sheer volume of merchandise forced him, eventually, to change his tactic.
"I found them at flea markets and garage sales as a kid," said Pilgrim. "Items would offend me, and I'd buy them to destroy them. I got older and recognized the historical significance of these items. I stopped destroying them and started collecting them."