The Banneker-Douglass Museum, named for Benjamin Banneker and Frederick Douglass, is dedicated to preserving Maryland’s African-American heritage and serves as the state’s official repository of African-American material culture.
The museum was dedicated on February 24, 1984. The original museum was housed within the former old Mount Moriah African Methodist Episcopal Church in the heart of historic Annapolis. This building was completed and dedicated in 1874. Among the notable guests present at the dedication was native Marylander and celebrated abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
After the Mount Moriah congregation moved to a new location in Annapolis, the building was left vacant until it was targeted for demolition to make room for the expansion of the Anne Arundel County Courthouse. Through the efforts of many local historians, preservationists, and the Mt. Moriah congregation, the building was saved from destruction and leased by Anne Arundel County to the state of Maryland.
The building was included on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. The building officially opened as the Banneker-Douglass Museum on February 24, 1984. In 2006, the Banneker-Douglass Museum completed a four-story addition (one underground story) that uses the 19th-century brick of the church’s façade as its interior lobby wall. Throughout 2009, the Banneker-Douglass Museum celebrated its 25th anniversary with several special programs and events.
The museum hosts several exhibitions throughout the calendar year. Four examples are:
Deep Roots, Rising Waters details the lives of African-Americans in Maryland from the colonial era through the Civil Rights Era.
Portraits of Courage - The men and women depicted in this exhibition represent African-American achievement throughout Maryland’s state history in the fields of science, law, publishing, politics, and civil rights activism. Each portrait commemorates and celebrates the accomplishments of these individuals, as well as highlighting their lasting contributions to the state of Maryland and to the United States. Exhibit closed in October 2010.
Highlights from the Banneker-Douglass Museum’s Fine Art Collection are put on display in this exhibition featuring artwork by Maryland artists. Many of the artworks included in this exhibition have not been on display in over a decade. Exhibit closed in October 2010.
Family Activity Gallery - Discover Maryland's African-American history through hands-on activities for the entire family. The Banneker-Douglass Museum invites families and youth groups to learn about the many people, places, and events shaping Maryland's African-American history and culture through hands-on activities, games, crafts, and a scavenger hunt. Exhibit closed in November 2010.
This exhibition was a collaborative effort between the Banneker-Douglass Museum Education Department and Growing Girls and Gardens, a program of the Middle Grades Partnership with Roland Park Country School and Garrison Middle School in Baltimore, Maryland.
Visit the Banneker-Douglass Museum's website at www.bdmuseum.com for more information about exhibitions and programs!
To get a behind-the-scenes look at the Banneker-Douglass Museum, check out our blog at BannekerDouglassMuseum.blogspot.com.