Constructed in 1875, the Banneker-Douglass Museum is a former church in the town of Annapolis. The church was built in a gothic style and features two and a half stories. In 1896, it has been remodelled. For about hundred years it served as the meeting hall for the First African Methodist Episcopal Church and is now a museum used for African-American history and culture. This only happened in 1984 when a two and a half story addition has been added to the former church.
The building is registered in the National Register of Historic Places since 1973 and the goals is to preserve America’s African heritage. The museum got its name by Benjamin Banneker and Frederick Douglass. Benjamin was a well-known African author, surveyor and farmer. Douglass was an American-African social reformer and statesman who escaped from slavery in Maryland.
Exhibits include black life in Maryland, American-African art pieces, artefacts, photographs, decorative and applied arts, architectural elements and insights into the lives of black people fighting for equality, like Douglass and Banneker. Lectures, workshops and educational programs are offered each year. The museum features archives and a library and the items are used as the state’s official repository of African-American material culture.
Self-guided tours are possible and for a small fee, groups can receive guided tours. A tour lasts between one and two hours and must be scheduled in advance. Post-tour educational activities are possible for groups of 30 students but have to be scheduled in advance too. Small events are hosted within the museum such as author’s public readings or book signing sessions. Donations and volunteering are possible. Find out more here.
- The museum is located at Franklin street, 84 in Annapolis.
- Opening times are: From Tuesday to Saturday from 10am until 4pm. Sundays and Mondays it is closed.
- Limited two-hour free parking is located close to the museum. Free Saturday parking at Calvert Garage or shuttle from the Naval Academy Stadium parking lot.