Dedicated on February 24, 1984, the Banneker-Douglass Museum (BDM) is Maryland’s official museum of African American history and culture, especially as this culture relates to the state. Its exhibitions, programs, and projects are intended to increase appreciation and understanding of America’s rich cultural diversity.
The museum’s original building was known as the Mt. Moriah African Methodist Episcopal Church, which was built in 1875, in the center of historic Annapolis. The brick Victorian-Gothic structure served congregations for almost 100 years. An addition was constructed prior to BDM’s opening.
Maryland’s African American Heroes
Named after Maryland residents Benjamin Banneker and Frederick Douglass, prominent African Americans who advocated for the end of slavery, the museum highlights the contributions of African American citizens of Maryland. Others historic figures include Kunta Kinte, the protagonist of writer Alex Haley’s book and television mini-series Roots, James Pennington, a Brooklyn abolitionist, Harriet Tubman, organizer of the Underground Railroad, Matthew Henson, famed Arctic explorer, and Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice.
BDM’s exhibits chronicle and document the lives of black Americans in Maryland during the era of slavery to the modern day. They also display African and African American art. The museum houses a library and archives open to the public. Educational programs, seminars, workshops, and lectures are also offered by a Banneker-Douglass staff that utilizes a community-based approach.
The museum’s permanent exhibit is titled “Deep Roots, Rising Waters”, and it delivers moving lessons illustrating Maryland’s African American history from 1633 to the present. Visitors will learn how African Americans living in the state brought about important changes in the lives of all Americans through these first-person accounts.
Temporary Exhibits Available Summer of 2016
BDM currently features two exciting temporary exhibits that are now on display during the summer of 2016 as described by the museum below.
Lacrosse: A Maryland Sport salutes Maryland’s African American lacrosse pioneers by showcasing their talents and achievements. This exhibit highlights the contributions of both individual and team athletes who are from Maryland or who have represented a Maryland college. Through this exhibition, the museum celebrates lacrosse by honoring those who have made great strides in both local and national history.
Jumping the Broom: Celebrating African American Weddings salutes various facets of love while celebrating fashion, and traditions. Within the exhibition you will be introduced to nine Maryland couples who have been married for a combined total of 469 years!! The featured couples are armed with years of wisdom and give new meaning to the phrase “endless love.”
A B&B Near the Museum
Admission to the Banneker-Douglass Museum is free, and it is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is a little more than half a mile walk from Gibson’s Lodgings, a historic inn located in downtown Annapolis. Call us to reserve your bed and breakfast room at our toll free number 877-330-0057. We’ll be very happy to serve you and your family throughout the year.