The Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia
Carroll Anderson, Sr. founded the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia in 1981. The Museum strives to be the place for information and artifacts from African-American history, especially with regard to Virginians. Because records of the black experience are rare they have begun a Black History Archives Program. The Museum hosts rotating events and exhibitions to further the communities understanding of its history. The Museum is located in the Jackson Ward area of Richmond. Jackson Ward was once considered the center of "black capitalism" and is the location for other historical sites of significance.
Backstory and Context
Carroll Anderson, Sr. founded the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia in 1981. The Museum is currently located in a house on Clay Street in the Jackson Ward area of Richmond, Virginia. The house was built in 1832 by German Adolph Dill. It was purchased in 1922 by the Council of Colored Women and eventually served as the Black branch of the Richmond Public Library. Although this historical home would seem to be the perfect spot for the Black History Museum, a new location is currently under renovation which will allow expansion and better exhibition spaces.
The Museum wants to become a permanent place for records and artifacts that commemorate the lives of Blacks, especially those in Virginia. The Museum holds exhibitions, discussions and celebrations to help further its goal of being a statewide resource on Black history. There has even been traveling exhibitions from the Smithsonian on display at the Museum. One of the Museum's more extensive collections is of African Artifacts and textiles from various ethnic groups throughout Africa. The Museum also has a Black History Archives Program using its collections of documents, art and photographs. Since written records about the Black experience is rare, the program is significant.
Since the Museum is located in Jackson Ward, one of Richmond's oldest black communities, and once a popular place for Black business, there are other sites of significance that can be visited nearby when visiting the Museum. While in the area, you can also visit the Bojangles Monument Statue, dedicated to Bill Robinson, a Black vaudeville legend. Also nearby is the Maggie Walker National Historic Site, dedicated to a female civil rights activist and entrepreneur. The Valentine Museum and Wickham House are also close in downtown Virginia. Currently, an armory in the Jackson Ward area is undergoing renovations to become the new home for the Black History Museum.