Clio Logo

The museum of African American History is located in Nantucket, Massachusetts. The Nantucket site has very significant meaning to the history of African Americans. The site features two buildings and a walking trail. The African Meeting House and the Boston-Higginbotham House are the two buildings where the history is located. Both buildings were at the center of an African American community on the island in the 19th century. The walking trail is known as the Black Heritage Trail and is divided/split into two sections.


  • This image is the African Meeting House.  It was developed in the 18th century.
  • This picture is the Higginbotham House.  It is the longest standing building in Nantucket.
  • This picture is Phyllis Wheatley's poem book.

     The first attraction at this museum is the African Meeting House.  The house was developed in the early 1820s by the African Baptist Society.  An interesting fact about this building is it is the last standing building that was used in the 19th century.  It was known as a schoolhouse, that housed forty pupils at a time.  The first known teacher was Frederick Baylies, in 1827.  This building was later purchased by a neighbor after World War II.  It was then used for storage, until it was rented out for a bicycle shop.  In the early 1990s, the building was considered dangerous for a collapse.  As of today, the house can be used for ceremonies and special events.
    The next site is the Boston-Higginbotham House.  This house was built in 1774 by Seneca Boston.  The property has been owned by African Americans ever since.  The museum acquired this landmark with the support from the Community Preservation Act and the Tupancy-Harris Foundation in 1986.  The house was saved by the Higginbotham family from destruction once they acquired it.  This building is significant because of the history behind it, being owned by African Americans over two centuries.
     The Black Heritage Trail is the final attraction of the Nantucket site.  It is divided into two sections, New Guinea and Downtown.  Both sections have various historic sites that tourists will be able to view.  The New Guinea section features a colored cemetery, Five Corners, African Meeting House, and the Florence Higginbotham House.  Downtown features 
Whaling Museum and Foulger Museum, Dreamland Theater, Atheneum, Unitarian Church (South Church), Sherburne House, and Anna Gardner's House.  
     The current exhibit on display is Freedom Rising Black Books.  These books are about famous African Americans and the history behind them.  Some of the people featured are Phyllis Wheatley (a famous poet) and Fredrick Douglas.  These books feature previous slaves that have reach freedom.  These books express their thoughts and feelings, while giving a background of their stories.