to do today: visit the African American History Museum | BU today


African American History Museum (MAAH)


Hours: Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


46 Joy St., Boston. Find public transport and road routes here.


Tickets cost $ 10 for adults, $ 8 for students and seniors (62+), free for children 12 and under. Timed tickets are required for entry and can be purchased here.

Why should I go?

Many people know Beacon Hill today as a neighborhood devoted to expensive homes, shops and restaurants. But in the 19th century and before, Beacon Hill was home to a free and vibrant African-American community. Today, visitors to the Museum of African American History can learn about black families who lived and worked in the city from the days of slavery to the abolitionist era. The largest museum in New England dedicated to the preservation of African American history, the MAAH operates two Black Heritage Trails and two historic sites, one on Beacon Hill, the other on Nantucket.

The museum’s location in Beacon Hill consists of two buildings: an African reunion house built in 1806, which is today the oldest black church building in the country, and the Abiel Smith School, built in 1834. The last stop on the Black Heritage Trail, the African Meeting House was built almost entirely by black workers and played a central role in the country’s abolitionist movement. It was there, in 1832, that William Lloyd Garrison founded the New England Anti-Slavery Society. Prior to its construction, black Bostonians could only pray in white churches, where they were often relegated to balconies. Abiel Smith School is the oldest public school in the country for African American children. Today it houses temporary exhibitions, educational programs and a museum shop.

Currently, the MAAH is hosting a special exhibition, Boston Jazz Scene: Telling Local History, which celebrates Boston’s rich history as a center of jazz music from the 1940s.

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