Deep Roots, Rising Waters
This exhibition provides an overview of African American history in Maryland from 1633 through present day. Learn how African Americans throughout Maryland made lasting changes for all Americans.
Find out about Maryland's first African American settler, Mathias De Sousa.
Learn how Benjamin Banneker was able to use his almanac as an anti-slavery protest to Thomas Jefferson.
See the advertisement for the slave auction Kunta Kinte was sold in.
Hear one of Frederick Douglass's speeches against racism and slavery.
View a reward poster for Harriet Tubman while re-enacting a slave escape like that of Lear Green.
Explore Maryland's ties to North Pole expeditions through citizens Matthew Henson and Herbert Frisby.
Listen to stories and music from Carr's Beach and Sparrow's Beach.
Discover how Thurgood Marshall fought to change the education system in the United States.
Peace Be Within These Walls: The Story of the Banneker-Douglass Museum
November 26, 2013- December 20, 2014
Peace Be Within These Walls: The Story of the Banneker-Douglass Museum is an inspirational exhibition, which celebrates the thirty-year anniversary of the Banneker-Douglass Museum. Unlike most museums, the BDM shares a unique bond to a local grassroots movement that united a group of dedicated individuals to fight tirelessly to save Mt. Moriah AME Church from demolition.
This exhibition provides a rare glimpse into the makings of this museum, while showcasing fine art and artifacts from the Banneker-Douglass Museum collection. Deeply rooted in sacrifice, determination, and struggle, Peace Be Within These Walls looks to inspire the next generation of change makers.
Who is Herbert M. Frisby?
February 22, 2014 - August 15, 2014
Who is Herbert M. Frisby? chronicles the life and legacy of a devoted son of Maryland. During his time, Herbert Milton Frisby was renowned as an Arctic researcher, teacher, and collector of Maryland African American history. Inspired by fellow Marylander Matthew Henson, Frisby became the second African American to reach the North Pole. Dr. Frisby was also instrumental in bringing recognition to Henson’s explorations into the North Pole alongside Commodore Peary.
This awe-inspiring exhibition showcases photographs and artifacts from World War II, memorabilia from Frisby’s home museum – affectionately called The Igloo – and treasured artifacts and objects he acquired during his many travels abroad. Who is Herbert M. Frisby? will leave you inspired and ready to leave your mark on the world.
Seeking Liberty: Annapolis, An Imagined Community
March 4, 2008 through June 14, 2009
In 2008, the right to citizen-elected representation in Annapolis will be 300 years old. The city charter granted to Annapolis in 1708 gave the city political reality. With this exhibit we commemorate the current anniversary by celebrating the quest for liberty. “Seeking Liberty” characterizes Annapolis from the beginning. It was a home to religious dissidents, political dissidents during the American Revolution, and many free African Americans before Emancipation who fought very hard for the freedom of those who were enslaved.
Archaeologists from Archaeology in Annapolis, the University of Maryland and Historic Annapolis Foundation have dug over forty sites in Annapolis in twenty-six years. We’ve had a great time and we’ve discovered the city’s treasures. Much of the best archaeology was from the 18th century. We have found material belonging to European colonists and lots of materials that belong to African Americans. We’ve uncovered material from as early as the late 17th century and as recent as the 20th century. There is archaeology almost everywhere in the city and we are going to show it off during the City’s 300th anniversary.
The “Seeking Liberty” exhibit features artifacts from five sites in Historic Annapolis: the Governor Calvert House, Reynolds Tavern, the Jonas Green House, the Brice House and the Maynard-Burgess House. Many of these artifacts have never been on display for the public before this.
The exhibition was funded by a grant from Preserve America. This exhibition features a free cell phone audio tour generously funded by a grant from the Four Rivers Heritage Area.
Click here to view the exhibition website.
Click here to view the exhibition blog.
Click here to listen to guest curator Dr. Mark Leone discuss the exhibition.
New Exhibit Object!
In the spring of 2008, Archaeology in Annapolis conducted a series of digs along Fleet and Cornhill Streets in downtown Annapolis. During this dig, archaeologists Aleithea Williams and Matt Cochrane uncovered an early 18th century axe blade encased in a class mass containing lead shot and nails. The shape of the object and its placement have lead archaeologists to believe this object to be a public symbol of African religious practices. The bundle is on display in the front windows of the Banneker-Douglass Museum.
Click here to read an article on the bundle's discovery from The New York Times.
Forty Blossoms from the Bouquet: Calvert County Maryland
May 19, 2009 through August 23, 2009
Forty Blossoms from the Bouquet presents the stories of forty amazing women from Calvert County, detailing their lives and personal accomplishments through biographies and portraits by Calvert County-based artist Delphine Siggers-Williams. Portrait subjects include Calvert County educators, public servants, medical professionals, performers, and community leaders. Forty Blossoms from the Bouquet has been displayed at several venues in Maryland including Jefferson Patterson Park, Maryland State House, and Annmarie Garden.
Delphine Siggers-Williams is a native of Severn, Maryland. She graduated from Wiley H. Bates High School and Morgan State University where she majored in art. Ms. Williams is the artist behind several portrait-based exhibitions including African American Expo II featuring forty African American men of Calvert County. Ms. Williams recently published the children's book Freckles with all the Speckles.
Journey to the White House QuiltUse your power of observation to create a star without any instructions like Benjamin Banneker.
Learn about the hidden codes and messages on the Underground Railroad with your guide Harriet Tubman
Discover how to navigate on a scavenger hunt like Matthew Henson
Imagine yourself at Carr's Beach in the 1950's with famous performers
Examine the challenges faced by African American students during segregation.
January 17, 2009 through September 26, 2009
Acclaimed fiber artist Dr. Joan M. E. Gaither returns to the Banneker-Douglass Museum with her quilt Journey to the White House. The quilt chronicles the life and political journey of President Barack Obama to the White House. This story quilt was conceptualized and started by Dr. Gaither in June 2008 and was completed at the Banneker-Douglass Museum during a public quilting workshop during the 2009 Inaugural Weekend. The quilt is a stunning mixture of text and images showing the people who influenced and laid the ground work for the election of the first African American president.
Dr. Gaither is a professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Her work has been seen in several museums including the Banneker-Douglass Museum, Maryland Historical Society, Walters Art Museum, and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. Dr. Gaither previously exhibited her work at the Banneker-Douglass Museum in 2007 during the exhibition Trails, Tracks, Tarmac with a showing of three large quilts based on her family, church, and community.
Dr. Gaither's work is featured in the book Trails, Tracks, Tarmac: African American Narrative Quilts from Anne Arundel County, Maryland available for sale at the Banneker-Douglass Museum.
Click here to view the exhibition blog and leave your comments and reflections on this historic election and inauguration.
Click here to read about the Journey to the White House public quilting sessions in The Capital Newspaper.
Click here view a slide show of the Journey to the White House public quilting sessions in The Capital Newspaper.
June 1, 2009 through September 26, 2009
Students from Lothian (MD) Elementary School, led by school art teacher Donna Schmitz, came together to honor the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States to create a mural of the president complete with images of the citizens of the United States, messages of hope, and the signatures of the students, faculty, and staff of Lothian Elementary School.
Colors of Life
September 15, 2009 through December 5, 2009
Explore Colors of Life, the latest exhibition from Washington, DC-based photography organization The Exposure Group African American Photographers Association Inc. This latest exhibition is a new juried members exhibition showcasing the photographic work of the association members which include portrait artists, photojournalists, documentary, and fine art photographers. The exhibition coincides with the release of the Association’s first photography book also entitled Colors of Life.
Hidden Treasures: Celebrating 25 Years of the Banneker-Douglass Museum
July 31, 2009 through December 11, 2009
Come discover and examine a sample of the numerous collections of the Banneker-Douglass Museum. Some of the most significant and inspirational artifacts have been taken off the storage shelves to show the best we have to offer. Learn about the history of the museum and the fight to save the former Mount Moriah AME Church, the eventual home of the Banneker-Douglass Museum. Exhibition highlights include the documentary, From Cause to Reality: The Banneker-Douglass Museum Story featuring many of the key people responsible for the creation of the museum.
The Seneca Village Collaboration
January 16, 2010 through July 1, 2010
The focal point of this exhibit is a commemorative sculpture by Maryland–based artists Leslie King-Hammond and José J. Mapily called Celestial Praise House for Seneca Village. The piece documents a nineteenth century settlement founded by African Americans and later displaced by New York City’s Central Park, the first urban landscaped park in the United States. This artwork was designed as part of the exhibition Legacies: Contemporary Artists Reflect on Slavery at the New York Historical Society in 2006. This exhibition marks the Maryland debut of Celestial Praise House for Seneca Village.
In addition to the Celestial Praise House for Seneca Village piece, several never before seen artifacts from the collections of the Sylvia Gaither Garrison Library and the Banneker-Douglass Museum will be on display to highlight the lives of African Americans in Maryland during Seneca Village’s existence. Such objects will include manumission papers from Anne Arundel County, Allegany County, and Howard County; free-born African American verification papers; a receipt from a slave sale in Anne Arundel County; and first edition copies of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.
Portraits of Courage
January 16, 2010 - September 2010
The men and women depicted in the Portraits of Courage exhibition represent African American achievement throughout Maryland’s state history in the fields of science, law, publishing, politics, and civil rights activism. Each portrait commemorates and celebrates the accomplishments of these individuals as well as highlights their lasting contributions to the state of Maryland and to the United States.
The portraits included in this exhibition come from the Banneker-Douglass Museum’s permanent collection, each tied in a special way to the museum’s history. In 1976, the Banneker-Douglass Museum Foundation commissioned artist Hughie Lee Smith to create portraits of Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman to mark the first year of the Foundation’s existence. The 1984 opening of the museum included the unveiling of the Harriet Tubman, John H. Murphy, and Lillie Carroll Jackson portraits also painted by Smith. The portrait of Herbert Frisby by Oliver Patrick Scott is part of a large collection of materials documenting Frisby’s arctic exploration, some of which may be seen in the museum’s permanent exhibition. Nathaniel Gibbs’ portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is part of the museum’s holding of materials documenting the Civil Rights Movement.
Selections from the Banneker-Douglass Museum Fine Art Collection
January 16, 2010 - September 2010
Highlights from the Banneker-Douglass Museum’s Fine Art Collection are put on display in this exhibition featuring artwork by Maryland artists. Many of the artworks included in this exhibition have not been on display in over a decade.
BDM Family Activity Gallery
Recommended for children ages 8 and up.
Discover Maryland's African American history through hands on activities for the entire family. The Banneker-Douglass Museum invites families and youth groups to learn about the many people, places, and events shaping Maryland's African American history and culture through hands on activities, games, crafts, and a scavenger hunt.
This exhibition is a collaborative effort between the Banneker-Douglass Museum and Growing Girls and Gardens, a program of the Middle Grades Partnership with Roland Park Country School and Garrison Middle School in Baltimore. Each of the activities included in the exhibition were researched and designed by high school senior girls participating in the program. At the conclusion of this exhibition, all of the activities will be available in activity bags for families to check out at the museum's front desk for use in the permanent exhibition, Deep Roots Rising Waters.
Shaping History Through Service: The Walter Mills Story
October 31, 2010 - April 2, 2011
In 1939, Walter S. Mills, an educator at Parole Elementary School in Annapolis, MD, fought for African American teachers in Anne Arundel County to receive the same pay rate as white teachers. The court case was successfully argued by attorney and Maryland native Thurgood Marshall, bringing an end to unequal pay for teachers in Anne Arundel County, and eventually the entire state of Maryland.
Throughout the remainder of his professional career, Mills focused on activities that promoted the welfare and the advancement of others. This exhibition includes rarely seen photos, objects, documents, and oral history footage that tell the life story of Walter S. Mills.
Parole Elementary School: Class of 1954
October 31, 2010 - April 2, 2011
Walter Mills’ legal battle was one of many victories Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP took in their fight for access to equal education for all students. This fight continued for several years eventually leading to the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education which overturned the policy of separate but equal education. This famous court case changed the face of education literally and figuratively through the integration of schools throughout the country.
The pictures exhibited on this floor of the exhibition show the faces of Parole Elementary School in 1954, the year of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Please take time to look through these photos and help the Banneker-Douglass Museum identify the students and teachers. Identification sheets are located on the desk at the top of the stairs. If you have school pictures you would like to share with the museum to be included in the photo books, please contact a museum staff member.
Music to Our Ears: The Sounds of the African American Experience at Carr's and Sparrow's Beaches, Part II
May 31, 2011 - September 4, 2011
Carr's and Sparrow's Beaches, located on the Annapolis Neck Peninsula, served as popular entertainment venues for African Americans throughout the Eastern seaboard from 1929 through 1980. The beaches offered recreation and entertainment options for African Americans during segregation. Sparrow's Beach hosted family and church groups while Carr's Beach provided more lively entertainment including weekly Sunday afternoon concerts featuring the biggest performers of the day. Musicians including Chuck Berry, James Brown, Fats Domino, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Sarah Vaughan, and Stevie Wonder attracted audiences from locations throughout the East Coast every weekend.
The Music to Our Ears project is a collaborative effort between Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Banneker-Douglass Museum, Banneker-Douglass Museum, and Blacks of the Chesapeake Foundation. In response to the overwhelming community call for increased information on Carr’s and Sparrow’s Beaches, the Music to Our Ears project empowered students at Southern Senior High School to serve as researchers for a community-wide documentation project. During the spring 2011 semester, students from Southern Senior High School’s African American History class met with historians and community members, studied news articles and images of the beaches, and visited the area once occupied by Carr’s and Sparrow’s Beaches. Their research led up to oral history interviews with Anne Arundel County community members with personal and professional connections to Carr’s and Sparrow’s Beaches. The student-led interviews and research were used to create the Music to Our Ears exhibition. Images included in the exhibition came from community members, the Thomas Baden Collection at the Banneker-Douglass Museum and the Maryland State Archives Special Collections, and the Afro-American Newspaper Archives and Special Collections.
Thomas R. Baden: Distinctive Depictions of a Local Community
May 31, 2011 - September 4, 2011
Companion exhibit to “Music to Our Ears.” Annapolis native Thomas Baden, also known as “Tommy B,” turned his love and talent for photography into a purpose: capturing the underexposed history and culture of the local African American community. Mr. Baden was a frequent photographer for Carr’s Beach and Sparrow’s Beach; many of the photographs used in the Music to Our Ears exhibition are his handiwork.
This companion exhibit to is a small sampling of the Thomas Baden Collection at the Banneker-Douglass Museum, which consists of over 3,000 photographs. Expect to see and learn more about Tommy B.
Cisco Davis: Selected Works on the American Experience
June 23, 2011 - September 10, 2011
Based in Baltimore, Cisco Davis developed his craft as an artist while serving in the United States Army and has continued his pursuit of a career in art as a commissioned artist. His work shows clear influences from Cal Massey and classical inspiration from Rembrandt. His stated primary goal with art is to educate the public. “I believe art is life,” said Davis. “The simple things in life that we seem to ignore, the artist explores,” he added.
Cisco Davis: Selected Works on the American Experience includes an assortment of 20 works that illustrate milestones in African American history, as well as deep personal studies by the artist. The exhibition includes paintings and mixed-media pieces.
Loring Cornish: Selections from ‘In Each Other’s Shoes’
October 2, 2011 – March 31, 2012, Verda Welcome Hall
What do you get when you mix dilapidated doors, old nails, broken bottles, scraps of metal, shards of glass, and pieces of tile with well-worn shoes, old basketballs, outdated telephones, scraps of metal, and leftover paint? If you are Loring Cornish, this hodgepodge of seemingly unrelated found objects is way to explore commonalities among peoples, histories, and ideas.
From African Americans to Jewish Americans, from the Middle Passage to the Holocaust, and from discrimination, isolation, and suffering to triumph, renewal, and harmony, Cornish’s crafting of assembled found objects invites the viewer into his life, his work, and indeed his world.
Cornish’s work asks you to think about the nature of art, what constitutes waste, and how to express your socio-spiritual self. Take a look inside Cornish’s workspace and hear from the artist himself. Find out how he creates as well as the meaning behind his work.
Art is Believing: The Creative Process of Loring Cornish
October 2, 2011 – March 31, 2012, Herbert Frisby Hall
Learn how and why Cornish uses a mixture of items others might consider “just trash” as materials for thought-provoking mosaics that speak to shared human experiences. This exhibition includes a 10 minute video of the artist discussing his work and an art station for young people who wish to create their own Cornish-inspired works of art.
Flee! Stories of Flight from Maryland in Black and White
November 1, 2011- April 14, 2012, Permanent Exhibition
Nov. 1, 2011- marks the 147th anniversary of the passage of Maryland Constitution Article 24 of 1864, which abolished slavery in the state of Maryland. Designed by the MD State Archives’ (MSA) Study of Legacy of Slavery in Maryland, this traveling exhibition commemorates that momentous occasion and provides the historical context of those who fought to free themselves prior to the constitution. It highlights rare historical documents that give testament to the daily operation of slavery in Maryland. Also on display are documents and objects from that era that are part of the BDM ‘s permanent collection.
Please visit the MSA’s website for the virtual supplement to this exhibit at: www.mdslavery.net
Faces of Ghana: A Photography Exhibit by Jay L. Baker
December 15, 2011 - June 2, 2012, Temporary Gallery
The exhibition focuses on “lifestyle pictures” Baker took while on an excursion to Ghana with the famed Morgan State University Choir in August 2007. Its colorful photographs highlight activity at the marketplace, life by the ocean shores of Ghana and shared experiences between children and adults. They are an expression of the everyday life in Ghana and serve as a means to educate and celebrate the cultural essence of what was formerly known as the British colony of the Gold Coast. Ghana holds the distinction of being the first African country to acquire independence from European rule.
A Baltimore native, Baker presently serves as Chief Photographer in the administration of Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley -- the first African American to hold that position in Maryland history.
Our Common Threads: Stories of the African American Community in Anne Arundel County
June 2, 2012 - August 31, 2012, Welcome and Frisby Halls
Come view documentary story quilts while discovering your connections to local history. This exhibition features Rosenwald Schools, integration in Anne Arundel County, and life at the Anne Arundel County Almshouse. This exhibition was jointly created by Anne Arundel County school students and community members.
My African-American Community: A Collection of Photographs and Stories, 2000-2010
August 18, 2012 - January 26, 2013
“Tracing its roots back to the 17th century, Calvert County is home to one of the oldest African American communities in MD. “From a time when Calvert County's black population grew to approximately 60 percent of the populace, to its present-day residents representing the national average of 12 percent, Calvert's African Americans have attempted to hold on to many of their rich cultural traditions. Although their livelihoods as farmers and watermen have mostly ceased to exist these days, they continue to maintain strong ties to the land and an unwavering commitment to family values and community” (From—Tearman, Margaret. “Listening to the People of the Fields” Bay Weekly: July 24th, 2008).
William “Billy” Poe is a poet, essayist, and documentary photographer. He shares his research through exhibitions, original plays, and film vignettes. He is also the author of, African-Americans of Calvert County.
This exhibition is part of a larger documentary project that includes oral history interviews, which are available at the computer station in the lobby. Poe conducted interviews for a local television program as well. They can be viewed in the BDM Theater.
Race-Rhythm-Reflection: The Art of James Terrell
October 27, 2012 - April 21, 2013
James Stephen Terrell is a Washington, DC-based singer-songwriter, painter, educator, musician, and pastor. Terrell believes that his “art is a reflection of joy, pain and confusion, contemplation and deliverance.” He seeks to inspire his audience to search their souls and thus create their own personal harmony through an awakening of the subconscious.
This exhibition consists of over thirty paintings. The artist uses concentric shapes, bold, layered lines and arresting colors to give voice to the ambiguities of life while searching for spiritual peace.
Making It Work: Emerging African American Women Artists
February 23, 2013 - September 14, 2013
Making It Work brings together three local, emerging women artists who blend non-traditional and traditional artistic mediums to create contemporary works of art. This exhibition seeks to draw attention to the very idea of “making it work”—crafting a creative story through the materials that are uniquely available to you. Whether what is available to you is newspaper, plastic bottles or canvas, this idea of using what you have to “make it work” coincides with the African American historical narrative of resilience and self-reliance.
Featured Artists: Tracy Butler,
Sharron Patrice Johnson, and
Ameshia Stukes. Curated by Asantewa Boakyewa.
Growing Up Afro: Snapshots of Black Childhood from the Afro-American Newspaper
June 2, 2013 - January 30, 2014
Growing Up AFRO is a one-of-a-kind pictorial exhibition that celebrates the120th anniversary of this iconic institution. Now in its 121st year, the AFRO has created a traveling exhibition consisting of thirty photographs that highlight African American life and history through the lens of children. Curated by the Afro-American Newspaper staff in coordination with the Banneker-Douglass Museum, this exhibition is divided into six themes: Growing Up Afro; Worth A Thousand Words; Children of All Seasons; Games We Play; Golden School Days and A Child Shall Lead.
The Banneker- Douglass Museum would like to thank its generous sponsor, Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, for making this exhibition possible.
Last updated: February 28, 2014