Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia

Historical Significance

The Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia is a permanent repository for visual, oral, and written records and artifacts commemorating the lives and accomplishments of Blacks in Virginia. Founded in 1981 by Mr. Carroll W. Anderson, Sr. who desired "to see more historical sites in favor of Black people, such as a museum, a shrine or place of national history," BMH serves as a statewide resource chronicling the many facets of Black history through exhibitions, discussions and celebrations.

In 1991 the Black History Museum opened to the public in Richmond's historic Jackson Ward with a collection of limited edition prints, art, photographs, and documents detailing the Black experience in Virginia.

In 2015 the museum is slated to move to its new location at the site of the former Leigh Street Armory.

Physical Description

Located at 00 Clay Street in an 1832 mansion built by prominent Richmond baker Adolph Dill, the Museum site has a significant history of its own. A private residence through the late 1800s, the location temporarily hosted students of the Richmond Colored Normal School. During World War I, it served as the Black Army and Navy Club. In the 1920s, the house was purchased by the Council of Colored Women, under the direction of Maggie Lena Walker.  During the 1930s and 1940s, 00 Clay Street was the home of the Rosa Dixon Bowser branch of the Richmond Public Library, the city's only branch open to African Americans, named for the first Black female school teacher in Richmond. Open High School also operated at the site before it became the home of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia.

Geographical and Contact Information

Richmond, Virginia