Can’t get your hands on one of those highly sought-after tickets to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture?
Do not worry! There are many black history museums throughout the DC area that you can visit in the meantime.
We’ve rounded up 14 museums that you can visit when you can’t make it to the NMAAHC:
Prince George African American and Cultural Museum
Where: North Brentwood
Admission: Prices vary from $ 4 to $ 20
This museum celebrates the cultural and artistic contributions of African Americans in Prince George County, Maryland. The museum also organizes tours and workshops for visitors. The museum offers a variety of programs, including an after-school visual arts program and Museum-In-A-Box, which offers classroom black history lessons.
Howard County Center for African American Culture
Admission: $ 4 adults; $ 2 children
Located in Howard County, this museum is “dedicated to the collection, preservation and interpretation of the African American history and culture of Howard County, Maryland and the surrounding area.” . The museum is home to more than 1,000 artifacts and murals, according to their website. The museum has collections from the early 1900s and works by modern African-American artists from the region.
African American Heritage Society
Where: La Plata
Entrance: Donations appreciated
This non-profit organization is dedicated to educating the public about the cultural and historical contributions of African Americans in southern Maryland and the United States. The company purchased the African American Heritage House in 1999, which now serves as a museum and educational center. The space is only open by appointment.
National Museum of the Great Blacks in wax
Admission: $ 12 to $ 15
As the first wax museum in African American history in the United States, this museum houses life-size, lifelike wax statues featuring prominent African-American historical figures including WEB DuBois, Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass and many others. There are over 100 minifigures, a complete ointment ship model, and a room dedicated to Marylanders who made significant contributions to African American history. There are daily tours, as well as extended sightseeing packages that take visitors outside of the museum and into other historic areas.
Reginald F. Lewis Museum
Admission: $ 6 to $ 8
Dedicated to being the best resource for information and inspiration on the lives of African Americans in Maryland, this museum shares the African American experience in the state. The museum focuses on a number of historical topics and issues relevant to today’s black community. “Kin Killin Kin”, the current museum exhibit by artist James Pate, shows urban youth in Klan gear to draw attention to violence within the black community. The museum is named after Baltimore native Reginald F. Lewis, businessman and one of the richest African-American men of the 1980s. The museum aims to inspire people to – in the words of Lewis him – even – “continue, no matter what”.
You can learn more about the contributions of African Americans to the state at the Official Museum of African American Heritage of Maryland. The museum’s permanent collection explores the African-American history of Maryland from 1633 to the present day, featuring historical figures such as Frederick Douglass and Benjamin Banneker. In 2016, there were also a number of temporary exhibits, including one exploring African Americans in lacrosse, another celebrating African American weddings, and a third focusing on quilting.
Oakley Cabin African American Museum and Park
Entrance: Free guided tours, from April to October
The Oakley Cabin African American Museum and Park is more than a museum, it is a 19th century historic site. The cabin, which sits off historic Brookville Road, was “the center of a roadside African-American community from emancipation until the 20th century,” according to their website. The Living Museum sits on 2 acres of land surrounded by wild plants that the locals used at the time for eating or for medicinal purposes. Visitors may even spot hawks, foxes or deer during their visit.
Sandy Spring Slave Museum and African Art Gallery
Where: Sandy Spring
Admission: $ 5 for visitors aged 5 and over
Founded in 1988, this museum focuses on African American heritage. Visitors will learn about the Transatlantic Passage, the Underground Railroad and the Civil Rights Movement. The museum also aims to “bridge the information gap and educate all ethnic groups”. Before visiting, be sure to call ahead. Tours are available by appointment only.
Alexandria Black History Museum
Admission: Suggested admission $ 2
Located in the Old Town of Alexandria, this museum is currently exploring slave life in Alexandria and preservation issues in the state. In addition to the main building, the museum also includes the Watson Reading Room and the nearby African American Heritage Park. The Watson Reading Room contains over 3,000 books, periodicals, theses and videos documenting the history of African Americans. The park, which spans nine acres, also preserves a one-acre 19th-century African-American cemetery.
Virginia Black History Museum and Cultural Center
Admission: $ 6 to $ 10
The Black History Museum and Cultural Center celebrates the accomplishments of prominent black figures in Virginia. Included in their exhibits are photographs, rare books, artifacts and more. The museum aims to become a statewide resource for black history. The museum also collects documents, limited editions, prints, works of art and photographs for its archive program on Black History.
The African American History Heritage Museum
Admission: $ 2 to $ 5
Visit this museum in Lynchburg to immerse yourself in historical exhibits on local African American history and take advantage of workshops, lectures, and programs offered by the museum. The museum’s current exhibit focuses on the history of African-American music. The adjourned Legacy Activity Center engages children and youth in educational activities and programs.
African American Civil War Memorial and Museum
Where: 1925 Vermont Ave. NO
This museum and memorial sheds light on the heroism of African American soldiers during the Civil War through artifacts, photographs, presentations and seminars. The Spirit of Freedom: African American Civil War Memorial and Wall of Honor sits directly across from the museum and tells the story of America’s colored troops. There are 209,145 names of soldiers engraved on the wall. The museum is located in the Grimke Building, named after one of Washington, DC’s most prominent African-American families.
Group tours are available.
Community Museum of Anacostia
Where: 1901 Fort Place SE
The Anacostia Community Museum houses an extensive collection on urban communities, with an emphasis on African American history. The museum also hosts talks with artists, film screenings, community appreciation days and more. You can not do that ? The museum has an online exhibit featuring African American writers.
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
Where: 1411 W St. SE
Entrance: Free for entry; $ 1.50 to reserve a guided tour
Visit the house where Frederick Douglass lived from 1877 until his death in 1895. Visitors can view original artifacts, watch a film about Douglass’ life, or tour the park. A partnership with Google makes it easy to visit the house from home with an interactive 360-degree virtual tour.