The Museum of African American History is dedicated to preserving, conserving and accurately interpreting the contributions of African Americans in New England from the colonial period through the 19th century.



2005 - Past Exhibits

Learning from the Past:
Revisiting the Abiel Smith School (1835-1855)

April 28-July 9, 2005

46 Joy Street, Boston

In 1835, history was made when the Abiel Smith School opened on Beacon Hill as the first building erected in the United States for the sole purpose of educating African American children.

Today the building that was at the center of the quest for access to equal public education still stands on the campus of the Museum of African American History.

This new exhibit chronicles a community’s heroic effort to secure rights for equal education and marks the150th anniversary of the desegregation of Boston Public Schools in 1855 when the school closed.

The exhibit showcases the accomplishments of the students, their teachers, and devoted parents and documents the curriculum and teaching techniques.

January 14-March 31, 2005
Threads of Faith,
Recent Works from the Women of Color Quilters Network
Image: Quilt

The Museum of African American History will present the Boston premiere of selections from an exciting new exhibit titled:

 The exhibition is divided into five thematic categories ranging from Women and Family, and Worship through Arts to African American Experiences. For example, the quilts in this last section, “We Have Come this Far by Faith,” are part historic document, part story quilt, part political statement. They are sewn to preserve, explain and comment on experience unique to the African American community. They demonstrate the power imagery plays in the formation of racial, cultural and ethnic heritage.

The following quilts are featured in the exhibit:

I. Sacred Moments: From Scripture to Cloth (Biblical Narratives)

  • Palm Tree of Deborah, 1995, Adriene Cruz, 36 x 38 inches, Cotton, acrylic paint, beads, shells.
  • Eve's Garden, 2001, Peggie Hartwell, 42x38 1/2 inches, Cotton, rayon, silk, cotton and metallic thread, machine embroidered, machine quilted.
  • The Creation: And God Created the Earth, 2003, Michele David, 55 x 47 inches, Commercial cotton fabrics, silk leaves, tulle, cotton and metallic thread, appliqué and machine quilted.
  • Stirred Up, 2003, Cathleen Richardson Bailey, 21 x 34 inches, Cotton, acrylic paint, glitter, appliqué, stump work, hand embroidery, sequins and beads.

II. Bearing Witness (Women/Family)

  • Spirit Women, 2003, Gwendolyn Aqui, 34 x 31 inches, Cotton, machine appliquéd and quilted.
  • Mother Dear, Our Matriarch, 2003, Sherry Whetstone-McCall, 37 x 54 inches, Cotton, beads, shells, machine appliqué and quilted.

III. Hope: The Anchor of Our Souls (Prayers and Spiritual Meditations)

  • There Are No Mistakes, 1998, Tina Williams Brewer, 53 x 48 inches, Cotton, silk, hand appliqué and quilted.
  • Healing Spirit II, 2003, Ed Johnetta Miller, 51 x 43 inches, Cotton, machine pieced and quilted.

IV. Blessed Are the Piece Makers (Worship Through Arts

  • Make a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord, 2002, Cynthia Lockhart, 42 x 30 inches, Cotton, silk, beads, acrylic paint, machine appliqué and quilted.

V. We Have Come this Far by Faith (African American Experience/Cultural History)

  • Jubilation: Is Freedom Visible?, 2001, L'Merchie Frazier, 80 x 72 inches, Silk, cotton, photo transfer, appliqué, and machine quilted.
  • Crossing Over, 2002, Diane Pryor-Holland, 33 x 27 inches, Commercial cotton fabric and batting, lace, tulle lace, metallic thread, hand-dyed cotton, and hand quilted.
  • Ode to Harriet Powers, 1995, Peggie Hartwell, 42x48, Cotton, appliqué, machine quilted.