In 1991, the Museum was opened to the public at its present location, 00 Clay Street, in the historic Jackson Ward district of Richmond. The house built in 1832 by German descendant Adolph Dill, incorporates both the Federal and Greek Revival architectural styles. Under the leadership of Maggie L. Walker, the country’s first female and Black bank president, the Council of Colored Women purchased the house in 1922. In 1932 it became the Black branch of the Richmond Public library and was named for Rosa D. Bowser, the first Black female school teacher in Richmond.
The Museum seeks to become a permanent repository for visual, oral and written records and artifacts commemorating the lives and accomplishments of Blacks in Virginia. Our goal is to become a statewide resource on the many facets of Black history through exhibitions, discussions and celebrations. The Museum collects documents, limited editions, prints, art and photographs for use in its Black History Archives Program. This program will be of major significance because of the scarcity of written records on the Black experience.