Where was the original Black History Museum located?

The original Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia was founded in 1981 and was housed at 00 Clay Street in Jackson Ward, historically known as the Harlem of the South. The house was purchased by The Council of Colored Women in 1922 under the leadership of Maggie L. Walker, the country’s first African American female bank president. In 1932, the house became the African American branch of the Richmond Public Library, and was named after Rosa D. Bowser, the first African American female school teacher in Virginia.

Why is the Black History Museum relocating to the Leigh Street Armory?

The move to the Armory nearly doubled the size of the Black History Museum, allowing more space for exhibitions, interactive installations, and community spaces for visitors to engage.

How was the Armory used before it became the site of the Black History Museum?

The structure was originally built in 1895 and served as the African American Military Battalion of Richmond, which was the only armory for Black militia members in the city. It is the oldest surviving armory in the state of Virginia, and could be the oldest African American armory in the United States. The former armory has since been used as an African American public school, a social hall, and a reception center for African American soldiers during World War II. The armory was renovated and reopened as the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia in 2016.

Where can I find out about touring exhibitions?

Our upcoming and touring exhibitions can be found by clicking here.

You can also subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on events and exhibits.  You can provide your email address on our home page.

How can I find out about employment or volunteer opportunities?

A complete list of available careers, internships, and other opportunities can be found by clicking here.

Find out about Volunteer opportunities by clicking here.

Is parking available at the museum?

Street parking is available adjacent to the museum.