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.






The Museum of African American History’s education programs provide a history learning laboratory that supports cultural, historical and visual literacy development and a multi-disciplinary approach for students and educators of all cultures.  Our programs engage K-12 students, college students, and educators by sharing the contributions of Boston’s and Nantucket’s early people of African descent and those who found common cause with them in the struggle for liberty, dignity, and justice.   


The Museum’s educational programs are rooted in our historic sites, past and present exhibitions, and rich scholarly research.  Our series of hands-on, interactive activities and programs are designed to engage educators, students, families, and organizations serving youth and meet Massachusetts’s Social Studies Framework and Common Core curriculum standards.


On this page, you will find:



How to Book a School or Group Visit:

All school and group visits to the Museum require a reservation.  Please read the scheduling guidelines below, select the program you are interested in, and then complete the Museum's Online Program Request Form. Then, a member of the Education Department will contact you shortly to confirm the details for your visit.


Guidelines for Scheduling:


  • All education programs require a reservation in advance.  All groups of 20+ participants must make a reservation in advance (for either guided or self-guided visits).
  • Education Programs and guided tours are offered Monday  - Thursday.  Scheduling is subject to educator availability.
  • Group size for education programs and guided tours is generally limited to a maximum of 30 participants.  If your group is larger than 30 people, we are still happy to work with you to figure out the best way to accommodate your group.  Just give us a call for details.
  • Education programs and guided tours last between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on the program and grade level.
  • All on-site programs take place at the Museum's Boston campus, located at 46 Joy Street in Beacon Hill. 
  • HOW TO BOOK: Complete our Online Program Request Form or call Education Associate Samantha Gibson at 617.725.0022 ext. 14


Fees for Guided Tours and Education Programs:

  • All education programs are FREE for Boston Public School groups as well as classes from Bunker Hill Community College. 
  • Non-BPS, college, and adult groups: Education programs and guided tours are charged at a flat rate of $250.00 per program, unless otherwise negotiated.
    • Select programs are priced differently, check individual program descriptions to confirm.

Admission Fees for Self-Guided Tours and Programs:

  • Non-BPS, college, and adult groups self-guided visits with 20+ participants: Reduced admission rate of $2.50 per person.
  • Non-BPS, college, and adult groups self-guided visits with fewer than 20 participants: Regular admission rates apply ($5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors).

Program Descriptions:

NEW! Freedom Rising: Reading, Writing, and Publishing Black Books Exhibit Tour

Groups served: Grades 4 and up

Group size: up to 30 participants

Fee: $250

Join a MAAH educator to explore the special preview exhibition, Black Books. In addition to seeing landmark works of black literature, get a sneak peek at the process of creating the final exhibition.

NEW! Communities of Freedom

Groups served: Grades K-3

Group size: up to 30 participants

Fee: $250

Young learners become community explorers, using our historic buildings, exhibits, and images to identify the many vital components of Boston’s historic black community on Beacon Hill.  Students use historic images and contemporary photographs to compare “then and now” before diving into Beacon Hill’s past to learn about the people, places, and activities that made the 19th century neighborhood a powerful, strong community.


The Abiel Smith School Classroom:  Giant Steps in a Small Space

Grades:  3-7

Group size: up to 30 participants

Fee:  $250

Pre- and post- visit curriculum packet available. This program can also be offered as an in-class outreach program.


The Museum’s Abiel Smith School was built in 1835 as the first building erected in the country for the sole purpose of housing a black public school.  Susan Paul, the daughter of the Reverend Thomas Paul, the first minister at the African Meeting House and Catherine Paul, an educator, was a teacher at the Smith School and an abolitionist.  This interactive workshop provides today’s students with an opportunity to experience what it was like to go to school in 1835-1855 through a live historic interpretation of Susan Paul in the actual Smith School classroom.  Taught by Susan Paul, the participants will learn how students learned to read, spell, cipher, and recite in the 1800s and compare what they learn today in their own classroom experience. 



Dig and Discover:

Black New Englanders of the 18th and 19th Centuries Archaeology Program

Grades:  3-12

Group size: up to 30 participants

Fee:  $250

This program can also be offered as an in-class outreach program.


In a hands-on, interactive workshop, students become Junior Archaeologists as they examine and identify actual artifacts based on the findings of archeological studies at the Museum’s campuses.  Students will be challenged to estimate an object’s time period of the origin and make inferences about its use.  Finally, the young archaeologists will craft a story and learn about the lives of people in the past using their artifacts as evidence.  Each program is adapted by grade level and may include components such as sorting objects by time period, classifying artifacts, or applying archaeological methodology to a simulated dig site.



They Spoke Here: Abolitionists’ Debates

Groups Served: Grades 10-12 and College

Group Size: up to 30 participants

Fee: $250+

Pre-visit lesson plan and curriculum packet provided in advance of scheduled Museum visit.


Using the authentic words from primary source materials, students form teams to debate a significant issue using historic lectures and meetings held by antislavery societies, debate clubs, and women’s groups at the African Meeting House before the Civil War.  Students learn debating rules while presenting and defending issues and arguments in this format. 


Topics currently available:

The Politics of Anti-Slavery


Do you have a different debate topic in mind? Call us to discuss developing a customized debate curriculum packet.


Don't see what you're looking for?

Don't see what you're looking for? Contact us if you have a specific education program or topic in mind and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.  Other requests might include:


  • A historic re-enactor presentation at your school, workplace, or community organization ($600+)
  • A special presentation by a member of the Museum staff on-site or at your school, workplace, or community organization ($250+)
  • Seasonal workshops and/or presentations (i.e. Kwanzaa, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Black History Month, Women's History Month, etc.)


To request a special program, complete the Online Program Request Form, providing as detailed a description as possible about what you have in mind or call us at 617.725.0022 ext. 21 or ext. 14.


Programs for Teachers:

Annual Teacher & Faculty Summer Institute Series

Freedom Rising: Reading, Writing and Publishing Black Books

June-July 2014

The theme of the 2014 Institute Series was Freedom Rising: Reading, Writing, and Publishing Black Books in anticipation for our upcoming exhibit, Black Books II, opening in Fall 2014.  Black Books II will delve deeper into the rich tradition of African American writing and place pioneering works of 18th and 19th century black authors in dialogue with more contemporary works across a wide array of selected genres including poetry, fiction, autobiography, medicine, military experience, sociology, music and more!  Examples of the works featured include David Walker's 1829 Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World together with The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965) and the published work of Phillis Wheatley in dialogue with 20th century poetic works of Sonia Sanchez and Nikki Giovanni.  This rich body of literature will inform a multidisciplinary exploration of the early black community of Boston and their purposeful, powerful, and prophetic use of the written word in their pursuit of freedom and civil rights, as well as artistic and creative expression in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.


The Institute includes:

  • An in-depth introduction to the Museum's historic sites in Boston: the African Meeting House (1806) and the Abiel Smith School (1835)
  • A literary tour of the Black Heritage Trail® through Beacon Hill, including stops at homes, schools, and businesses that were significant to Boston's Abolitionist Movement, the Underground Railroad network, and groundbreaking black authors whose works will be featured in the forthcoming exhibit
  • Presentations by renowned scholars of African American history and literature, including Dr. Cheryl LaRoche and Dr. Lois Brown
  • The infusion of technology as a tool for classroom implementation, i.e. research and mapping
  • Pedagogical workshops designed to help translate this rich historical content into classroom use for your students


Check back in Spring 2015 for Institute Dates and Program Descriptions.





Professional Development Workshops for Teachers

We are eager and excited to work with educators as often as possible and would be happy to be a part of other professional development events and workshops. We have worked with Boston University, Gilder Lehrman, People and Places, and the U.S.S. Constitution Museum to offer professional development experiences for teachers and professors.  Options may include, but are not limited to:

  • A guided tour of our current exhibit
  • A guided introduction to our historic buildings, the African Meeting House and the Abiel Smith School
  • A demonstration and discussion of our "Giant Steps in a Small Space" re-enactment program.
  • A guided tour of the Black Heritage Trail
  • A presentation by a professional historical reenactor
  • A guided visit to our Nantucket campus, including the African Meeting House, the Seneca Boston – Florence Higginbotham House, and the Nantucket Black Heritage Trail
  • Pedagogical Workshop on teaching the “tough stuff” of early American history in the classroom

How to inquire: Call Director of Education and Interpretation L'Merchie Frazier at 617.725.0022 ext. 21 or email to discuss program needs, availability, and fees.

Classroom Resources:

MAAH lesson plans and curriculum guides have been developed in conjunction with current and prior exhibits and are available for educators FREE upon request.


If interested, email Education Associate Samantha Gibson at to receive your free curriculum guide as a PDF.  


The Abiel Smith School Classroom:  Giant Steps in a Small Space

Designed for fifth graders, this curriculum guide is designed to complement the "Giant Steps in a Small Space" education program. The lesson plans and suggested activities included can serve as pre- and post- visit activities or as a stand alone introduction to the history of the Abiel Smith School and its students.


Words of Thunder: William Lloyd Garrison and the Ambassadors of Abolition

Designed for middle and high school students in conjunction with Boston Public Library, this guide will help introduce your students to the abolition movement in Boston. It contains a variety of primary soure documents, images, and other artifacts for students to examine and analyze.  Topics covered include:

  • William Lloyd Garrison and The Liberator
  • The Power of Music and Poetry
  • The Legacy of Boston's Ambassadors of Abolition


Black Entrepreneurs of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

This exhibition guide was developed in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston to accompany the exhibit, Black Entrepreneurs of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth   Centuries.  In it, you'll find short bios of early black businessmen and businesswomen, who seized opportunities to create enterprises and to participate in the commercial life of this developing nation. Use this guide to connect your lessons about economics, civic activism, and history!  Click here to download.

Archaeology of the African Meeting House

Archaeology is the exciting process of discovering and studying the material remains of past societies, connecting us through objects to people in the past.  Archaeological findings have been a vital source of information about the African Meeting House and Boston’s early black communities for a long time.  This educational booklet was developed in partnership with UMass Boston’s Fiske Center for Archaeological Research after an extensive dig which uncovered over 30,000 artifacts! Click here to download.


Contact Us:


Comments, questions, feedback?  Let us know!


L'Merchie Frazier

Director of Education and Interpretation


Phone: 617.725.0022 ext. 21


Samantha Gibson

Education Associate


Phone: 617.725.0022 ext. 14



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