Abiel Smith School
When you arrive at our Boston Location, the Abiel Smith School is your first stop. Here you can purchase tickets at the front desk, visit exhibitions, and shop at the museum store.
The Abiel Smith School (1835) is the oldest public school in the United States that was built for the sole purpose of educating African American children. Its walls tell the story of abolition and equal education. Located steps away from the Massachusetts State House, the Abiel Smith School currently houses first-class exhibit galleries, education programs, and a museum store filled with books and inspired gifts.
Note: We are currently closed to the public for walk-in visits due to COVID-19. Reserve your tickets for online experiences, talks, and educational events here.
African Meeting House
The African Meeting House (1806) is the oldest extant black church building in the nation. Built by free African American artisans, the Meeting House is the last stop on the Black Heritage Trail®. Once a church, a school, and vital community meeting place, the African Meeting House has been returned to its 1855 appearance through historic restoration and is open to the public for talks and tours, our events and yours.
Winner of NTHP award
Winner of NTHP award
Black Heritage Trail®
Take a walking tour of the largest collection of historic sites in the country relating to the life of a free African American community prior to the Civil War. Discover this important history as you stroll through the north slope of Beacon Hill. Come into the Museum, the last stop on the Trail , and discover the missing pages of America's history.
The Black Heritage Trail® consists of 14 sites and begins at the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial on Beacon Street. Self-guided tours can be conducted at any time, Monday through Sunday. Maps and site brochures can be obtained at the Abiel Smith School.
Directions to the Museum of African American History
From the South:
Take I-93 North, take exit 23 (old exit 25) toward Government Center. Stay in the left lane. Keep left at the fork and toward Financial District/Government Center. Merge onto North St. Turn right onto Congress St. Turn slight left onto New Chardon St. New Chardon St becomes Bowdoin St. Turn slightly right onto Derne St. Turn left onto Hancock St. Turn right onto Mount Vernon St. Take the 1st right onto Joy St. The Museum of African American History is on the left.
From the North:
Take I-93 South, take exit 18 to MA 3N towards Government Center/Central Square. Use the left two lanes to continue on to Cambridge Street. Turn right onto S. Russell Street. Turn left onto Myrtle Street. Turn left onto Joy Street. The Museum is on the left.
From the East
Take 1A South, towards I-93N towards Sumner Tunnel/Government Center. Use the left lane towards Government Center. Keep left follow sign for Government Center. Keep left onto New Chardon Street. New Chardon St becomes Bowdoin St. Turn slightly right onto Derne St. Turn left onto Hancock St. Turn right onto Mount Vernon St. Take the 1st right onto Joy St. The Museum of African American History is on the left.
From the West
Take I-90 East towards Logan Airport. Take exit 131 on the left towards Cambridge. Merge onto Cambridge Street. Turn right on the ramp to Downtown Boston/Storrow Drive. Keep left and merge onto Soldiers Field Road. Continue onto M-28 N/Storrow Drive. Take exit to the right towards Government Center/Mass General. Continue onto Cambridge Street. Turn right onto S. Russell Street. Turn left onto Myrtle Street. Turn left onto Joy Street. The Museum is on the left.
Public Transit & Driving Directions
Take the Red or Green Line to Park Street. Walk up Park toward the State House (gold dome) to Beacon Street. Turn left onto Beacon and right onto Joy Street. The Museum is located at 46 Joy Street.
Take the Blue Line to Bowdoin Street Monday-Friday only 6:30 am to 6:30 pm. Cross Cambridge Street, Turn right and walk one block and turn left on Joy Street.
Checkout MBTA Trip Planner or train and bus schedules, and other transportation options.
Driving From Storrow Drive
Take Government Center exit to Cambridge Street; pass Massachusetts General Hospital [on left]. Go approx. 1/2 mile to Joy Street [on right]. Park and walk up Joy Street to Boston campus.Parking Information:
There are several parking garages in the vicinity of the Museum of African American History. A few recommendations:
Charles River Plaza 209 Cambridge Street
Boston, MA 02114 617-227-3517
*Metered parking is also available on Cambridge Street
Boston Common Garage 0 Charles Street Boston,
MA 02116 617-954-2098
Celebrate your next event at the Museum
The Museum’s historic African Meeting House in Boston is ideal for those planning a wedding, lecture, concert, film screening, or other special event. This pristinely restored building accommodates 180 in comfortable pew seating and is surrounded by courtyards, perfectly suited for outdoor receptions and gatherings.