The Museum of African American History’s education programs are rooted in our historic sites, exhibitions, on-going rich scholarly research, collections of objects, documents, books and art.
Our series of hands-on, interactive activities and programs provide a history learning laboratory in which students and teachers explore, transform, and grapple with their understanding of the past. This supports cultural, historical and visual literacy development and a multi-disciplinary approach for students and educators across grade levels and subject areas.
MAAH education tours and programs are designed to meet the Massachusetts Social Studies Framework and Common Core standards.
Guided Exhibit Tours
Virtual or In-Person
All Ages, In-Person Group Limit of 25
Join one of our Staff Educators as they guide your group through the current exhibition on display. This includes an African Meeting House talk which gives a general overview of the Black Bostonians who lived on Beacon Hill in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Giant Steps in a Small Space
In-person program; Group limit of 25
Program only offered April-October
The Museum’s Abiel Smith School was built in 1835 and is now the oldest 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.
They Spoke Here: Abolitionists' Debates
In-Person Program ; Group limit of 25
Using authentic words from primary source materials, students participating in MAAH's Abolitionists' Debate program form teams and present opposing arguments. Their topics are formed by studying significant issues using historic lectures and meetings held by antislavery societies, debate clubs, and women’s groups who met in the African Meeting House on Beacon Hill before the Civil War. Students learn debating rules while presenting and defending issues and arguments in this format.
Topics currently available include:
- The Politics of Anti-Slavery
- Equal School Rights
Hear ye' Hear ye': Petitions and their Role in Change
Virtual or In-Person; In-Person group limit of 25
MLK Summer Scholars Program
Boston Area High School Students
Each summer since 2007, the Museum has hosted several Boston area high school students for paid internships through John Hancock’s MLK Summer Scholars program. Each summer, our Scholars have had the wonderful opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich history of Boston’s 19th-century black community on Beacon Hill, learn about the inner workings of a small non-profit, and gain valuable professional skills.
Institutes & Professional Development
MAAH is eager and excited to work with educators as often as possible and would be happy to to be a part of professional development events and workshops. We have worked with Boston University, the Gilder Lehrman Institute at Yale University, Bunker HIll Community College, and more 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 demonstration and discussion of our "Giant Steps in a Small Space" re-enactment program.
- A guided visit to our Nantucket campus, including the African Meeting House, the Seneca Boston – Florence Higginbotham House
Students in my class were so moved by the experience of being in the museum and in the Meeting House (as one student said, "Frederick Douglass spoke there?!"). I know that all of us will be thinking about Boston, sociology, and our own everyday lives in a radically new way after yesterday afternoon.
Autumn’s inspiring historical presentation was like taking a walk back in time! It was spellbinding, full of emotion and a true awakening of the conscious.
L’Merchie - On behalf of the AAF Team and the GE participants, I’d just like to thank you for your illuminating and superb lecture today, and the time you took to customize this and put it together for us.