Education Programs


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

Grades 5-8

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

Grades 10-12

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

Grades 4-12

Virtual or In-Person; In-Person group limit of 25

A Petition program offers to  teachers and their students a workshop in the exploration of early petitions to exercise the right of citizenship - centering on petitions as an instrument of change. The application of this knowledge is to help inform students on activism and how it relates to petitions that are produced in the 21st century. Through the interactive workshop, students are engaged to develop petitions on issues important to them in designated groups. This workshop can be offered virtually and has been offered in our physical space. Accompanied by pre-packet materials.



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.

Teacher Programming 

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


  • All education programs require a reservation in advance.
  • Education Programs and guided tours are offered Monday - Friday.
  • Scheduling is subject to educator availability.
  • If you have more than 30 people, we are still happy to work with you to figure out the best way to accommodate your group. Contact us for details and fees.
  • All programs are FREE to Boston Public Schools


  • 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 on Beacon Hill.
  • Call for information about Education Programs being developed for our Nantucket campus.

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