Black history museum opening
Black history museum opening
Heritage society wants to raise awareness of culture
MARIA D. MARTIRANO
Times-News Staff Writer
Represented by La Soleil Noir, the black sun, the African American Heritage Society of Western Maryland wants to raise awareness of black culture in the tri-state area.
A new museum at 183 N. Centre St. will meet that need.
Just a few blocks from downtown, the two-story brick building with a red roof sits on the corner of Centre and Hanover streets.
"We want to make people aware and raise the consciousness of resources we have here," Leontyne Peck, the society's volunteer executive director, said. "We want to make people aware and raise the consciousness of resources we have here. It's another component to enhance the community."
Peck said she's wanted to open a museum since she moved to Cumberland a decade ago. The former site of Allstate Insurance offers the opportunity in an atmosphere that will be complete with a gift shop.
"We wanted it to be intimate," she said.
The society is a nonprofit, membership organization that promotes black historical, educational and cultural activities. The group consists of Peck and a seven-member volunteer board.
"Our goal is to teach children about African-American culture," Peck said.
She said the members also want to expand the education most people receive beyond February's Black History Month. The museum will serve a role Peck sees as necessary to the area.
"We find so many tourists come and want information (about black history)," she said. "We're sorely missing it. It's here, but not pulled together."
The group officially will move into its new headquarters in mid-November and a "gala fund-raiser" in February will kick off the grand opening.
A membership drive is under way, and the group is open to anyone nationwide.
The group wants to partner with churches and the educational community, including Allegany College of Maryland and Frostburg State University, to provide programs. A booklet on African-American history, focusing mostly on Allegany County, will be produced, as well as La Soleil Noir, a newsletter for members.
Eventually, Peck said, she would like to see the museum become part of the Allegany County Museum, which plans to relocate to the William Donald Schaefer Building on Pershing Street.
Peck said most of the museum will be a photo gallery, and she is looking for pictures and artifacts any individual or group wants to donate.
Those who have memorabilia may contact Peck or any commission member.
The group also is seeking volunteers to help with the museum.
For more information, call Peck at (301) 722-3933.
Maria Martirano, Cumberland Times-News
Unfortunately this African-American Gallery and Museum is no longer in operation.
Allegany County, Maryland
African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.
Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008