Day at the HBCU Museum

This is a brief introductory post.  I will follow up with a longer article when the HBCU Museum has its grand opening later this month.

A New Neighbor

Those of us here in the Brightwood, Takoma and Shepherd Park area are used to seeing new businesses open in our neighborhood.  We now have one of the most unique offerings in quite a while with the recent opening of The HBCU Museum at 7610-A Georgia Avenue NW.

The HBCU Museum is a private collection of historic photographs and memorabilia dedicated to Black History and the rich legacy of our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  Executive Director Terrence Forte and his family designed and funded the museum, the first in a planned series of locations.  Plans include opening a larger space here in D.C. and another museum in Atlanta.

I had watched the renovation of this small retail space with curiosity for months until a friend prompted me on Saturday that it was open.  I decided to walk over to check it out.

HBCU History in Our Midst

hbcu museumThough there is an $8 self-guided tour available, I found great value in taking the guided tour for $10.  My host, Siri, was knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the material.  She readily shared some of the deeper stories behind some of the photographs and kept me on my toes by peppering her talk with Black History trivia questions.  The tour lasted for about an hour.

The collection is a mix of historic and contemporary photographs other other material. Items on hand document the journeys of stalwart institutions such as Howard, Hampton and Spelman Universities, but also several schools which are no longer with us.  Members of our Greek-letter organizations will surely enjoy the wide range of items sharing their history of service and social activity.  They even have a photo of a 1980 Omega Psi Phi step show at the University of Virginia (my alma mater), so institutions other than HBCUs are also represented.

At this stage, any adult with affinity toward Black History, HBCUs or Greek life should check it out. Though an educational component is planned, younger children may not be able to properly appreciate the museum in its current format.

I certainly learned a few things, so my experience was worthwhile.  In fact, when I got home I immediately began researching about Octavius Catto, a black educator, athlete and civil rights activist of mid-nineteenth century who gave his life urging African-Americans to vote.  Mr. Catto was a graduate of our oldest HBCU, Cheyney University.


Address: 7610 A- Georgia Ave NW Washington, DC 20012


Hours of Operation:

Mon-Fri: 11 am to 7 pm

Saturday: 11 am to 8 pm

Sunday: 1 pm to 6 pm

Phone: 202.627.2094





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