AARCH Society Walking Tours 

Take a step back in time on an AARCH Society walking tour of South Street in downtown Frederick.  You’ll experience a bit of life in the 1960s when South Street and neighboring streets comprised Frederick’s largest African American neighborhood. They were the cultural and economic heart of the African American community until the Civil Rights era—a rich and thriving community where they lived, worked, shopped, studied, and worshipped. While the neighborhood has changed since then, you will encounter many reminders of its vibrant history.  Tour dates and registration forms are at https://aarchsociety.org/walking-tour/.


Frederick Community remembers AARCH Society’s President David Key, on his Birthday, August 2nd

AARCH Society organized a memorial walk from Lincoln Elementary School to the space in East All Saints Parking Garage that will one day soon house a cultural and education center for the group. (Photo by Michael Paskowsky)

Near the front of the crowd, Deborah Bay and Judy Owens smiled as they thought about what their brother would have said if he had seen how many people had come together to honor his life and remember his kindness, wit and soft-spoken nature. He would have been humbled, Bay said thoughtfully. Touched.

At the end of the day, David Key — the longtime president of Frederick’s African American Resources Cultural and Heritage Society — wanted people to be united, Bay said. For how large he loomed in the city’s community, her brother never sought out the limelight, she noted. But he had been loved by so many.

AARCH Society African American History Walking Tours
West, All Saints Street.

Explore the History of the Southern Section of Frederick City From the African American Perspective!

Join us for our 60-90 minute unique walking tour as AARCH tour guides take you on an informative exploration of local history on All Saints Street and the surrounding area. Learn about the cultural and historical importance of the neighborhood that was the center of the African American community up until the early 1960s.

Registration and payment are required prior to each tour. Each tour is limited to 15 people and involves walking on fairly even ground. Tours will be conducted in light rain or shine!  Register now!

Please contact aarchsociety@gmail.com for any questions.


The Launch of the Carroll Street Creative District

Carroll Street Creative District
Promoting the arts and creative district along Carroll Street.

Help plan for the creation and promotion of the art and creative district along Carroll Street – the Carroll Street Creative District. This event is open to everyone!

The Frederick Book Arts Center will be moving to their new building on Carroll and South Streets to join the stalwarts who have been preserving our industrial buildings. The Book Arts Center can be an anchor for what can become an amazing creative district with spaces that are affordable and offer great foot traffic. Spaces for artists, artisans, makers, vendors, and all kinds of entrepreneurs at downtown’s main entrance could thrive and enhance all of Frederick as a regional and national draw for imagination and originality.

For more information contact Alan Feinberg at feinberg.alan2@gmail.com or (301) 606-6717.


two bust of the enslaved
The reconstructed faces are unveiled during ” Forged in Bone and Iron – Unveilling Faces of the Enslaved” at the Delaphine Art Center on Thursday evening. The facial constructions show two enslaved African-Americans at the Catoctin Furnace who have been dead many years ago.

Historical Society unveils facial reconstructions of African-Americans once enslaved in Thurmont

We don’t know their names. It’s likely we never will. We know other things about them, though. We know that he endured heavy labor for much of his young life and that he was buried with care. We know that she was the mother of at least one little boy and suffered severe pain in her leg that likely worsened as she got older. Now, more than 100 years after their deaths, we also know what they looked like.

The two busts, constructed by artists from StudioEIS in Brooklyn, New York, will be displayed at the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society’s Museum of the Ironworker once it opens. Funds raised during Thursday’s event will be used to help finance renovations underway at the museum. 

It was an emotional evening. It began with a moment of silence for David Key, the longtime president of Frederick’s African American Resources, Cultural and Heritage Society who died suddenly last week. His presence emanated throughout the night, with many speakers paying homage to his passion for recording the history of African-Americans in the county.
For details, go to catoctinfurnace.org.

Left to right: Caylee Winpigler, Grace Stanislaus, Josh Pedersen, Joe Welty, Leigh Adams, Seaven Gordon.

Ausherman Family Foundation Site Visit

Ausherman Family Foundation members conducted a long-delayed site visit to the Heritage Center on June 24th. Originally planned for a March 2020 date, the visit was postponed due to the pandemic. In the meantime, the Foundation supported AARCH with grants to conduct Interpretive Planning and support the engagement of our interim manager, Grace Stanislaus.

Our AFF visitors were Executive Director Leigh Adams, and AFF Trustees– Tammie Workman, Caylee Winpigler, Joe Welty, and Josh Pedersen

In the background, (of the photo to left) is the AARCH Society’s newly installed window graphics, and the Society’s exciting new logo was designed and directed by Protean Gibril, an AARCH Society volunteer, and Mike Drake of MonkeeBox Design. The printing and installation were coordinated by Postern Design, funded by The Community Foundation of Frederick, The Frederick Arts Council, and Visit Frederick City & County.

Many thanks to Proffit and Associates for hosting one of our meetings with the Ausherman Family Foundation. We also thank Federated Charities and Liz Shatto for the use of their facility as well. The AARCH Society appreciates all the amazing support as we start our next phase of planning for the Heritage Center.

Please stop by and view the window treatments and continue to support this very important addition to the Frederick community.

Alexandra McDougle, an Anthropology Graduate Student at American University
Research in the Time of COVID-19: Case Studies from 400 Years of African American History Fellowship_Webinar Recap and Resources Learn more! Alexandra was one of the speakers in this informative webinar, she also supports an assistantship with the AARCH Society and now volunteers with our Education Committee. 

AARCH Reads Presents an Inspirational True Story of Ruby Bridges, read by Alderman Dr. Derek Shackleford

The six-year-old Ruby Bridges and her family have recently moved from Mississippi to New Orleans in search of a better life. The court’s orders Ruby to attend first grade at William Frantz Elementary, an all-white school, Ruby faced angry mobs of parents who refuse to send their children to school with her. The author Robert Coles’ powerful narrative and beautifully illustrated by George Ford, Ruby Bridges courage and faith continues to resonate more than 60 years later. The Story of Ruby Bridges, Watch the video!


Grace Stanislaus

Q&A with Grace Celestina Stanislaus, AARCH Society’s Manager
1. What would you like the Frederick County community to know about you?
My professional career has been fueled by a passion and commitment to supporting mission-driven organizations like the AARCH Society that are focused on preserving, presenting, displaying, and celebrating the contributions of African Americans and people of African descent to history, art, and world culture. And to ensure that the often overlooked and omitted stories they tell reach broad and diverse audiences. I’ve worked with organizations at different ages and stages of development as a curator, Executive Director, CEO, President, Vice President, Board member, Advisory Board member, and management consultant. Some of those include the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Museum for African Art, Romare Bearden Foundation, Museum of the African Diaspora, National Black Arts Festival, Weeksville Heritage Center, and the August Wilson Center. 

And I realize that in this long career trajectory, I continue to be drawn to organizations that are dedicated to telling compelling stories, like the stories AARCH has been telling for over two decades about the presence, contributions, and impact of African Americans in Frederick County. My professional interest and passion in turn have been fueled by my personal life story. I’m a child and a product of the immigrant experience. I am one of seven children born on the small island of Carriacou, a sister island to Grenada. We came to the United States when I was a child, and I was raised by my single mother when my father died unexpectedly. From here, I learned life lessons about hard work, the power of love and sacrifice, and resiliency. These lessons have shaped my personal worldview and defined my professional interests.

2. You have extensive experience in the administration and operations of museums and nonprofit organizations that celebrate the heritage and artistry of African Americans. How will you be able to bring your talents to help Frederick’s AARCH Society transition from an all-volunteer organization to one that is professionally run?
I’ve accumulated knowledge about African American and African art, artists, history, heritage, and culture as well as about the standards, requirements, and best practices of nonprofits over several decades of working for and with nonprofits, primarily arts and culture organizations. I’m especially excited about my work with AARCH during this period as it launches into the next phase of organizational development and growth with an expansive, dynamic, and ambitious vision. I can’t think of a better time, with the projected opening of the new Heritage Center in 2023, to apply my skills, experience, and
expertise accumulated over three decades and to partner with AARCH’s leadership to fulfill its broader mission in the Heritage Center.

I’ve directed and managed several organizations in transition, whether they’re expanding, re-trenching, reorganizing, scaling up or down operationally or programmatically. It’s during periods of transition that I think that my knowledge of all aspects of nonprofit operations is most useful. Those include administration, management, governance, financial management, resource development/fundraising – specifically arts and culture related, program planning, development and assessment, and board and staff development and training. And it will certainly be fulfilling to see how our plans to strengthen AARCH’s organizational foundation bear fruit now and in the future.

3. How would you describe your role as AARCH’s Interim Manager?
My role as Interim Manager is to manage the day-to-day operation of the Society and, in partnership with the leadership, define and develop the operational, administrative, and programmatic framework and infrastructure of the Heritage Center. My assessment is that AARCH’s leadership has made a good strategic decision to bring me on board during the period when the operational and programmatic foundation is being laid for the new
Heritage Center. I think of myself as the bridge from where AARCH is today to where it envisions being in the next few years. We’re pouring and preparing a strong foundation to realize the vision of the late educator and Alderman Mr. William O. Lee Jr. and those dedicated founders and stakeholders who have carried forth his vision. At the same time, we are making sure the foundation is ready and strong when a permanent Executive
Director is hired.

4. What are the challenges ahead for AARCH?
The pandemic has put a spotlight on the vulnerability of many of our nonprofits, whether they have small or large budgets, are staffed or volunteer-run, have modest or no operating reserves or endowments. The challenges facing AARCH now and as it expands into the Heritage Center are the same challenges that have historically faced nonprofits whether they are focused on the visual and performing arts, heritage, history, or culture broadly.
The primary issue is whether they’re established on a strong enough operational and programmatic foundation to withstand unexpected external threats and social calamities and unplanned-for transitions within the organization. One example is when the executive leader departs unexpectedly. And whether they have the human and financial resources, the funding, loyal membership, donor base, and community support to be sustainable–short or long term.

What I’ve learned over the years about nonprofits and about a quality that’s required in nonprofit leaders, especially leaders running under-resourced organizations in the arts and culture sector, is that when the mission is worthy when it’s undergirded by strong core values and principals and the organization is committed to serving its communities, we know how to roll up our sleeves, adapt, pivot and, as the saying goes, learn to “make lemonade out of lemons.” Resiliency is at the heart of it.

There will always be challenges. But we’ve learned to find ways to turn them into opportunities. This is especially true during this period – a period when a bounty of opportunities for mission-driven and worthy organizations like AARCH is on the horizon. Even with the societal challenges, we’re currently facing, this period is marked by extraordinary promise, potential, and opportunities. A new African American Heritage Center is emerging in Frederick County even during and despite a health and social crisis. This is an extraordinary story! Because of the dedication and hard work of its founders, stewards, champions, volunteers, funders, and supporters, AARCH is ready to take advantage of every opportunity. Because of the generosity of the City of Frederick, AARCH is poised and ready to expand its mission and reach and ready to impact the community in a new permanent home.

5. What types of strategies do you expect AARCH will need to undertake to build the capital and support needed to take AARCH to this level?
The Society will continue to provide its core programs and services and to do what it currently does well and is valued for in Frederick County. Its volunteers on the Board of Directors, on working committees, and in the community are the centerpiece and the heart of AARCH’s story. This level of volunteerism is extraordinary and one of the hallmarks of AARCH’s success and longevity. But as plans for the Heritage Center are being conceived,
designed, and developed in anticipation of the opening in 2023, it’s clear that we’ll also need to be focused on defining multipronged and multitiered strategies to build and sustain an expanded base of support from foundations, corporations, government agencies, businesses, and individuals. There’s no question this is made more difficult by the pandemic and other social ills we’re presently facing. But while the goal is ambitious, the cause is worthy. And this will be the moment to apply the lessons learned from making lemonade out of lemons.

AARCH has had and continues to have wonderful and mutually beneficial partnerships. Strategic partnerships based on an aligned mission and shared goals is one among several strategies that will support AARCH’s expanded vision. Of course, the kinds of robust, dynamic, and engaging programs that are being planned for the Center will support a broader and more expansive fundraising effort to secure grants and contributions from local and regional funders for the capital building project and to expand human capacity with the anticipated hire of key staff. So far, the Society has seen increased success in realizing the goal of expanding its base of support from grant funders and from the County, City, and State government. These are some of the pillars that AARCH needs to continue to build and strengthen the organization. Another pillar AARCH needs is to effectively communicate and market the Society’s compelling mission in order to retain loyal supporters and members and attract new supporters. These are a few of the multipronged and strategic approaches that AARCH will need and will implement at this critical juncture.


AARCH READS knows that storybooks have the power to awaken children to both the glories and the challenges life presents. AARCH READS presents video recordings of storybook readings that explore the culture, history, and beauty of being Black — as well as the challenges Black people face every day. AARCH READS targets young children, but the stories we share resonate with listeners of all ages. Our content addresses diverse subject matter and finds relevance for groups in many settings, from children in elementary school classrooms to families seated around the kitchen table.




The AARCH Society of Frederick County is pleased to announce Part I of a 2-part new documentary, Frederick’s March for Justice: The Vision. The short film highlights the 2020 March for Justice in Frederick, a response by the local community to the murder of George Floyd and the deaths and suffering of other people of color at the hands of law enforcement.

A small group of young activists organized Frederick’s first March for Justice; it took place June 5, 2020, eleven days after Mr. Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis. The documentary’s creator Malcolm Brown, an AARCH volunteer and videographer, filmed march organizers and participants, as well as city and county officials for the two-part documentary, which explores how ideas can become a reality and draw a community together in the digital age. Interviews were conducted by AARCH board members Sonja Brown-Jenkins and Barbara Thompson.

Part I – Frederick’s March for Justice: The Vision will air for the first time on Monday, January 18, to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The link is below.

Part I – Frederick’s March for Justice: The Vision


Our Heritage Center opens in 2023. We want you to be a part of making it happen, and we want you there when the doors open. Join Us!

The dream of establishing a permanent home for the African American Resources-Cultural and Heritage Society (AARCH) is nearing fruition. Two decades in the making, it fulfills former Alderman William O. Lee’s vision. The new Heritage Center will be a vibrant place to tell the underrepresented story of Frederick’s African American community.

It’s an important story that needs to be told.

The City of Frederick has offered AARCH a lease for a 3,200 square foot facility at the former Cycle Fit establishment. It is ideally situated near the Frederick Visitor Center, the Delaplaine Arts Center, and the Sky Stage. It adds another prominent destination for heritage tourism.

The Heritage Center will include permanent exhibit space, a multi-purpose area suitable for theater/meeting space, and research and archival facilities. It will showcase local artifacts and feature first-hand accounts of Frederick’s living treasures, local African American residents 90 years old or older. Planning is underway, targeting a grand opening in 2023.

Funding Needs

  • Architectural redesign
  • Exhibit and media planning
  • Exhibit and media production & installation
  • Building renovation
  • Archival storage
  • Technology purchases
  • Furnishings and equipment
  • Operations

More on the Heritage Center

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AARCH Society     PO Box 3903     Frederick, MD 21705