As a “first voice” institution, one in which the people of a culture speak for themselves about their culture, history and heritage, the Heritage Center will house exhibitions, accompanied by education and public programs, that tell and creatively interpret the compelling stories of Fredericktonians living and deceased. The experience of African Americans in Frederick tells a representative story we all can learn from, regardless of geography. It will do so through a conceptually rich and layered African American experiential and social justice lens that offers multiple and, in some cases, sharply contrasting viewpoints, all in alignment with its stated purpose: educating the general public and deepening their understanding of how the African American past can shape and enrich the present and the future.
As visitors of all ages and cultural backgrounds from Frederick County, the region, and the nation walk into AARCH Society’s new Heritage Center they enter into a dynamic hub of activity, learning, exchange, sharing, and education. In the Center and through the resources offered by the Society, they participate in programs and activities, undertake research, learn about and experience the cultural objects that tell the rich and compelling stories and history about African Americans in Frederick County through permanent and changing exhibitions, educational and multidisciplinary programs that provide enrichment and transformational experiences.
Making the Vision A Reality: Progress to Date
With the generous long-term, subsidized lease of a facility from the City of Frederick, seed funding from several local foundations, government agencies, the City and County, local corporations, businesses, and from individual donations, the Society launched and completed Phase I of the Heritage Center Project and is poised for Phase II.
- The local firm of Proffitt & Associates Architects is generously providing pro bono support for the re-design and renovation of the facility.
- Consultants from the 106 Group completed an Interpretive Plan that details the why, how, and what engaging narratives will be presented of the often-omitted African American stories as they lead into Phase II of visual representation through exhibition content, development, design and installation.
- Primary and seminal historical research about the history, stories, and contributions of African Americans in Frederick County was completed by historian Michelle D. Wright that will inform new exhibitions and curricula.
- A five-year Strategic Plan and preliminary Program Plan were completed to provide a roadmap for the Society and the Heritage Center’s growth, development, and sustainability.
Centrally located in a prime location in Downtown Frederick that boasts other cultural and tourist attractions: the Delaplaine Arts Center, Sky Stage, and the Frederick Visitor Center, the Heritage Center will add to the vibrancy of Downtown Frederick’s historic district.
In our new permanent home, residents of Frederick County and beyond, national and international visitors, can participate in programs and activities, undertake research, and learn about and experience the cultural objects that tell the history of African Americans in Frederick County.
When Phase II is realized, and the Heritage Center opens, AARCH Society will have a dynamic hub and center for research, displays, programs, community events, and activities.
In the next phases, as the vision for the Heritage Center draws closer to fruition, the Society will be focused on raising funds to realize the following goals:
- Inventory, catalog, and digitize cultural objects, artifacts, and archival materials.
- Renovation of the facility.
- Purchase furnishings and equipment to outfit the space.
- Develop content and plan, design, install and maintain cutting-edge exhibitions and displays.
- Hire essential staff.
- Plan, develop, and implement new education and public programs.
- Broadly market and promote the Society and the Center and programs to local and national visitors and audiences.
- Expand memberships and earned and contributed income.
Maintain the Center’s ongoing operations and essential programs and services.
Support the Vision
We continue to be amazed by the people that have been inspired to support this vision and bring it to life, whether through membership, donations or joining our core of volunteers. Thank you to those that have brought this vision to life and helped us begin the journey…and still we rise!
Your unwavering support has provided us the opportunity to serve, and shape, past and future generations by preserving and sharing this history.