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Welcome to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture

One of the most powerful life lessons that I still carry with me is from a children’s book. It’s the point in The Velveteen Rabbit when the rabbit’s mentor, the old skin horse, tells the toy that it will become real when someone “REALLY loves you.” Most of the toy’s joints will be loose, and he will look shabby by the time that happens, the skin horse explains. But none of those things will matter to those who love him, he assures the rabbit. It was one of the first books I read and is still one of my all-time favorites. The impact of a book can last a lifetime and that’s why I’m so excited for our 2nd Annual African American Children’s Book Fair on May 10. We’re honored that Maryland native Bryan Collier and 2014 winner of the Coretta Scott King Book Award for Illustration will join us.

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Current Exhibitions

Jati Lindsay: Jazz Now

On view March 29, 2014 to June 29, 2014

A photographer with an exquisite eye for light and texture, Lindsay captures magical moments with the leading figures in contemporary jazz, both on stage and off. His silken black-and-white compositions recall classic images of the 1950s and 60s jazz greats; but Lindsay trains his lens on the 21st century vanguard inspired by hip-hop culture.

Defense of the Nation: Maryland in the War of 1812

On view April 2, 2014 to May 4, 2014

This traveling exhibit from the Baltimore National Heritage Area offers the opportunity to experience the crucial Chesapeake Campaign of the War of 1812. Because so much of the War of 1812 happened on Maryland soil and in Chesapeake waters, Marylanders have much to be proud of and commemorate during the upcoming Bicentennial. The War of 1812 unified a fractured nation, secured our independence from Great Britain, and produced two powerful national symbols: the National Anthem and “Star-Spangled Banner” flag.

Upcoming Exhibitions

For Whom It Stands

On view May 17, 2014 to Februrary 28, 2015

While many Americans learned that Betsy Ross was the maker of the nation’s first flag in the 1770s, that portion of flag history continues to be debated due to lack of substantive documentation. In Maryland, we know that during the War of 1812 flag maker Mary Pickersgill sewed the original Star-Spangled Banner in a house on the same city block as the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. Before becoming a national icon, the flag was worked on also by Grace Wisher, a young African American indentured servant in Pickersgill’s household. Wisher’s story is little known. This forthcoming exhibition from the Reginald F. Lewis Museum highlights Wisher’s contribution as it investigates the broader history and representation of the United States flag as an icon of our nation and its people.

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