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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Benjamin Bannecker Storyteller Robert Smith
Benjamin Banneker Storyteller Robert Smith. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Banneker Historical Park & Museum

Benjamin Banneker Historical Park & Museum

Dedicated on June 9, 1998, the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park & Museum in Baltimore was the culmination of almost two decades of research, planning, development, construction, and struggle to re-establish the homestead of Benjamin Banneker, the first renowned African-American man of mathematics and science. Its inauguration was commemorated with a special Banneker U.S. postmark.

Benjamin Banneker first achieved national acclaim for his scientific work in the 1791 survey of the Federal Territory (now Washington, D.C.). At age 22, in the mid-1750s, Banneker created the first all-American-made wood clock of this colonial region. But perhaps he is best known for his six almanacs published between 1792 and 1797. He has been noted also for his exchange of letters with Thomas Jefferson on the equality of men and the "injustice of the State of Slavery."

The Banneker Historical Park & Museum, established on the very land purchased by Robert and Mary Banneker in 1734, serves as an educational institution to preserve the history of Benjamin Banneker, as well as the cultural and natural history of early American times. The Museum offers an array of special events in history, visual and performing arts, science and the environment. exhibition and firm screenings are regular on-going programs of the Museum.

The Museum's Collection is extensive and diverse, from archaeological artifacts of the Bannekers' era (including pieces of lens, lead pencils, and instruments most likely used by Benjamin Banneker himself), to artifacts formerly held by the Ellicott family -- best friends of Banneker (including his work table, candle molds, candlesticks), to books and other publications donated to the Museum, especially on African-American history.

Most of the 142-acre Banneker Park is stream valley woodland, dedicated to the conservation of wildlife habitat and the preservation of the natural history of our land. This historic park features panoramic nature trails, archaeological sites, and living history areas which recreate the colonial farm and life of the Bannekers.

Project documentation includes written text, nine color photographs with descriptions, several museum brochures, and a video entitled "Grand Opening Celebration, June 9, 1998."

Originally submitted by: Elijah E. Cummings, Representative (7th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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