Capital Campaign



The journey began on June 19, 2019, when the Doleman Black Heritage Museum, Inc. closed on acquiring 465 Pennsylvania Avenue, the old Coca-Cola Bottling Company property that had been vacant within the Jonathan Street neighborhood for several decades. While the previous property owner maintained its exterior, the building dramatically needs attention.

DBHM is embarking on a renovation and new construction project to expand and improve the old Coca-Cola bottling facilities at 465 Pennsylvania Avenue. The project will include renovating the existing Coca-Cola bottling building and constructing a new building that will provide exhibit space, a research library, and community meeting rooms. In addition to climate-controlled artifact storage and exhibit management workspace, classrooms, a multimedia studio, executive offices with a board room, and views that overlook the historic Wheaton Park and the Medal of Honor Triangle,

The renovated Coke building will serve as a revenue stream for the organization, featuring lease options for the cafe and gallery spaces that showcase the contributions of African Americans to the local community and beyond, as well as artifacts and memorabilia that help tell the stories of local black history. The new wing will also house the main exhibition hall and a research library that will allow scholars and researchers to explore the rich history and culture of the African-American community in Washington County.

The museum's mission is to preserve and promote the rich history and culture of the African-American community in Washington County, MD. The renovation and new construction project will allow the museum to better fulfill this mission by providing state-of-the-art facilities for exhibits, research, and community events. The metaphor-rich architectural design also marries the history of the enslaved journey in its landscape design.

In addition to providing a space for research and education, the new construction will also include community meeting rooms that can be used for events, workshops, and other gatherings. These spaces will serve as a hub for community engagement and outreach, helping to build bridges between different groups and foster greater understanding and appreciation of the diverse cultures that make up Washington County.

Overall, the Doleman Black Heritage Museum's renovation, new construction, and landscaping project place great emphasis on the storylines of a people that help to preserve and promote the rich history and culture of the African American community in Washington County, MD and provide an essential resource for education, research, and community engagement for years to come.

Donation Levels Are As Follows

  1. $250: Heritage Supporter
  2. $500: Legacy Patron
  3. $1,000: Cultural Ambassador
  4. $2,500: Preservation Champion

Rehabilitation of the Former COCA-COLA Building as a Revenue Stream:

The rehabilitation of the former COCA-COLA Building stands as a pivotal initiative driving the sustainability and growth of the Doleman Black Heritage Museum (DBHM). This ambitious undertaking will transform the COCA-COLA Building into a vibrant entity separate from the DBHM, focusing on multiple revenue-generating lease options. These options are strategically designed to secure operational funds for the new museum while fostering cultural understanding and community empowerment within the Jonathan Street neighborhood.

Lease Options:

  1. Cafe and Small Entertainment Venue: The refurbished COCA-COLA Building will house a vibrant restaurant and entertainment venue as a social interaction and cultural exchange hub. The revenue generated through this space will significantly contribute to the operational costs of the new DBHM.
  2. Bookstore: A dedicated bookstore within the COCA-COLA Building will promote literature centered on Black heritage, generating revenue streams. It will act as a knowledge repository, furthering the community's educational pursuits.
  3. Art Gallery: The COCA-COLA Building will feature an art gallery exhibiting works from local and renowned Black artists. This space will attract patrons and provide a platform for artistic expression, with revenue from art exhibitions and sales supporting the museum's financial needs.
  4. Indoor/Outdoor Event Space: Versatile indoor and outdoor event spaces within the COCA-COLA Building will serve as multifunctional venues, accommodating gatherings, exhibitions, and educational programs. Rentals for events and community functions will provide a consistent revenue stream for the DBHM.

Community Impact:

Cultural Awareness and Inclusion: Revising the COCA-COLA Building as a revenue-generating entity will bridge the cultural divide, offering a platform to celebrate and educate individuals about the rich Black heritage embedded in the Doleman family collection, supporting the new DBHM's mission.

  1. Cultural Awareness and Inclusion: Rehabilitating this historically significant site in the heart of Jonathan Street will bridge the cultural divide, offering a platform to celebrate and educate individuals about the rich Black heritage embedded in the Doleman family collection.
  2. Blight Elimination and Neighborhood Improvement: Transforming the dormant COCA-COLA Building into a vibrant cultural center will eliminate blight, rejuvenate the neighborhood's economic landscape, and create job opportunities within the Jonathan Street community.
  3. Meeting Place for Black Culture: The refurbished COCA-COLA Building will serve as a gathering point for individuals seeking to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Black culture. It will foster dialogue, education, and understanding, supporting the objectives of the new DBHM.

The adaptive reuse of the former COCA-COLA Building as a revenue stream for the Doleman Black Heritage Museum represents a transformative project beyond economic viability. It symbolizes a commitment to cultural enrichment, community revitalization, and inclusivity, propelling Jonathan Street toward a brighter, more interconnected future.


In Fiscal Year 2022, the Doleman Black Heritage Museum (DBHM) made significant progress through strategic partnerships and grant awards. Securing a $325,000 grant through a Sub-recipient agreement with the City of Hagerstown was a notable achievement. This grant, provided by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, included $120,000 to repay a loan agreement with the City of Hagerstown to acquire 465 Pennsylvania Avenue. An additional $205,000 was earmarked for engaging an architect to develop a comprehensive plan and design for the acquired property.

Building on this momentum, our second grant, a substantial $563,000, was secured in Fiscal Year 2023 through a Congressionally Direct Spending award from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This grant is crucial for advancing our preconstruction activities and laying the foundation for the museum's future.

DBHM is collaborating with Maryland Delegate Brook Grossman to secure a $563,000 Bond Bill. This financial support will serve as matching funds, enabling us to complete the preconstruction activities essential for realizing our vision. Our partnership with Delegate Grossman exemplifies our commitment to working closely with community leaders and advocates to ensure the success of this cultural landmark.

The support received through grants and partnerships underscores the collective dedication to preserving and celebrating Black heritage. As we progress with these initiatives, we invite our community, stakeholders, and supporters to join us on this transformative journey. Together, we are building more than a museum – we are constructing a lasting legacy that reflects the richness of our shared history and the vibrant tapestry of the Black experience.

Preconstruction Activities:

Our preconstruction activities involve completing essential tasks to prepare for the project's construction. These activities are critical to ensuring the project is completed within budget, on time, and to the required quality standards. The following is an overview of the activities involved in Phase I(b) Preconstruction:

  1. Architectural Schematic Plan and Design: The first step in Phase I(b) is developing an architectural schematic plan and design. This will provide a conceptual project design that includes floor plans, elevations, and sections. The design will be developed by Travis Price Architects, a firm with expertise in designing and planning commercial and institutional buildings.
  2. The Hiring of Specialized Engineering Consultants: Once the architectural schematic plan and design have been completed, specialized engineering consultants, such as Silman Structural Engineers, will be hired to ensure that the project complies with all building codes, regulations, and standards. This will involve meeting all governmental regulatory prerequisites and requirements for the project's beginning steps.
  3. Project Management and Administrative Support: Management and administrative support will meet compliance documents. This includes overseeing the development of compliance documents, such as permits, insurance, and other regulatory requirements.
  4. Project Scheduling: A detailed timeline outlining the tasks and activities required to complete the project will be developed. This will ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget.
  5. Timeline and Budgeting Oversight: The timeline and budget will be monitored to ensure that the project remains within budget and that any changes are appropriately documented and communicated to all stakeholders.
  6. Site Analysis: Geo-technical, civil engineering, site, and soil analysis will be conducted to identify any potential issues with the site. This will help to identify any challenges that may need to be addressed during the construction phase.
  7. Site Security, Insurance, Permits, Etc.: Site security, insurance, permits, and other essential requirements will be obtained to ensure the project is completed in compliance with all applicable regulations.

Completing the Preconstruction Activities will provide a solid foundation for the successful completion of the project. As the community anxiously anticipates this project becoming a reality for Hagerstown and Washington County, seeing the work begin within the neighborhood of Jonathan Street will reinforce the eminence of the museum's future home and employment opportunities.

OUR $23 MILLION CAPITAL CONSTRUCTION PLAN: Paving the Way for a Monumental Future

As we embark on the journey toward our ambitious $23 million Capital Construction Plan, the Doleman Black Heritage Museum (DBHM) is thrilled to share the initial strides we've taken to turn this vision into reality.

Revamped Website for a Digital Renaissance:

Recognizing the importance of a solid online presence, DBHM has revamped its website, ensuring it aligns with modern standards and is user-friendly for viewers and donors. After 15 years of dedication, we proudly unveil our new look just in time for Black History Month, providing a digital gateway to the richness of Black heritage.

Financial Policies and Procedures Overhaul:

In a commitment to transparency and efficient fund management, DBHM has reconstructed its financial policies and procedures. Each Capital Campaign Donation now has a dedicated account overseen by our Treasurer, Mr. Paul Ward. This account is housed in a separate bank, distinct from our general operations, grants, and fundraising accounts, under the meticulous oversight of our Operational Accounts Specialist, Mr. R. Joe White.

Fundraising Innovation through Metaphorically Speaking:

Our fundraising efforts take on a creative twist by introducing "Metaphorically Speaking," a donation promotional keepsake book. This literary masterpiece delves into the symbolic meanings embedded in every aspect of our building and landscape architectural plan and design. Stay tuned as the first round of presales becomes available on our newly launched website.

Corporate Sponsorship and Product Collaboration:

December 2023 marked the launch of our corporate sponsorship request to significant corporations within Hagerstown and Washington County, Maryland, as well as those cherished businesses within Black households. We've received over 100 requests for corporate sponsorship and product collaboration, fostering valuable partnerships contribute to our ambitious goal.

Revitalized Friends of DBHM:

Meet our dedicated volunteers and fundraisers – the Friends of DBHM. Despite a hiatus due to COVID-19 since 2019, 2024 heralds their triumphant return, as they are ready to unleash their fundraising prowess and support DBHM's monumental vision.

Collaboration Opportunities and MOU Highlights:

DBHM welcomes collaboration from individuals with specific skills for in-kind services. We are delighted to announce our latest Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a former Senior Executive of Federal Contracts. As of February 1, 2024, this esteemed collaborator will guide us in developing a strategic plan for the Capital Campaign and Operational Capacity Building.

Are you interested in donating? It's as simple as clicking the donation link and choosing your payment method.

As we navigate this transformative journey, DBHM invites our community, supporters, and partners to join hands in building a museum and a beacon of heritage, resilience, and cultural pride. Watch this space for updates on our progress and opportunities to be part of this monumental endeavor.

Acknowledgments and Gratitude: A Heartfelt Thank You to Our Supporters:

The Doleman Black Heritage Museum (DBHM) extends profound gratitude to the City of Hagerstown's Staff, Mayor, and Council for their unwavering support at every step of our journey. Their dedication has been instrumental in shaping the success and progress of our organization.

We want to express our sincere appreciation for the City of Hagerstown's invaluable assistance in various crucial aspects of our inception:

  1.  Establishing Nonprofit Status: The City's guidance and support were pivotal in navigating the complexities of establishing our nonprofit status, laying a solid foundation for DBHM's organizational structure.
  2. Assessment of the Doleman Family Collection: Their involvement in assessing the Doleman family collection showcased a commitment to preserving and sharing the rich history embedded in our artifacts.
  3. Negotiating the Purchase Price of Our Future Home: The City's collaborative efforts in negotiating the purchase price of our future home provided us with a solid base to build the vision of the Doleman Black Heritage Museum.
  4. Sub-Recipient Grant Awards and Loan Agreements: We thank the City for securing several sub-recipient grant awards and loan agreements, including those essential for acquiring 465 Pennsylvania Avenue. It is worth noting that these loan agreements have been successfully paid back, reflecting the responsible stewardship of our resources.
  5. Special Thanks to Kathleen Maher: We want to thank Kathleen Maher, the Director of Planning and Code Enforcement. Her steadfast support, guidance, and unwavering commitment have been integral to DBHM's journey, and we are grateful for her presence at every step.

The City of Hagerstown's dedication to our mission has been a cornerstone of our success, and we sincerely appreciate their ongoing partnership. Through collaborative efforts like these, we can continue to preserve and celebrate Black heritage, making a lasting impact on our community and beyond.

We greatly thank the Washington County Commissioners and Washington County Grant Management - Community Organization Funds for their generous financial support. Their commitment to fostering community initiatives has propelled our vision forward.

We would also like to thank David, Matt & Stephanie of DH WEB Inc., for their invaluable support. Dave's dedication to our cause and expertise has played a pivotal role in enhancing our digital presence and amplifying our message to a broader audience.

Additionally, our heartfelt thanks go to Terri Brandt, proprietor of New View Creative, for her unwavering support. Terri's creative contributions and commitment to our mission have enriched our communication strategies, enabling us to connect with our community meaningfully.

The collective efforts of organizations and individuals like Hagerstown Washington County Convention Visitor's Bureau, Washington County Grant Management, Dave Hall, and Terri Brandt empower us to move closer to our goals. Their support reinforces the significance of community collaboration and inspires us to continue our mission of preserving and celebrating Black heritage.