The Beginning

mr_and_mrs_dolemanMr. and Mrs. Doleman started the Doleman Black Heritage (DBHM) in 1974 from the suggestion of a student after Marguerite gave a speech to an Afro-American studies class at North Hagerstown High School. From that moment the DBHM was born and has been a fixture to preserving and enhancing the history and culture of blacks in Washington County Maryland and throughout the United States.

The Doleman Black Heritage Museum began as a hobby for Mrs. Marguerite Doleman she collected and displayed artifacts in her home that represented her Afro-American heritage and the rich culture of African-Americans in Washington County. Mrs. Doleman then started showcasing her collection in schools, museums and libraries and eventually opened up her home to visitors and began providing tours.

At present the Doleman collection expands a period from pre-civil war 19th century to early mid and late 20th century. The Doleman collection is comprised of thousands of artifacts ranging from autographs, birth records, over 450 books, deeds of slave sales, dolls, figurines, furniture, magazines, obituaries, paintings, photographs, poetry pros, slave quads and sculptures.

Next Chapter. . .

Fast forward to the spring of 2006; Hagerstown City Councilwoman Alesia Parson-McBean met with members of the Doleman family to discuss the future of the collection. Upon this meeting the Councilwoman presented the composed interest of the Doleman’s to identify a suitable home of the collection to the Mayor and Council. In the fall of 2007 the City of Hagerstown applied for and received a grant of $15,000 from the Maryland Heritage Area Authority for a project to assess the significance and the condition of the Doleman collection and to analyze the feasibility of implementing goals for the future of the collection. The City of Hagerstown will match the grant of $15,000 for the purpose of hiring a professional to undertake the study which is anticipated to be implemented late 2008.

In November 2007 the city hosted a meeting of potential board members and other interested parties to discuss the family’s goals and the future of the Doleman collection. The city invited a museum staff member from the Maryland Historical Trust to facilitate the meeting. Subsequent meetings have born out of modified 501©3 non-profit status for the DBHM. In winter 2008 the Mayor and Council had the DBHM collection added to their agenda list for federal funding through the efforts of their newly hired federal lobbyist, The Ferguson Group. Since being placed on this agenda list there has been favorable support given to the exciting possibilities of this worthwhile effort from the Offices of the U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and Barbra Mikulski and the support for this earnest project continues to grow. Similar interest in this project has come in support from Maryland State Delegates JoAnne C. Benson and John Donahue and Maryland State Senator Don Munson. At the local level Washington County Commissioner Kristin B. Aleshire has pledged his support along with an interest from the Office of Secretary Raymond Skinner of Housing & Urban Development.

Together with federal, state and local governments, and the outpouring support of the community the Doleman Black Heritage Museum is at the horizon.