In The Beginning

In 1974, after delivering a speech to an Afro-American studies class at North Hagerstown High School, Marguerite Doleman was inspired to start the Doleman Black History Museum at the suggestion of one of the students. As Marguerite continued to speak at local schools and organizations, she acquired more and more items and a hobby ensued.

Marguerite began to catalog the pieces and organize displays. Her husband, Charles, built shelves to showcase the many artifacts and provided the financial means for his wife to pursue her dream. Not long after she began showcasing her collection in schools, museums and libraries, Marguerite enthusiastically opened up her home to provide personalized tours to visitors. At that very moment, the Doleman Black History Museum was born to honor, highlight, and preserve the rich history and culture of the Black experience throughout Hagerstown, Washington County, Maryland, and the entire nation.

Though not originally conceived of as an ongoing enterprise, the Museum became a full-time passion for the Doleman couple and, for the first twenty-five years, they operated the Museum together. Marguerite often expressed concerns about what would happen to the collection in the event of her passing. She shared her wishes with her son and daughter — that the collection would continue on, in order to preserve the many faces and places of the Black people residing in the Jonathan Street Neighborhood and surrounding areas.

Fast Forward...

  • Capital Construction Strategic Plan Development / Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) Agreement with former DBHM Multicultural Advisor.
  • February 14, New website launch,
  • Preorder release of Metaphorically Speaking
  • Friends of DBHM began organizing the Masquerade Ball with A Cotton Club Twist and the 2024 Juneteenth Celebration-Hagerstown.

  • 120k repayment of loan Agreement with the City of Hagerstown and 205k to hire an architect to plan and design our future home.
  • Notification of 563k Congressionally Direct Spending award through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • Juneteenth Celebration-Hagerstown - collaboration with community committee members
  • Marcia McCall-Saunders is named President of the Friends of Doleman Black Heritage Museum 
  • Capital Campaign Corporate Sponsorship Launch

  • Subrecipient Agreement with the City of Hagerstown 325k Grant Award from Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD); Community Legacy Program
  • Juneteenth Celebration-Hagerstown - a collaboration with community committee members
  • DBHM unveiled the conceptual architectural plan and design of our future home project on a chilly night in October.  

  • THE REOPENING OF THE GALLERY was made possible through ARPA funding from strike 6k, 10k - add Maryland National Endowment for the Arts, and 20k, 18k - Washington County Grant Management: Together We Rise.
  • June 2021 Inaugural Juneteenth Celebration-Hagerstown is a collaboration with community committee members.

  • COVID-19 CLOSING OF GALLERY allowing us to bring the gallery up to COVID standards while closed. Add 6k ARPA funding from the Maryland National Endowment for the Arts. 

  • Continuum of annual fundraisers.
  • 112k Second Loan Agreement with the City of Hagerstown to acquire 465 Pennslyvania Avenue property.
  • June 19, 2019, DBHM goes to Closing on the property at 465 Pennsylvania Avenue. 
  • Signing of Lease Agreement with the Washington County Commissioner for temporary office space at 33-35 W. Washington Street. On December 7, DBHM opens the gallery.
  • 89k Grant from Rev. Ramsey - Fulton County Community Foundation-PA

  • Continuum of annual fundraisers.
  • DBHM Negotiations with Willian Kauffman for 145k for 465 Pennsylvania Avenue property. Mayor Bruchey was instrumental in these proceedings. Agreed upon price: 120k
  • 8k First Loan Agreement with the City of Hagerstown for a downpayment for acquiring 465 Pennsylvania Avenue property.
  • Restructuring of DBHMs Board of Directors
  • Request to Washington County Commissioners for Lease Agreement for temporary office space at 33-35 W. Washington Street.
  • 50k Grant from the estate of Rev. Ramsey of Trinity Luther Church.

2014 - 2016
  • Continuum of annual fundraisers.
  • Testimony to committees in both House and Senate in support of the increase of funding for the Maryland Commission on African-American History and Culture

  • Continuum of annual fundraisers.
  • February - (2006- 2018) Annual trips to Annapolis during Legislative Sessions and the continuum of annual fundraisers Cycles
  • Expiration of issued Bond Bill for lack of matching funds
  • 8.5k DHCD: TAG Funding - Continuum of Mobile Exhibit Presentations within Washington County Public Schools

  • Continuum of annual fundraisers.
  • Continuum and completion of IMLS grant production
  • February - (2006- 2018) Annual trips to Annapolis during Legislative Sessions
  • November - Unveiling Mobile Exhibit Presentations at the annual Masquerade Ball with a Cotton Club Twist. 

  • Continuum of annual fundraisers.
  • Completion of conservation, preservation, index, and inventory of the Doleman family collection
  • February - (2006- 2018) Inagural lobbying trip to Annapolis during Legislative Sessions
  • Production of marketing and media collateral and purchase of office supplies and equipment under the IMLS grant award

  • Continuum of annual fundraisers.
  • February - (2006- 2018) Inaugural trip to Annapolis during Legislative Sessions
  • May - Sub-recipient Agreement with the City of Hagerstown for Congressionally Direct Spending by Senator Barbara Mikulski and Senator Benjamin Cardin for 150k from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for Organizational Capacity Building, Equipment, and Program Activities. They are hiring Consultant Services: Project Director, Historian/Curator, Graphic Design.

  • February - (2006- 2018) Inaugural trip to Annapolis during Legislative Sessions
  • February 2009 - 2013 Inaugural Black History Celebration, a collaborative effort with the Maryland Theatre
  • March - 50k Bond Bill, authorized by Maryland Senator Donald F. Munson. (Required a dollar-for-dollar match.)
  • April - DBHM receives confirmation of Non-profit 501 (c) 3 Designation Letter - Internal Revenue Services (IRS) (33-1213124).
  • Announcement of 150k FY 2009 Congressionally Direct Spending Award through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
  • May - 2009 - 2018 Chocolate Garden Tea & Luncheon
  • 25k TAG funding DHCD
  • 25k Donation from the Arnita A. Stiner Foundation
  • 10k Donation from Mr. Adna Fulton, owner of AC and T.
  • 5k Endowment Susan Stouffer with Washington County Community Foundation of Maryland

  • 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. After being placed on that agenda list, there was favorable support given to the exciting possibilities of the worthwhile effort from the Offices of U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and former U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski. Support for this earnest project continues to grow and together with federal, state and local governments, and the dedicated support from the community the Doleman Black Heritage Museum continues to rise.

  • Fall 2007 -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 matched the grant of $15,000 for the purpose of hiring a professional to undertake the study.
  • Nov. 2007 - 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 were born out of modified 501(c)(3) nonprofit status for the DBHM.

  • Hagerstown City Councilwoman Alesia Parson-McBean met with members of the Doleman family to discuss the future of the collection. After that meeting, she then presented the Doleman family’s interest to identify a suitable home for the collection to the Mayor and Council.