Boston Black: A City Connects opened in 2004 and was co-created with individuals of diverse Black communities who shared their stories and experiences to shape the exhibit about race, ethnicity, identity, and community. Meant to promote the tremendous diversity within Boston’s Black community, share the history of Black people that is central to the history of Boston, and stimulate new ways to talk about race and identity for children and families, the exhibit reflected a changing Boston that had become a minority majority city.
The exhibit was intended as a hands-on experience where visitors could explore environments modeled after real spaces in Boston through first-person narratives. It celebrated Black identity, highlighting the diversity within the African diaspora.
The exhibition was organized into discrete settings that together reflected the ambience of Boston neighborhoods. The vitality, complexity and diversity of Black community life were conveyed to Museum visitors through a broad spectrum of interactive experiences. The specific neighborhood settings of the colmado, beauty salon and barber shop, cafe, community agency and carnival garage were selected for their capacity both to portray the dimensionality of Black community life in Boston and to engage visitors at their varied stages of cultural awareness.
The exhibit emphasized four particular cultural groups with the largest demographic populations in the neighborhoods of Boston, including African American, Haitian, Cape Verdean, and Dominican.
Boston Black: A City Connects was a vibrant part of Boston Children’s Museum for fifteen years, engaging tens of thousands of visitors.