The Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia features interactive, educational exhibitions that preserve and honor Virginia’s African American history and culture. The BMHVA tells the famous, forgotten, and always inspiring stories of African American history in Virginia. The museum’s collection includes art, artifacts, textiles, photographs, rare books, and music. Visitors particularly enjoy the presentation of the information, which blends both traditional presentations in the form of artifacts and placards and interactive touch screens.

The site of the museum itself tells a story of African American achievement. Located in the historic Jackson Ward neighborhood, the BHMVA is housed in The Leigh Street Armory. The armory was built by skilled black craftsmen and laborers in 1894-95, providing Virginia’s black soldiers with an armory to call their own. In 1899, just four years after the armory opened, the city converted it into a school for African American children. In 1942, the building became the Monroe Center, a recreation center for black troops. In 1945, it became an annex and a gym for local schools, then home to the Colored Special School from 1952-54. After a fire and decades of abandonment, the building was rehabilitated and became the BHMVA’s home in 2016.

The tour leaves the Greater Richmond Convention Center (GRCC) at 1:45 p.m. and returns at 4:00 p.m. The Museum is a short walk from the GRCC.


NGS and our partners the Virginia Genealogical Society and the Afro-American Historial and Genealogical Society encourage attendees to patronize Black-owned restaurants in nearby Jackson Ward to experience southern comfort and soul food at its best including Southern Kitchen and Mama J’s Kitchen.

Registration is now open at