The Wisconsin Black Historical Society/Museum located on the corners of North 27 and West Center Streets opened its door and its heart to the community, city, and state in 1987. Based on the premise that a people who know their history will grow to love and appreciate themselves more, the Society is striving to create a bright future out of a heart-breaking past.
The mission of the Wisconsin Black Historical Society/Museum is to document and preserve the historical heritage of African descent in Wisconsin. The Museum exhibits, collects and disseminates materials depicting this heritage. Serving as a resource center for all people interested in Wisconsin’s rich African American heritage, the Museum’s purpose is to encourage and promote family community and cultural activities.
The Wisconsin Black Historical Society/Museum (WBHS/M) is the only institution dedicated in the State dedicated to the business of preserving Wisconsin’s African American History. The Society is also an affiliated member of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin
Our founding Director, Clayborn Benson III produced the documentary called Black Communities. The three-part documentary (USA, Wisconsin and Milwaukee) was the inspiration for establishing the Wisconsin Black Historical Society & Museum in 1987. In 1988, the Museum became an affiliated member of The State Historical Society. The building, constructed in 1898, was the Engine No. 2 Fire Station. It was converted into the Center Street Library in 1928. Today, it’s a vibrant historical society and museum.