Welcome to Sumner Hall! Located in historic Chestertown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, this is one of two existing African American G.A.R. buildings still standing in the United States and the only one offering regular programs. Built circa 1908 and fully restored in 2014, it serves today as a museum, education site, performance stage, social hall, gallery and community center. Sumner Hall is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, funded by donations and memberships.
Sumner Hall is open each Saturday of the year from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm – unless otherwise noted here on our website. We are pleased to open the museum other times by appointment. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to make an arrangement.
C U R R E N T E X H I B I T I O N S
On Saturday, January 29th, Sumner Hall held our first celebration of Kwanzaa. We gathered for a ceremony of honor and light. Homemade traditional African dishes, drumming, the lighting of the candles, and a reading of the seven founding principles of Kwanzaa were featured. In addition, we learned about noted African American folk artist, Harriet Powers. A replica of her Bible Quilt and the story of its creation is also on display.
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SCHOOL INTEGRATION IN KENT COUNTY
In 2017 and 2018 Legacy Day paid tribute to the African American educators in Kent County’s segregated schools and the black and white students who participated in the transition from segregated to integrated schools. The new display at Sumner Hall brings together these two exhibits to tell this important historical story in a fuller context. It is a narrative that is sometimes inspiring, sometimes heartbreaking, but always challenging. Showing the two exhibits together reveals some common themes in the recollections of former teachers and African American students, as identified in two new posters. It also allowed us to include the recollections of five more students who were not included in this year’s exhibit at the Kent County Historical Society.