The Meeting House Window installation at the Museum of African American History (MAAH) is an homage to the powerful history embodied in the historic African Meeting House located on the museum’s Boston campus. When visitors enter the museum, they immediately encounter a large-scale installation of a window that mirrors both the architecture of the Meeting House, and the museum’s logo. Through this window, visitors watch as the faces and stories of people who have shaped the history of Boston and our nation appear and shift across its panes.
Originally designed as a repository for archival material featuring historical images, our concept shifted in May 2020 with the tragic killing of George Floyd. We all recognized how this exhibit was an opportunity to tie current social justice movements to the themes that appear again and again throughout the galleries of the museum: agency, community building, networking across differences, and the power of our voices. Because the exhibit is supported by a custom content management system, the stories featured in the window can be updated and augmented in a way that allows for a continuing reflection of contemporary issues and how they relate to our past as a nation.
The window is the first thing visitors see when they enter the museum. It creates a powerful moment where they are confronted with a history that has too often been left untold, and how the effects of that history have become ingrained in our society to this day.