Renewal on North Avenue: Wax Museum Transforming Neighborhood

October 17, 2016

For some organizations, just a small investment in a project can make an incredible impact. Two BNHA grant programs, the Small Capital and Heritage Investment grants, typically make awards around $10,000, but many smaller awards have been made in the programs’ histories. The grant application process is designed to be as simple as possible, allowing smaller organizations to apply without the need to hire grant writers or consultants. Although the dollar amount of the awards were small, the funded projects were critical to the success of the grant recipient. Over the years, these smaller awards have helped protect historic structures and created safe environments for communities.

In 2008, the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum was awarded $5,000 to help fund a critical improvement: roof repairs to stop water instrusion into the museum’s two historic buildings. The museum’s campus includes the historic 1892 Bauernschmidt Mansion and a 1920s firehouse. Damage to the mansion and firehouse roofs led to water entering the building, compromising the structural integrity of the museum and its administrative offices. Within a few months of the grant award, the roof repairs were complete.

This unique institution is Baltimore’s first wax museum and the first in the nation devoted to African American history. The museum has aggressive expansion plans for a campus extending across the entire 1600 block of East North Avenue. In 2015, the museum received a $7,000 Heritage Investment Grant to help fund an economic impact study on the museum’s future expansion. The study will enable the museum to assess the expansion’s economic and social impact on the Oliver neighborhood and surrounding areas. The study will establish a realistic context on projected attendance, revenue, and tourism-related employment and tax revenue.

To learn more about the BNHA grants, the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum, and how you can help support BNHA’s grant programs, check out the video below!