Coordinates: 39°18′42″N 76°35′49″W / 39.3118°N 76.59687°W / 39.3118; -76.59687
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Museum in Baltimore, Maryland
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The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum is a wax museum in Baltimore, Maryland featuring prominent African-American and other black historical figures. It was established in 1983, in a downtown storefront on Saratoga Street.
The museum is currently located on 1601 East North Avenue in a renovated firehouse, a Victorian Mansion, and two former apartment dwellings that provide nearly 30,000 square feet (3,000 m2) of exhibit and office space. The exhibits feature over 100 wax figures and scenes, including: a full model slave ship exhibit which portrays the 400-year history of the Atlantic Slave Trade, an exhibit on the role of youth in making history, and a Maryland room highlighting the contributions to African American history by notable Marylanders. The museum\'s co-founder, Dr. Joanne Martin, describes the importance of preserving Black history in this way, stating: \'everything else, it seems like a movie if you don\'t have a sense of exactly what people were fighting against.\'
The National Great Blacks in Wax museum is Baltimore\'s first wax museum and the first wax museum of African American history in the nation. The museum was started as a grassroots operation by Dr. Elmer Martin and his wife Dr. Joanne Martin.
The idea of blacks in wax started with a few wax figures that were taken around to various schools, community centers, and malls. The museum was originally sponsored exclusively by Dr. Elmer Martin, his wife Dr. Joanne Martin, and donations from the community. In the early days, Dr. Elmer Martin was forced to ask his wife to sell her wedding ring to keep the moving exhibit going. However, it received national recognition in 1983 when the founding members were allotted grants, loans, and endowments to open a permanent exhibition. In 1988, Blacks in Wax received its permanent home on the 1600 block of North Avenue in the neighborhood of Oliver.
The site was originally home to a firehouse that was converted into a showhouse. In 2004, The Blacks in Wax Museum was recognized by the U.S. Congress as the \"Nation\'s first wax museum presenting the history of great Black Americans\" and subsequently became The National Blacks in Wax Museum.
People featured in museum
The following people have been depicted at the museum:
Bishop Richard Allen
Askia the Great
Rev. Andrew Bryan
Henry \"Box\" Brown
General Benjamin O. Davis
W. E. B. Du Bois
General Daniel \"Chappie\" James
Mother Mary E. Lange
Reginald F. Lewis
Makeda, Queen of Sheba
Queen Anne Njinga
General Colin Powell
Madam C.J. Walker
Carter G. Woodson
Martin Luther King Jr.
Noble Drew Ali
George Washington Carver
Ida B. Wells