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Frequently Asked Questions
Boston African American NHS
Where does the Black Heritage Trail® start?
The tour starts at the Shaw Memorial across from the State House on Beacon Street. Look for the Ranger standing at the Shaw Memorial. Let the Ranger know you are there for the tour.
To ensure safety, tours are limited to no more than 15 people per Ranger.
Yes. The walking tour is free of charge.
The tour primarily focuses on the years between 1783 when Massachusetts abolished slavery to 1865 when slavery was abolished nationwide after the Civil War.
What is the difference between The Freedom Trail and the Black Heritage Trail®?
The Black Heritage Trail ® is different from the Freedom Trail. While the Freedom Trail focuses on Boston's role in the American Revolution, the Black Heritage Trail® focuses on the emerging free black community of the 1800s and their leading efforts in the Abolition Movement, the Underground Railroad, and the early struggles for equality and justice. For more information on the Freedom Trail Tours, please visit Boston National Historic Park.
Parking is very difficult in the city. There are some private garages but they are usually expensive, there is also limited and hard to find street parking. We encourage visitors to take the public transportation. It is easiest way to travel in the city!
There are public restrooms located near the start of the tour at the City Visitor Center on Boston Common, but during the 90-minute tour there are no restrooms available. There are restrooms at the Museum of African American History.
This is an outdoor tour, so wear weather appropriate clothing. This is also a walking tour, we suggest wearing comfortable shoes, as you will walk up several hills and uneven sidewalks.
Yes, please call ahead to have a map sent to you, or you can pick up a self guided map at the Museum of African American History's Abiel Smith School or at local National Park Service Visitor Centers. Please note, the homes along the trail are privately owned and not accessible to the public. Please respect the privacy of the home owners.
No. The homes along the trail are privately owned and not accessible to the public. You may go into the Museum of African American History's Abiel Smith School at 46 Joy Street.
Yes. Our tours are geared to the general public which includes school age children. We recommend visiting the "For Kids" section of this website to prepare children for their visit.
You can call (617) 742-5415 or email us and we will send you one, or you can get one at the Museum of African American History's Abiel Smith School at 46 Joy Street. You can also download it from the "For Kids" section of this website.
Yes. However, the tour includes difficult-to-navigate sidewalks and several steep hills through Beacon Hill.
Please call our office at (617) 742-5415 or check the alerts on our website.
We do not offer private tours. Your group may make a reservation, but there is always a possibility of people joining the tour, as we are a free service to the public in a highly visited tourist location. If you are interested in making a reservation for your group of 5-15 people, please contact our office at (617) 742-5415.
The tour is approximately 90 minutes.
No. Boston African American National Historic Site works in cooperative partnership with the Museum of African American History, which is a separate non-profit entity. To learn more about the Museum, please visit their website.
You can donate directly after the tour inside the Museum or visit them online to find more options.
The African Meeting House is open to the public Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. It is located on Smith Court next the Museum of African American History's Abiel Smith School.
Yes, the Museum is wheelchair accessible.
Yes. The fee structure is as follows:
Food is not allowed in the Museum of African American History, but there are plenty of local restaurants. During the warmer weather it is also nice idea to have a picnic in the Boston Common which is nearby.
The Stamp is available is at the Museum of African American History's Abiel Smith School at 46 Joy Street.
Can large groups visit the African Meeting House and Abiel Smith School?
Yes. However, if your group is larger than 40 people, please contact (617) 725-0022, ex. 222.
Please visit the "Events" section of this website.
Did You Know?
The first African American recipient of the Medal of Honor was William Carney in 1900. Carney was a member of the famous Massachusetts 54th Regiment, and was honored with the medal for his valor at the Battle of Fort Wagner in 1863.