Marian Anderson Museum & Historical Society: A Journey Toward Re-Opening

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 5/23/2024, 5:27 p.m.
The Marian Anderson Museum & Historical Society is fervently working towards an October 2024 re-opening, following extensive repairs and restoration …

Philadelphia The Marian Anderson Museum & Historical Society is fervently working towards an October 2024 re-opening, following extensive repairs and restoration after a 2020 flood caused over $500,000 in damage. The historic building, once home to the iconic contralto singer Marian Anderson, houses a treasure trove of artifacts from her illustrious career, spanning from 1924 to 1965.

Despite the setback, the museum has continued its mission, driven by the indomitable spirit of Marian Anderson. "It has been challenging to sustain our programs during this extensive renovation, but our dedication to Marian Anderson's legacy keeps us motivated," shared Jillian Patricia Pirtle, CEO of the National Marian Anderson Museum & Historical Society.

The museum's commitment to nurturing young talent remains unwavering through the National Marian Anderson Museum Scholar Arts Program. This initiative supports budding classical, opera, theatrical, musical, and visual artists, maintaining a vibrant calendar of events. In February, the museum hosted "When Marian Sang: Presentation for Children & Families," followed by the "Porgy and Bess" winter concert and participation in the Philadelphia Organ Festival in March.



On June 2, 2024, the museum will celebrate its spring season with "Come Sunday: A Tribute Concert of Spirituals and Jazz" at The Tindley Temple. Tickets are available for $30, helping fund the museum's ongoing restoration efforts.

"Our museum is small but mighty, and we are deeply grateful for the support from our community, sponsors, historic preservation partners, Marian Anderson Scholars, and the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)," said Pirtle. The DAR has generously donated $200,000 from 2022 to 2024, and in 2023, they loaned a stunning cranberry red sequined gown worn by Anderson during her 1930s concerts.

"Marian Anderson’s story is deeply connected with the DAR, and we cherish our partnership with the Marian Anderson Historical Society & Museum," stated Pamela Wright, President General of the DAR. This relationship traces back to 1939 when the DAR's denial led to Anderson’s historic Easter Sunday concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Anderson later performed at the DAR's Constitution Hall multiple times, even launching her farewell tour from there.

To further support the museum's restoration, the public is invited to share their memories and inspirations of Marian Anderson on the museum's Facebook page with the campaign "What Marian Anderson Means to Me," using hashtags #WhatMarianAndersonMeansToMe, #MarianAnderson, and #TheGreatMarianAnderson. 

April holds special significance in Anderson's life: her iconic Lincoln Memorial performance on April 9, 1939, her final Carnegie Hall concert on April 19, 1965, and her passing on April 8, 1993.

The Marian Anderson Museum & Historical Society, located at 762 South Martin Street in Philadelphia, is steadfast in its mission to preserve and celebrate Anderson’s legacy. Donations are welcomed and can be made at or by calling 215-779-4219.