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Our Current Museum Hours Are:

Tuesday - Friday: 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Monday, Saturday & Sunday: CLOSED 

As we are now just in time for Winter, COVID-19 Cases will rise and it will be harder to differentiate if you have Allergies, Common Cold, the Flu or Covid-19. Please keep wearing your mask at all times, stay 6 feet apart, and continue to wash your hands after touching surfaces. 

Click Here for COVID-19 Updates & Guidelines

Here is the perfect video demonstrating how masks are also effective in the cold weather and how wearing one and staying 6-feet-apart can protect others around you:

December Black History Facts

1. December 1, 1955: Rosa Parks refused to change her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. On December 5,black people began a boycott of the bus system which continued until shortly after December 13, 1956 when the United States Supreme Court outlawed bus segregation in the city. (see first picture)

2. December 1, 2008: Peggy Joan Maxie was the first black woman elected to public office in Washington State. (see second picture)

3. December 2, 1891: One Hundred and Thirteen black people were reported lynched in 1891. 

4. December 18, 1865: The 13th Amendment, outlawing slavery, was passed by Congress.

5. December 24, 1832: Georgia Infirmary was the first hospital for African Americans built in the United States. (see third picture)

Events Cancelled due to COVID-19
The 30th Annual Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Festival Is CANCELLED for 2021.

We are saddened to announce the cancellation of our 30th Annual Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Festival for February 2021, but with due regard to the environment of our Vendors, Volunteers and Supporters, we must put their safety first. 

This is the first time in 29 years that our special February event will not take place. 

Please everyone continue to stay safe and wear your masks and hopefully we will be able to resume our Black Heritage Festival in 2022. 

Thank you all for your much needed support and if you have any questions regarding the cancellation of our Festival, please contact Mr. Jimmy Harrell at 386-478-1934 or by email at

Annual Kwanzaa Celebration is CANCELLED for 2020-2021.

Oh DEAR what a YEAR! This year has brought challenges for everyone. This is a historic December, and we are grateful for our members who have helped to keep us safe and healthy by observing the pandemic protocols. The museum welcomes individual visitors and families (max. 4) at a time.

As we look forward in December with the holidays of Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa approaching, we are reminded that hope is with us even in dark times. This year’s museum holiday group activities are cancelled; however, they can still be filled with love and kindness. A Kwanzaa celebration is usually held at the museum each year. But it is cancelled this year due to the pandemic. Kwanzaa, December 26 - January 1, is a celebration of African heritage, unity, and culture. Families gather to celebrate life, commemorate, and recommit to the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Gifts are exchanged.

The Slave Experience of the Holidays

American slaves experienced the Christmas holidays in many different ways. Joy, hope, and celebration were naturally a part of the season for many. For other slaves, these holidays conjured up visions of freedom and even the opportunity to bring about that freedom. Still others saw it as yet another burden to be endured. This month, Documenting the American South considers the Christmas holidays as they were experienced by enslaved Americans.

Some slaves saw Christmas as an opportunity to escape. They took advantage of relaxed work schedules and the holiday travels of slaveholders, who were too far away to stop them. While some slaveholders presumably treated the holiday as any other workday, numerous authors record a variety of holiday traditions, including the suspension of work for celebration and family visits. Because many slaves had spouses, children, and family who were owned by different masters and who lived on other properties, slaves often requested passes to travel and visit family during this time. Some slaves used the passes to explain their presence on the road and delay the discovery of their escape through their masters' expectation that they would soon return from their "family visit."

Harriet Tubman helped her brothers escape on Christmas. Their master intended to sell them after Christmas but was delayed by the holiday. The brothers were expected to spend the day with their elderly mother but met Tubman in secret. She helped them travel north, gaining a head start on the master who did not discover their disappearance until the end of the holidays.

Christmas could represent not only physical freedom, but spiritual freedom, as well as the hope for better things to come.

New Exhibit on the way

A timely exhibit on President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will be displayed in the museum January, 2020. Stop by and check out the exhibit and the media resources available.

Become a MSHBHM Member!

Due to the current Pandemic, the Museum has not been able to hold our Annual Meet & Greet Membership Event. 


Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Museum

314 N Duss Street, New Smyrna Beach
FL 32168 United States

(386) 478-1934

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