public buildings

educational and
cultural facilities

religious buildings

historic house museums

historic industrial sites


adaptive use

new design in
historic contexts

African Meeting House
Boston, MA
Client: Museum of African American History, Inc.

Project Type: Historic Structure Report; Interior and Exterior Restoration; New Design in Historic Context

The African Meeting House, a National Historic Landmark, was built in 1806 by the free black community of Boston.  Its pulpit and meeting space gave voice to famous abolitionists and activists of the time.  For most of the 20th century the building served as a synagogue. In 1972 the African Meeting House was purchased by the Museum of Afro-American History.  Over the last three decades, the Museum, in partnership with the National Park Service, has conducted extensive archaeological investigations, rehabilitations and studies at the historic site.

First Independent Baptist Church, circa 1860, as it appeared after an extensive remodeling campaign. The main entrances were relocated to the center bays, and the openings in the outer bays were filled in with brick masonry. The windows of the second story were elongated.

To restore the African Meeting House to its appearance in 1855, John G. Waite Associates, Architects was retained to prepare a historic structure report update and construction documents.  The new work includes relocation of the mechanical and electrical systems to an underground vault and the construction of an elevator/stair tower to satisfy modern code requirements. The addition will be located outside the Meeting House to minimize interference with the historic structure.