African Art Museum
of Maryland (AAMM)
A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit institution
Founded 1980

By Doris H. Ligon

The African Art Museum of Maryland (AAMM), founded in 1980 as the first Museum in the planned community of Columbia, MD, is unique. It is one of only three museums of its kind in the USA devoted exclusively to the art of Africa. Of those three, it is the only one founded by an African American. Among other supports, it has been recognized as “one of the State’s most respected cultural institutions,” and in 2013 was cited as “one of the top ten places to visit in Howard County, MD.” In 2011, AAMM became the first museum in the community of Maple Lawn in Fulton, MD, in Howard County.

Mission: In service to the public, the African Art Museum, through an exploration of the art of Africa, is dedicated to the encouragement of broader understanding and awareness of the diverse cultures and artistic expressions of the people of the African continent.

In firm belief that education and planned travel are major aids toward cultural understanding and, in demonstration of AAMM’s inclusiveness, multi-language didactic labels and oral presentations supplement select exhibited treasures. Also, organized travel to African nations is an AAMM activity.

Since its inception, AAMM has presented for viewing pleasure, in its location and at Outreach events, astounding works of the highest quality including contemporary, intercontinentally known, stellar artists, held in the highest esteem.

AAMM offers to the public:
The museum has a multi-faceted educational and pleasurable list of activities to include:

  • The African Experience Tour (AET) - a participatory experience, using hands-on art objects, videos, demonstrations, including questions/answer opportunities throughout the presentation. Vocabulary used is dependent on the maturity level of the audience and their level of interaction with the African continent. It can include an “Art Hunt” and varied themes. The AET is offered in-museum and as an Outreach Activity, and is adaptable for all age and special needs groups.
  • Tours to African Nations - Trips to Africa. Past trips include repeated visits to Senegal, the Gambia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, South Africa & Zimbabwe. Trips are first offered to Life and annual members and then offered to the General Public. Next projected trip is planned for Winter 2016.
  • In celebration and to aid in the perpetuation of America’s music JAZZ, AAMM’s innovation; “The House of JAZZ”, serves also to remind all that JAZZ has its roots in the traditional music of Africa; it is also designed to serve as a fundraising effort for the museum. Respect for AAMM’s JAZZ Aficionado, Claude Ligon, the House of JAZZ was re-named The Claude Ligon House of JAZZ in 2005, the year of his passing.
  • AAMM Sponsors visits to schools by members of the African Diplomatic Corps: Ambassadors and their country representative(s).
  • Teacher’s Workshops - demonstrating for possible use in their classroom setting, The AET or a more participatory activity of creating an art piece: an adinkra cloth, which requires applying symbolic stamps to cloth.
  • Passport to African Art & Culture -visits to African Embassies for youth and families. A “passport” was created for this activity.
  • Receptions for members of the Diplomatic Corps is an opportunity to meet socially with Ambassadors or their country’s representative(s).
  • Doing Business in Africa -The Institute of African Commerce & Culture (IACC) bringing together business persons from various African nations and American counterparts.
  • Anniversary Celebrations -observing the completion of an additional year of the Museum’s service to the public.
  • Member Appreciation Day  - Recognition of members of AAMM-Lifetime & Annual
  • Grandparents Day - Celebrating generations of family interests.
  • African Art In World Languages
  • The Literary Art Circle of AAMM
  • Students can earn their community service hours by volunteering at AAMM
  • AAMM has partnerships with Howard County Public System, Howard Community College, and is a member of the American Alliance of Museums.
  • Ruth Fisher Rhetts Lecture Series – Mrs. Rhetts gave to the AAMM its first gift of stock. She was the wife of President John F. Kennedy’s first appointed Ambassador to Liberia, where she shared she “spent some of the happiest years of my life.” AAMM names its first lecture series in her honor in appreciation of her gift.


11711 East Market Place
Maple Lawn Community
Fulton, MD  20759
(Howard County)


Phone & Fax:       301-490-6070
Email:                    africanartmuseumofmd@verizon.net
Web:                      www.africanartmuseum.org
Facebook:             www.facebook.com/AAMM1980
Twitter:                  @AfricanArtMM

The African Art Museum of Maryland is deeply appreciative of and supported by memberships ranging from annually $20 per individual to Lifetime membership of $1,000 for families, institutions and groups. AAMM seeks also grants and corporate sponsorships and is grateful for all donations. Fundraisers are scheduled throughout the year. Additional information supplied by request.