The Willow Hill Heritage & Renaissance Center was part of an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
funded collaborative that sought to develop a model for building capacity among African American museums in
Savannah and Southeast Georgia. Other collaborative institutions include: Savannah State University Archives
Department; the King-Tisdell Cottage Foundation (which encompasses two sites: the Beach Institute and the
King-Tisdell Cottage); First African Baptist Church; Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum; and Dorchester
Check out the other members of the collaborative listed below.
The Savannah State University Archives has been established to appraise, collect, organize, describe, preserve,
and make available University records of permanent institutional and historical value.
The King-Tisdell Cottage Foundation manages the Beach Institute African American Culture Center, the
King-Tisdell Cottage and the Negro Heritage Trail Tour: An African American Journey. The Mission Statement
of the King-Tisdell Cottage Foundation is to "Mission Statement: To research, collect, interpret and present
African American history and culture through exhibits, art, films, lectures, oral history, tours and publications.
The Foundation endeavors to promote and disseminate information concerning this history and to celebrate the
contributions of African Americans, especially in Georgia and the Sea Islands of South Carolina. The Foundation
seeks to foster continued interracial understanding and appreciation of different cultures."
The Dorchester Academy was founded in 1869 by the American Missionary Association (now the United Church of Christ)
as a school for freed slaves. Today, the Dorchester Academy is a National Landmark and serves as an
African-American history museum and community center.
The Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum, recently named "Georgia's Best New History Museum" by the Georgia Journal,
is named in honor of the late Dr. Ralph Mark Gilbert, the father of Savannah's modern day Civil Rights Movement and
leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Dr. Gilbert served as pastor of historic
First African Baptist Church on Franklin Square in Savannah for 16 years. The Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum
chronicles the civil rights struggle of Georgia's oldest African-American community from slavery to the present. Three
floors of historic photographic and interactive exhibits provide a glimpse of what life was like during the civil rights
struggle in Savannah and in Georgia. The museum also features lecture halls, classrooms, a video/reading room, an
African-American book collection for children and a giftshop.
The Museum is located at the following address:
460 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
Savannah, GA 31401
First African Baptist Church, located in Savannah, Georgia evolved from the first black Baptist congregation in
North America. First African Baptist Church operates a museum which displays memorabilia dating back to the 18th
century. The church museum contains archives and memorabilia that date back to the 18th century, including
memorabilia dating to the congregation's beginning in 1773. It also houses pictures of the church's seventeen
pastors, written records (from the 1800s to present), communion sets dating to 1814, and newspaper articles (from
1861 showing the dedication of the facility).