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Alexandria Black History Museum director to lead city’s new African American History division

Audrey Davis, executive director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, speaks at the Walk the Walk 2020 event at Alexandria’s African American Heritage Park, August 27, 2020. (Staff photo by James Cullum)

Audrey Davis, executive director of the Alexandria Black History Museum (902 Wythe Street), has been tapped to lead the city’s new African American History division of the Office of Historic Alexandria (OHA).

Davis has been a leader in the city’s efforts to preserve Black history in Alexandria, starting as a part-time curator with the city in 1993. The city has made significant strides in recent years to better present the city’s Black history, from the opening of the Freedom House Museum to guided tours of the Parker-Gray neighborhood.

In recent years, the Alexandria Black History Museum has included a new exhibit on the Black Lives Matter protests in Alexandria and worked to bring the city’s Civil Rights history online.

“Audrey is the Dean of Alexandria Black History,” said Mayor Justin Wilson. “Elevating her role reflects the reality of how Alexandria has broadened the history we interpret and ensure that every Alexandrian can see their stories in what we learn and discover together.”

City Council member John Chapman said Davis’ past experience has shown she could be integral in helping the city tell the complex histories of sites around Alexandria.

“I’m super excited to see Audrey lead that division,” said Chapman. “Giving her the opportunity to interact with all of our museums and ensure that, not just African American experience, but all of the people’s experience at different sites. We have places where history is layered on history.”

Chapman said he hopes Davis can help lead a “systemic change” in how the city’s history is explored and presented.

The full release is below:

The City of Alexandria is pleased to announce that Audrey P. Davis has been named the Director of the African American History division of the Office of Historic Alexandria (OHA). Davis joined the City in 1993, beginning as a part-time curator and most recently serving as the Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum (ABHM) located at 902 Wythe Street.

Since 1982, the role of OHA has expanded beyond the walls of its museums to historic interpretation of the whole City. The African American History division is a part of a larger reorganization of OHA, which will prioritize resident outreach, improve visitor experience, and regularly engage residents in City initiatives. This new division will ensure the continued inclusion of Black History in City museums and public programming, as well as advancing the City’s goal of building a welcoming community through equity and inclusion.

Davis has served as a public steward for the City’s African American history nationwide and overseas. In 2021, the ABHM was awarded a prestigious grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS) which is aiding in the digitization of the City’s Moss Kendrix Collection. Recently, her work with the Freedom House Museum located at 1315 Duke Street was profiled in Preservation Magazine’s Winter 2023 issue.

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