Meet Pioneer MaryAnn Black

We continue our “Pioneer Spotlight” this month talking with a longtime supporter of the MoDH. Pioneers are donors who make multi-year commitments to support the MoDH in its early development and help us build a sustainable future. We would like for you to hear from some of our Pioneers who want share why they decided to be such an important part of the Museum of Durham History. “Pioneer” MaryAnn Black is Associate Vice President, Community & Local Government Relations for Duke University Health System. She took a moment to tell us why she believes Durham history is so important:

What do you love about the Museum of Durham History?

I love the Museum of Durham History and the thoughtful way in which the founders made it a policy to be inclusive of the many people who make up Durham. The museum educates visitors about Durham’s foundation, its culture, its diversity, its proud and not so proud moments in history and shares these historical stories and information in a unique and enlightening way. The Museum of Durham History embraces all of the many aspects of who we are as a community.

The pop up exhibits are always interesting and appeal to a broad group of people. Moreover, I love that these exhibits can move across the community and some of them have found a permanent home in other parts of the county.

Why is it important to contribute to its future?

Museums serve a unique function in a community but most are not self-sustaining. It is important for governments, businesses, and individuals to broadly support the function of the museum. As I visit museums across the country and ask questions about their funding, I learn that government makes up the major part of funding with grants and fund raising rounding out the budget. Supporting museums, libraries and places that contribute to the quality of life for a community is a plus for us all.

What’s your favorite historical fact about Durham?

Black Wall Street is my favorite historical fact about Durham. Growing up as a child in South Carolina I heard my parents talk about the progress of Negroes who lived in Durham and worked to develop Black Wall Street.


Donors who make multi-year pledges or foundations and donor-advised-funds that make multi-year grants starting in FY 15/16 will become part of a group called Pioneer donors that is permanently recognized. The following giving circles have been established within the Pioneer group. Stay tuned as we roll out information on this special group. Contact Katie Spencer, 919-246-9993 to learn more.

Bull City— $50,000+ over three years
Durham Renowned the World Around— $30,000 — $49,999 over three years
City of Innovation— $15,000 — $29,999 over three years
Durham’s Station—$7,500 — $14,999 over three years
A Roaring Old Place—$5,000 — $7,499 over three years
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