Attraction

Marian Anderson Historical Residence & Museum

Preserving the legacy of one of the world’s greatest contraltos

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Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia
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Overview

See the quaint home that Marian Anderson purchased in 1924, right across the street from the Union Baptist Church where she sang as a child.

Visitors to the Marian Anderson Historical Residence & Museum find a marvelous ensemble of memorabilia, books, rare photos, paintings and even films regarding the great contralto’s life.

Various rooms, with hardwood floors and lace curtains (which Anderson adored), are dedicated to musical programs, lectures, audiovisual presentations and even private lessons.

There’s even an artists-in-residence program at the home, which was purchased by Blanche Burton-Lyles, a concert pianist and protégé of Anderson’s.

Burton-Lyles is also who is founder and president of the Marian Anderson Historical Society, Inc., dedicated to preserving Anderson’s legacy by mentoring outstanding classical artists.

The History

Anderson performed at Carnegie Hall, the White House and world-renowned concert halls.

With the purchase of the Martin Street home in 1924, Anderson settled in her childhood neighborhood and owned the property for 69 years. Born in 1897 in Philadelphia, she became in 1924 the first African-American concert artist to record spirituals for RCA Victor, a major American recording company.

Her trailblazing performances occurred at Carnegie Hall, the White House and world-renowned concert halls. In 1939 she overcame racial barriers to sing at the Lincoln Memorial and received the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal. She died in 1993 in Portland, Oregon, at age 96.

Don’t Miss

Custom tours of the Marian Anderson Historical Residence & Museum, which include Union Baptist Church, can be arranged with lunch, catering, lectures and master classes by professional artists.

In addition to music appreciation workshops, an excellent illustrated book and CD entitled When Marian Sang are available.

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