The four-story building on Broadway Avenue was
In 2001, The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center (MTCC) was founded as the Mosaic Templars of America Center for African American Culture and Business Enterprise to be part of the Department of Arkansas Heritage by the Arkansas legislature. The plan had been to place the operation within the old Mosaic Templars of America facility at 9th and Broadway, but in March 2005, the building burned. A new facility with a similar façade and footprint to the original MTA building was erected on the site and opened in 2008.
The 35,000 square feet interior houses a state-of-the-art museum complex with exhibits, a classroom, staff offices, and an Auditorium that seats 400 people. It’s the site of the annual Say It Ain’t Say’s Sweet Potato Pie Contest and many other community activities.
Within the main museum, housed on the first floor, you’ll find several permanent exhibits, including one commemorating the history of the building itself. Another large exhibit, A City Within A City, shares the history of the West 9th Street Business District. This area of downtown Little Rock was home to the economic and social center of the African American community from after the Civil War through the middle of the 20th century.
Other permanent galleries showcase the efforts of entrepreneurs in the black community; life for African-Americans in Arkansas from 1870 to 1970; and the workings of the Mosaic Templars of America. The latter provided insurance policies that covered burial expenses and headstones for policy holders, as well as life insurance policies. Upstairs, you’ll find the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame, which includes such notables as poet Maya Angelou, musician Pharaoh Sanders, civil rights activist Willie Branton, Sr. and athlete Sidney Moncrief, Jr.
The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Self-guided tours of the museum are free, and there’s a help desk and gift shop at the 9th Street entrance. For more information, check out the website.