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Curator: Derek T. Davis
Email me at derek.davis@browardschools.com
Derek T. Davis Photo


Technical Specialist/Events: Coordinator: Denise Harrison
Email me at denise.harrison@browardschools.com

Denise Harrison

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Secretary: Lameshia Austin
Lameshia Austin

Museum Security Host: Tony Thompson
Tony Thompson


OLD DILLARD MUSEUM (ODM), under the auspices of the School Board of Broward County, occupies a prominent place in the history of Fort Lauderdale and has, over the years, presented educational opportunities for African-Americans as the first school constructed for people of color in this area. Formerly called "the colored school," Old Dillard was erected on land purchased from Ft. Lauderdale pioneers Frank and Ivy Stranahan for one dollar.

The first school for African-American students in Ft. Lauderdale began with ten students in 1907 in an old, one-room wooden building on Northwest 3rd Avenue between Broward Boulevard and Northwest 2nd Street. In 1910, the school was torn down. The students attended classes at the lodge hall on the comer of 4th Street and Northwest 4th Avenue until the construction of the new "Colored School" was completed in March 1924, at a cost of $13,950.24.

In 1930, at the request of the then-Principal Dr. Joseph A. Ely, the school was renamed after Dr. James Hardy Dillard, who was a prominent philanthropist and educator. Since its construction, this landmark has served as an important educational and cultural center for Ft. Lauderdale's African-American community. Regarded by all as one of Broward County's most significant links to the past, this historically distinctive structure has been restored to serve the community as a museum and cultural/educational center. It exists today because of Broward community efforts and its success points to wide aspirations for future projects involving all segments of our city and county. The existence of Old Dillard primarily represents the social climate for African Americans in Ft. Lauderdale in the 1920's. Within this historical context it serves as a constant reminder to the multi-cultural community of its proud and rich heritage; even more, it represents the community's strong determination and perseverance to succeed.

The museum not only serves the African-American community in which it resides, but it provides a valuable resource to historians and other visitors interested in Black history. .All racesĀ· and cultures have an opportunity to develop an understanding and appreciation for this rich heritage. Eventually, a partnership was formed with the School Board of Broward County, the City of Fort Lauderdale, the Broward County Commission, and the Black Historical Society to renovate and preserve the Old Dillard School and to develop the Cultural Center in which the Old Dillard Museum is presently housed. Through funding from the City, the County, the School Board, and the State of Florida's PECO Fund, the building was renovated. In February 1991, the museum was placed on the National Historic Register.

The Museum's Grand Opening was held on April 27, 1995. The extraordinary story of ODM and its community's existence was/is one of quiet triumph and endurance from its very beginnings. It is a celebration of what has been, is and will be in future years. The journey continues ... Pass it on!

Old Dillard Museum Mission Statement

The Old Dillard Museum goal is to promote the proud heritage centered on the first National African-American Landmark in Broward County by preserving the building and contents, providing enriching exhibitions, presenting cultural activities, and supporting educational opportunities to keep Black history alive.

Old Dillard Foundation Mission Statement

Facilitate collaborative relationships and actions that allow and assure sustainable resources to support successful museum programs and projects that celebrate the pride, history and culture of the African American community.
To be widely recognized for board excellence in governance, fund raising and stewardship in support of the African American heritage and culture.

Old Dillard Foundation Officers & Board of Trustees

Patricia West, President
Judi Hamilton, Vice President
Odessa Striggles Bennett, Secretary
Irv Minney, Treasurer
Dr. Denise St. Patrick Bell
Earlene Striggles Horne
Noel Hyatt
Julia McElvy
Mary Black Rizor
Brittany Ross
Dr. Dierdre S. Wilson

Honorary Members

Gale Butler
Bobby Henry, Sr.
Leslie Carhart
Dr. Carl M. Crawford
James D. Bradley, Emeritus
Raleigh R. Rawls, Esq.
Tiffany McNealy
Levi G. Williams, Esq.
Cory Witherspoon

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    Did You Know

    Florida's Emancipation Day is 20 Some' May. Like Juneteenth is to Texas, May 20, 1865 is the day that the slaves in Florida were told they were free.

    Join us at the Old Dillard Museum on May 20th from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00p.m. at our Emancipation Day Mini Festival.


    Nat Adderley Concert


    Your donation will secure you a seat at the upcoming concert featuring the nephew of Julian "Cannonball" Adderley.


    Make a tax deductible donation to the Old Dillard Foundation. Click below.


    We'll send a talented artist or spokesperson to your site for an exciting presentation. Starting at $150. Click below.


    To purchase a CD, click below.

    Ben Williams CutoutMr. Benjamin Williams, who is often called "Mr. Fantastic," is the 2013 Tree of Life Honoree. In addition to serving three four-year terms on the Broward County School Board as the Member for District 5, Mr. Williams had a outstanding career as an educator and administrator in Broward County Schools. During his years as a administrator, he is noted as designing and implementing the county's first magnet program at Walker Elementary in 1975, he later took the Performing Arts Magnet program to Parkway Middle School in 1988 and added technology to the curriculum as the county began to utilize technology in the district. The performing arts magnet at Parkway led to adding Arts and Music to Dillard High School with Williams as the principal in 1992. Williams was also the first black administrator assigned to a predominantly white elementary school when he became the principal of Nova Blanche Forman Elementary in 1970.

    To view past Tree of Life honorees and The Legacy Continues Video Click Here

    Come to the Old Dillard Museum and be inspired. Sensational tours are available Monday thru Friday, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.

    Summertime hours are Monday thru Thursday 10:00 am to 4:00pm. June 13th to August 11th.

    Suggested Donation:

    Membership has priviliges!

    Membership benefits:

    • Membership recognition
    • Membership benefits at all Broward Attraction & Museum Month (BAMM) locations during the month of June.
    • Email updates on all events

    Click here to become a member today.

    To download our Schedule of Events for 2017-18, open the PDF and use Save As to copy it to your computer.

    To download a copy of our brochure, open the PDF and use Save As to copy it to your computer.

    Photo albums

    recent concerts

    To view slideshows of past concerts:


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    The Old Dillard Museum is a historical landmark and an education center operated by the Broward Public School System. Funding for the museum's activities is provided in part by the Old Dillard Foundation, Funding Arts Broward, Bank of America, The Links, Inc., The National Endowment for the Arts and the Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council and other gracious supporters.

    (c) Copyright 2013 Old Dillard Museum, 1009 NW 4th Street, Fort Lauderdale FL 33311, 754-322-8828

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