The Museum of Afro-American History was established in Boston in 1964. Its leading founders were Dean Howard Thurman of Boston University and his wife Sue Bailey Thurman. The Museum was established 'to advance knowledge, through historic examination,' about the African-American presence in Boston and New England. The Museum's first curator and manager was J. Marcus Mitchell. Serving as director from more than 15 years, Byron Rushing, who currently serves as state representative, built a record of dynamic growth and development for the Museum. In 1987 the Museum found a permanent home when it reopened the doors of the oldest standing Black church in the nation - the African Meeting House, built in 1806 on Smith Court, Beacon Hill. Under the leadership of Ruth M. Batson and Henry Hampton in the late 1980s, the Museum has become a vibrant and growing center of African-American educational and cultural activity. Monica Fairbairn was appointed executive director in the fall of 1989.