History of Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center (MTCC) was founded as the Mosaic Templars of America Center for African American Culture and Business Enterprise under Act 1176 of 2001. MTCC was created as a museum of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and it honors the story of the Mosaic Templars of America and all of Arkansas’s African American history.
The museum is dedicated to telling the story of the African American experience in Arkansas. The Center’s name is taken from the Mosaic Templars of America, a black fraternal organization founded in Little Rock in 1883 whose headquarters sat on the prominent West Ninth and Broadway location. Like many businesses throughout the United States, the Mosaic Templars of America organization was forced out of business during the Great Depression. Originally, the Center planned to restore the 1913 Mosaic Templars of America National Grand Temple, but the original building was destroyed by fire in March 2005. The new 35,000 square feet interior is a state-of-the-art museum complex with exhibits, classroom, staff offices, and an Auditorium that seats 400 people. The façade of the new structure is a facsimile of the 1913 building complete with the Annex building façade, which burned in 1984.
The mission of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is to preserve, interpret and celebrate African American history and culture in Arkansas. The museum’s exhibits highlight fraternal organizations, African American entrepreneurs as well as integration.
Beyond just exhibits, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center provides lesson plans and outreach programs for students and teachers. These materials, especially the lesson plans, are in great demand by classroom teachers and have closed a gap in the teaching of Arkansas history. All educational materials developed by the Education staff are tied to the Arkansas Department of Education Curriculum Frameworks.
MTCC strives to educate students as well as the general public through a wide range of events and programs that help support its mission as well as expose the community to some of the more prominent topics in African American culture and history.