International African American Museum to be built where slaves set foot in US
Organizers say a $75 million International African American Museum will be built beside the Charleston harbor where tens of thousands of slaves first set foot in the United States.
Charleston Mayor Joe Riley announced on July 15 that the museum will be built near where a wharf once stood in the South Carolina city where the Civil War began.
During the late 1770s and early 1800s, tens of thousands of slaves crossed the wharf entering the nation. Riley says there is no better site for the museum. The location is on the waterfront, just down and across the street from the original site planned for the museum.
The exhibition features eight distinct chapters that guide visitors through the African American story. Visitors begin in West Africa in the 17th century, and end with the formation of new African American communities in the 21st century.
Exhibition Themes Include
- Africa & the Atlantic World
- Plantation Labor & Rice Culture
- Urban Life & Skilled Labor
- Survival & Resistance
- War & Emancipation
- Building a Free Community
- Community, Diaspora, Voice
- National Culture, International Influence
- Changing Exhibit Gallery
A digital wall backdrops the permanent exhibition, featuring stunning large-scale film, imagery, and life-sized interactive encounters with contemporary figures.
Students will be engaged through historically recreated environments, at a level of experience not possible in classrooms or traditional museums.
Additional spaces include a multi-purpose community room, gift shop, and a multimedia theater featuring signature films commissioned for IAAM.
The project was first announced 13 years ago.
Riley says construction on the 42,000-square-foot museum could begin in early 2016 with completion in 2018.