The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has contributed $10 million to the Museum of African American History and Culture, expected to open in late 2015 on the National Mall. The purpose of the grant is to support the new museum’s capital campaign, which is raising funds for the design and construction of its building.
The museum, to be built on a five-acre tract adjacent to the Washington Monument, will be designed by Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup. The design, construction and exhibition installations are expected to cost about $500 million, half provided by congressional funding and the remainder raised by the museum.
“We are so pleased that the Gates Foundation has joined donors from across the country who have built a groundswell of support for this museum,” Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the museum, said at the event announcing the gift Oct. 15. “We recognize this as a vote of confidence and a genuine honor.”
“The National Museum of African American History and Culture will be a remarkable resource that will ensure that the rich stories and valuable history of African Americans will be available for all,” said Allan Golston, president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s United States Program. “The museum will be an important addition to our National Mall, and we are pleased to be joining others at this unique moment in time to support this worthy investment.”
The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established by an Act of Congress in 2003 as the 19th museum of the Smithsonian. It is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history and culture. As part of its capital campaign, it has launched a national membership campaign. It is establishing a national identity by hosting exhibitions and educational programming in major cities across the country.
The museum’s historians and curators are building a collection—now with more than 9,000 objects—designed to illustrate the major periods of African American history, beginning with its origins in Africa and continuing through slavery, reconstruction, the civil rights era and into the 21st century. Its inaugural exhibition, “Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits,” is on a 12-city national tour through 2012. Until its building is completed, the museum is offering exhibitions in its own gallery at the American History Museum.
Posted: 20 October 2009