Charleston’s International African American Museum sets 2023 opening date

Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 5:07 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 3, 2022 at 9:04 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - After a decades long journey the International African American Museum has a home right here in Charleston. They’ll begin welcoming visitors in early January 2023.

Dr. Tonya Matthews, President and CEO of the International African American Museum, says they broke ground in 2020 right before the pandemic started. Supply chain issues were the biggest setback, but they got back on track and are excited to welcome visitors early next year.

Matthews says choosing the opening date was important, they wanted to have their own space to celebrate. The museum has been decades in the making and there are many reasons why.

One reason is it was built from the ground up costing just shy of $100 million dollars and the museum committed to raising most of the money before breaking ground. There’s so much African American history here in Charleston. This is another reason why this home base for the museum is unique.

“We did have the ability to reclaim the space of Gadsden’s Wharf, one of our nation’s most prolific international slave trading ports,” Matthews says.

Visitors can experience art installations in the African ancestor’s memorial garden, a genealogy lab, an infinity reflection pool whose art installation is based on a diagram of how Africans were packed in the bottom of slave ships and more.

“Nothing could be more appropriate as we settle into what I refer to as the middle of the African American journey,” Matthews says.

The museum can only give a peek into the African American journey, but they want to inspire people to be curious and find out the rest of the story.

Click here to learn more.

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