America’s Black Holocaust Museum has received a multimillion-dollar commitment from an anonymous donor to support its new museum and plans to open an adjacent building for academic programming.
The funding will be carried out in two phases, ABHM said in a statement. The objective of phase one is to open and expand the museum for public use, while the second phase is focused on supporting the “long-term goals of sustainability and development of the museum to ensure the mission and vision can be carried out in perpetuity,” ABHM said.
Museum leaders will unveil more details about the donation, which was made through the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, at an event next week.
The new museum space at 401 W. North Ave. is scheduled to open on Feb. 25, 2022. The funding will focus on “expanding and enhancing the exhibits in the building, completing all necessary additions and upgrades as well as the grand re-opening,” the museum said.
It also will support the addition of staff and community programs, including the museum’s recent acquisition of the adjacent former Community Warehouse Inc. building at 324 W. North Ave. for academic programming. State records show ABHM acquired the 36,900-square-foot building for $950,000.
The late James Cameron, who survived a lynching in 1930 when he was 16 years old, founded the original America’s Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee in 1988 to explore under-told stories of the African American experience and the harmful legacy of slavery and to promote racial repair, reconciliation and healing. Cameron died in 2006 when he was 92.
The museum closed its doors as a result of the Great Recession in 2008 and has provided virtual programming since 2012. The new space was built as part of a larger mixed-use project at the corner of Vel R. Phillips Avenue and North Avenue.
ABHM said its strategic plan, developed by consultant NMBL Strategies, “provides a roadmap to growth and sustainability for generations to come.”
New galleries in the space will take visitors on a chronological journey through the over 400 years of history of African Americans from pre-captivity to the present.