America’s Black Holocaust Museum has named Robert Davis, a nonprofit consultant and former Zoological Society of Milwaukee leader, as its new president and chief executive officer.
Davis takes the helm of the museum as it prepares to re-open at 401 W. North Ave. in Milwaukee’s Bronzeville district. The museum has been closed since 2008, two years after the passing of its founder Dr. James Cameron. 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.
The new museum is a program of the Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation, which was founded in 2012 by friends and supporters of Cameron to continue his legacy.
"It is indeed an honor to continue the great and most necessary work of Dr. Cameron,” Davis said. “He not only was one of the world's only survivors of a public lynching, but also a true Griot (West African term for storyteller). We must celebrate and advance his vision by keeping America's Black Holocaust Museum alive."
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Davis was president and CEO of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee from 2005 to 2015, during which he secured a $6.7 million gift, the foundation’s largest donation to date. He went on to be president and CEO of the Dubuque County Historical Society and the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Iowa.
Most recently, he was principal of nonprofit strategic consulting firm DRMD Strategies, LLC.
“Of all the candidates in our search, we felt that Dr. Davis had the greatest combination of skills, experience and commitment to help make the long awaited reopening of the museum successful for generations to come,” said Ralph Hollmon, ABHM board chair.
Since shuttering its doors in 2008, ABHM has operated as a virtual museum. The new building is part of a $17.7 million project led by Maures Development LLC and Jeffers & Co. that also includes the new Griot Apartments.
Museum officials have not yet announced an official opening date for the new ABHM.