The Charleston International African American Museum (IAAM) is one step closer to construction. On Wednesday, Blackbaud gave it’s biggest donation ever to the museum.
Blackbaud President and CEO Michael Gianoni says, “I am pleased to announce that Blackbaud will make a $1 million gift to the International African American Museum.”
The museum has a price tag of $75 million, and the museum is 67% of the way to its goal with funds coming from the city, county, state, and private donors.
Former Mayor Joe Riley says, “We work on it every day and it is my chief goal in life, and we need to get the money raised by this time next year.”
The museum will be at Gadsden’s Wharf next to the Charleston Maritime Center downtown.
Riley says, “About 50% of African Americans that were brought to North America came here and most of them set their first footsteps on this land at Gadsden’s Wharf.”
Because of that, Riley says about 80% of African Americans in this country can trace their heritage to this piece of land in Charleston. With the money from Blackbaud and their partnership providing the latest technology, the museum is going to help people better understand their heritage.
IAAM President and CEO Michael Moore says, “Through DNA testing we can help you identify where you came from. So for African Americans, again, the vast majority don’t have a clue about where in the continent of Africa, and we will be able to tell them. And then, the DNA research these days is so powerful that it is also connecting cousins. So you can walk out not only knowing where you’re from, and your history in this country and beyond, but then we can also connect you with others who are part of your extended family.”
The Blackbaud money will also help build a digital media lab with interactive exhibits and web tools to allow people access to the information who can’t come visit the museum in person. Riley hopes the museum will begin construction around June 2017 and be finished by the end of 2018.
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