Five-Year Project Includes Internships, Training and a Traveling Exhibition of Artifacts From the Universities’ Collections

Ayer Hall, which houses the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University. Photo courtesy of the Division of Communications and Marketing at the HBCU Campaign Fund.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) announced a partnership with five Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to enhance their ability to care for and share archives that tell the story of African American and their essential role in American culture and history. The consortium includes Clark Atlanta University, Florida A&M University, Jackson State University, Texas Southern University and Tuskegee University.

The project, led by NMAACH’s strategic partnerships office, features:

  • Internships, fellowship programs and professional training for underrepresented groups to establish a pipeline of museum and archive specialists in the next generation.
  • Assistance in digitizing HBCU collections and creating a digital archive in an easily accessible format for academic scholars and the general public.
  • Development of a traveling exhibition drawing on the most compelling collections from the partner universities that will begin at NMAAHC and then travel to the consortium members and other venues around the country.
The Oaks, the home of Booker T. Washington, first president of Tuskegee University. The home was completed in 1900. Photo courtesy of the Division of Communications and Marketing at the HBCU Campaign Fund.

A launch meeting of the consortium was held virtually March 23, Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III and NMAAHC Director Kevin Young spoke at the event and were joined by members of the consortium’s advisory committee: National Endowment for the Humanities Acting Chair Adam Wolfson, Institute of Museum and Library Services Director Crosby Kemper III and Johnnetta Cole, former director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art. Also in attendance were the presidents of the five universities:

  • George French Jr., president of Clark Atlanta University
  • Larry Robinson, president of Florida A&M University
  • Thomas Hudson, president of Jackson State University
  • Kenneth Huewitt, interim president of Texas Southern University
  • Chalotte Morris, interim president of Tuskegee University

“We are honored to be a part of this HBCU initiative with the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and we look forward to all the ways we’ll be able to expand access to the Margaret Walker Center’s collections and ensure their availability for generations to come,” said Dr. Robert Luckett, director of the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University, which houses over 40 manuscript collections, more than 2,000 oral histories and other numerous historical assets.

NMAAHC’s strategic partnerships office, established in 2012 (four years before the museum opened), explores issues facing HBCUs and identifies ways to strengthen and sustain their museums, archives and libraries. Outreach programs such as the consortium as part of NMAAHC’s core mission. More information can be found on the office’s website.

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About the NMAAHC
Since opening Sept. 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has welcomed over 7 million visitors. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the national’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. For more information about the museum, visit nmaahc.si.edu or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.

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