Woodson African American Museum announces plans for new $27 million campus

Woodson African American Museum announces plans for new $27 million campus

Photo courtesy Huff Gooden and WJ Architects

The Woodson African American Museum in St. Pete announced that it will soon have a new and incredible expanded home as part of a $27 million plan. The project is in partnership with the Pinellas Community Foundation. In choosing to create a partnership with Pinellas Community Foundation, The Woodson sought an organization with deep community commitment, experience in fundraising, and reputation for collaborating on solutions that address the greatest needs of the county.  

The planned 30,000 square-foot facility will allow the museum to flourish and grow far beyond what it has already accomplished in its current location.

Moving to a new location in The Deuces district on 22nd Street South, The Woodson African American Museum of Florida – formerly known as The Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum – will be the first newly constructed landmark museum in the State of Florida built exclusively to celebrate African American history, art and culture. The 5.5-acre lot was donated by the city and will allow the museum to become a cultural and artistic destination for locals and visitors alike.

The announcement is significant news on multiple fronts, particularly for the museum itself that started out in a re-purposed rental office and community center in Jordan Park. Moving just a few blocks down the road, the Woodson African American Museum will grow from a 4,000 square-foot facility to a 30,000+ square-foot palace designed by renowned Black-owned Huff + Gooden Architects, in partnership with Wannemacher Jensen Architects.

Photo courtesy Huff Gooden and WJ Architects

Expansion to allow for international exhibits and global appeal

The Woodson has quickly outgrown its current home while fulfilling its mission to preserve, present and interpret African American history and culture. In addition to allowing for the expansion of current exhibits, the new building will be able to host national and international touring exhibits thanks to its plans to meet the art world’s rigorous standards for climate control and security.

In this massive expansion and upgrade, The Woodson plans to join other first-class museums in the area, such as The Dali, as a destination for visitors from across the globe.

“The African American experience in St. Petersburg and our country has too often been ignored, an after-thought, relegated to a space that limits or narrowly defines its impact rather than boldly celebrating its importance,” said Pinellas Community Foundation CEO, Duggan Cooley. “A purpose-built museum for African American history and culture raises the prominence of The Woodson and all that means to our community.”

Photo courtesy Huff Gooden and WJ Architects

The Woodson to become an “anchor” for historic Deuces neighborhood

The planning and development phases involved regular discussion and feedback from the community it aims to uplift as the museum said it wanted to ensure that the plans “are rooted in history and culture while preparing to meet the needs of future generations.”

The Woodson African American Museum envisions its new campus as an anchor for The Deuces, helping to further spark and inspire the revitalization of one of St. Pete’s most historic neighborhoods, a place that was once “the heart of a vibrant and prosperous African American community during the time of segregation, where Black businesses, homes, and entertainment thrived.”

The museum opened at Jordan Park in 2006 and was named for Carter G. Woodson, considered the Father of African American History. The Woodson’s mission is to bring individuals together from all walks of life, serving as a bridge and gateway for courageous, constructive and meaningful discussions regarding history, culture, race, equity and empowerment.

The museum aims to inspire and enlighten people who seek to learn more about the untold and rarely celebrated stories and contributions of African Americans at home and all over the world.

Current home of The Woodson African American Museum

Leadership looks forward to becoming a shining light in St. Pete

Terri Lipsey Scott, Executive Director of The Woodson, looks forward to the opportunity the expansive new facility will provide.

“The state of Florida deserves a properly constructed museum dedicated to showcasing the African American experience throughout Florida and beyond,” she said.

Check out updates from The Woodson African American Museum here, and follow along here at I Love The Burg for more information on construction and eventual opening dates and galleries.

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