October 12, 2021
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Woodson African American Museum of Florida (The Woodson) and Pinellas Community Foundation (PCF) have joined forces to raise $27 million for a new and expanded museum. In choosing to create a partnership with PCF, The Woodson sought an organization with deep community commitment, fund raising experience, and reputation for collaborating to address the greatest needs of the county.
“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 celebrating its importance”Tweet this
The Woodson African American Museum of Florida − formerly called The Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum – will be the first newly constructed landmark museum in Florida dedicated to celebrating African American history, art, and culture. The existing museum operates in the former community center of Jordan Park, one of the nation’s first African American developed public housing communities, constructed in 1939. After Jordan Park’s reconstruction in 2006, the community center was repurposed as a museum and named to honor the father of African American history, Dr. Carter G. Woodson.
“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 celebrating its importance,” said Duggan Cooley, CEO of PCF.
Terri Lipsey Scott, The Woodson executive director, said “Florida deserves a properly constructed museum dedicated to showcasing the African American experience throughout Florida and beyond,” noting the museum will be the state’s first built as new construction specifically showcasing the contributions of African Americans.
Due to Woodson’s growth and popularity, the museum has exceeded the use of its current single-story 4,000 square foot facility. The vision for the new 30,000 square foot edifice, designed by renowned Black-owned Huff + Gooden Architects, in partnership with Wannemacher Jensen, is the result of broad community discussion with renowned museum experts held by The Woodson’s leadership, co-sponsored by the City of St. Petersburg. The discussions helped guide the plans, ensuring they are rooted in history and culture while meeting the needs of future generations.
The new museum is planned on 5.5 acres of city-donated land along 22nd Street South in The Deuces just blocks from The Woodson’s current location. The Deuces, the most historic, celebrated African American corridor in St. Petersburg, was once a thriving epicenter for Black businesses and culture during segregation. The community is undergoing revitalization as a prosperous arts district with an African American Heritage Trail embodying the community’s rich history.
The Woodson’s mission to preserve, present, and interpret African American history and culture has garnered a broad audience, including community partners, members, volunteers, and friends. It brings individuals together from all walks of life, serving as a bridge for courageous, constructive, and meaningful discussions regarding history, culture, race, equity, and empowerment. The museum inspires and enlightens people who seek to learn more about the untold or rarely celebrated stories and contributions of African Americans.