Beginning on April 8, 2013, The Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia will be restructuring their means of operation. The museum will no longer accept patrons on a walk-in basis, or accept appointments for tours as they transition to a new location. Although the museum has suspended regular operation hours during the transition, they will however still host and participate in many community events throughout the year. The Black History Museum hopes that by this change they can better aid not only their various constituents, but the community as well. “This is all part of the evolution of the Museum in order to better serve the interests of the community,” said Maureen Elgersman Lee, the Black History Museum’s executive director. “We have listened to our members, donors, and friends, and we are excited about becoming a more vibrant, engaging, and accessible institution’’.The new facility will be located on West Leigh Street. The museum has partnered with the City of Richmond’s Department of Economic and Community Development to renovate the Leigh Street Armory, which sits just three blocks away from the museum’s current location on Clay Street. More than $3 million have been donated to the museum’s project fund from the City of Richmond, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, as well as various donors. Cost for the renovations is expected to reach $13 million as predicted by the Bold Vision, Bright Future campaign. The museum’s new location holds very deep connections to Richmond’s black history. The armory, built in 1895, was the only armory built in the 19th century specifically for African American militias.
The Black History Museum plans to reopen its doors sometime in the latter portion of 2014. “This is an exciting time for the Museum, as we focus on our future,” stated Stacy L. Burrs, president of the Board of Directors. “Right now, all our efforts need to be concentrated on our capital campaign, on Armory renovation, and on new museum content. We can’t wait to open our doors on Leigh Street.”