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Mpls. Museum Dedicated To African-American History

(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s newest museum will be a historic mansion, located on the edge of Minneapolis’s Stevens neighborhood.

“It was a mansion, a boarding house, an orphanage, a rooming house, a residence and now it’s going to be a museum,” said Nathan Johnson, the architect who is overseeing the renovation.

He’s turning the mansion built in the 1880’s into the Minnesota African-American Museum, which will open in mid-May.

It’s a major undertaking. The 8,000 square foot building cost $1 million to buy, and it will take another $3 million to complete the renovation, but backers believe it will be worth every penny.

“To have that beacon, to have that place, to have that source of information is going to be life-changing,” said Roxanne Givens, one of the museum’s founders.

The goal is to highlight under-appreciated aspects of Minnesota’s history and to educate kids of all backgrounds. They’ll start in mid-May with an interactive baseball exhibit, and this time next year, host their own tribute on Martin Luther King Day.

“365 days a year,” Givens said. “Can you imagine the stories that can be told, not just one day, and not just one month?”

The Museum will open with two floors of exhibit space and later add early childhood exhibits on the third floor. Like the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, it will also be available for private parties.

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