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IAAM receives $1.5 million Mellon Foundation grant

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The International African American Museum is expected to break ground later this year and open to the public in 2021. (Rendering/International African American Museum)The International African American Museum has received a $1.5 million grant from the New York-based Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the museum’s creation.

The museum will use $1 million for construction of the International African American Museum on the former site of Gadsden’s Wharf and $500,000 to support the museum’s chief curatorial position.

The Mellon Foundation previously awarded the International African American Museum a $150,000 grant in 2017 to allow it to hire its chief curator a year ahead of schedule.

“We are proud that the foundation has seen fit to extend its support of the IAAM’s curatorial leadership, thereby expanding its commitment to the creation of this great institution,” former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said in a news release.

The museum’s chief curator is Joy Bivins, who joined the International African American Museum in 2018 after 16 years at the Chicago History Museum.

“This museum is about choosing and presenting stories in ways that are impactful and resonant with our visitors,” said Michael Boulware Moore, museum president and CEO, in the release. “Joy is a skilled museum professional who will do just that. We’re honored that the Mellon Foundation has chosen to extend its commitment to the IAAM in a meaningful way.”

The International African American Museum is expected to break ground later this year and open to the public in 2021.

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