Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum.

Three months ago, there was an article in a local newspaper about the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, saying that there was controversy between certain members of the community and the Museum. Said article stated that control of the Museum might be taken from current staff and be turned over to SPC.

By coincidence, Sharon Norwood, who interned at Mindy Solomon Gallery years ago, had a one-woman show there. My first visit, was followed by a brief write-up on Facebook, complete with photographs. Since then, I have returned for three other visits.

This is a gem of a small museum in service to its community. The shows I have seen are well-themed and curated, reflecting its mission. The place is spotless, the staff friendly, knowledgeable and informative. As with most small museums, it multitasks for social functions. My most recent visit was for the Juneteenth Celebration.

I arrived late, to find drummers and an ongoing town meeting/group discussion where everyone spoke their piece about community concerns in turn. At the end of this, people went outside into the beautiful gardens behind the main structure, and small fireworks were set off in a family-like gathering. I also took photographs of this and put them on Facebook. They can be accessed on my personal page.

From my visits to the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, what I have observed first-hand is a good, ethnic, small, well-run museum doing what small ethnic museums do. By any measure it is an asset to the community it serves and the city of Saint Petersburg as well.

--- Luis Gottardi

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