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Case Statement for the Minnesota African American Museum

Case Statement for the Minnesota African American Museum

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Published by Chris Stewart
A detailed account on the importance of supporting MAAM
A detailed account on the importance of supporting MAAM

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Chris Stewart on Apr 07, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/23/2013

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Minnesota African American Museum: Why?
Minnesota is one of 11 states without an exclusive repository for the study of African American lives and contributions to the state’s history. While othermuseums, from time to time, create exhibits that focus on African American livesand communities in the state, MAAM’s sole mission will be to connect a rich past totoday, through an authentic, inclusive and diverse lens. Importantly, the MAAM willcelebrate African American history to share with all Minnesotans and visitors to thestate. Though small in numbers, African Americans were some of the Minnesota’s earliestsettlers, making substantive contributions to the state’s development – some thatimpacted the entire nation. What would the country be like without FredrickMcKinley Jones’ refrigeration innovations?; Roy Wilkin’s civil rights leadership?;Lenna Smith’s founding of a law firm (1921)and the Urban League (1924?); and JohnDonaldson’s talent, charisma and courage on baseball fields from the 1920s-1940s?
 A state that knows and honors its entire history is powerful.
Sadly, theentire history of Minnesota’s communities of color has mostly been sanitized ormarginalized. MAAM’s exhibits will shed new understanding on what is known andshine a spotlight on what is mostly unknown. An accurate and inclusive historyprovides the foundation for understanding by sharing the lives, events and stories ina way that builds cultural pride and mutual respect; it will Inspire everyone aboutlife's possibilities.
Research shows that students learn best and are more highly motivated when the school curriculum reflects their cultures,experiences, and perspectives
.
 
Learning occurs far beyond the classroom,especially in the Twin Cities which is known for being one of the most raciallysegregated metropolitan areas in the nation, for having the largest achievementgap between African Americans and white students and for the nation’s widestdisparity between black and white employment rates.As it has with its
Trunk-It Tours
prior to the official opening of its building, MAAM willshare its knowledge with teachers and students in the classroom so that curriculumand teaching practices include African American culture. Engagement betweenMAAM and schools will help fill a void with high quality African American specificresources for classroom teachers.MAAM’s educational mission directly addresses the issue of inclusiveness. TheMAAM will help increase cultural competence among educators, community leadersand school neighbors. Adding the missing dimension from historical accounts isaffirming, a subtle and powerful message of inclusion and, by implication, self-worth. Finding and incorporating “absent narratives” is at the heart of MAAM’swork.
 A beautiful public space for learning, the MAAM and Cultural Center will motivate learning, help build self-esteem, create new dreamsand advance cross-cultural and inter-generational communicationand understanding.
MAAM’s 8,000 square foot Queen Anne structure is
 
enlivened by varied surface textures, multiple two-story bays, spindled porches andbalconies, and chimney stacks above its multi-gabled roof. Although many similarhomes were built in the late nineteenth century, few have survived withoutsignificant alterations. The Coe Mansion and Carriage House are significant as anunusually picturesque representative of the Queen Anne style in an urbanenvironment and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The MAAM is restoring and preserving a state treasure. When complete, MAAM willcontribute to the economy, first with renovation jobs and later fostering culturaltourism and stabilizing and increasingproperty values. Its location, across I-94 from the Minneapolis Convention Centerprovides easy access for visitors and tour requests are awaiting the completedbuilding. The renovation of the Coe Mansion, underway for almost six months, includes allnew mechanical and electrical systems, new accessible restrooms, repair of theexisting historic wood windows and highly decorative woodwork, stairways, wallpanels and parquet floors. The elegant brick exterior will be cleaned and repointed.MAAM’s administrative offices and space for visiting scholars and students internswill be in the Carriage House.
The Coe Mansion will contain MAAM’s Exhibit Center:
 
1
st
Floor – A
rotating gallery exhibit space
, including hands-on and interactiveexhibits.
2
nd
Floor – Showcase for
Minnesota’s NorthStar Pioneers
, a permanent exhibit.
3
rd
Floor -- Home to
Children's Village
an early learning literacy center forchildren ages 3-7. Children will go on adventures with African American classicssuch as Leontyne Prices' the Ethiopian Princess in the opera "Aida" and EulaMae’s Neighborhood in “Chicken Sunday.”
Basement – storage for MAAM archives.
Highlights of Planned Museum Programs:
Inaugural Exhibit – Spring 2013
Bringing it on Home, Negro Baseball and the Minnesota Twins,
will show that thestory of Negro baseball is the story of Civil Rights in America. Sponsored by theMinnesota Twins, exhibit materials were purchased from the Negro Baseball Hallof Fame. And MAAM is working with Children's Theatre Company (CTC) on a minibaseball exhibit during its performances of 
“Jackie and Me.” 
Painting a thorough portrait of a game that is intertwined with our nation'shistory and culture, students will get an up-close view of treasured memorabiliaand will be able to trace the history of baseball, and the Civil Rights Movement.Students will understand the math behind the stats and the science (physics)involved in the game. All will learn of the personal character required to becomea leader both on and off the playing field.
Children's village
-- 3rd floor exhibit offers a rich early literacy learningenvironment for children, parents, and teachers and at the same time extendsits distinct practices to professionals in schools and museums through aneducational outreach program
MAAM Goals
Engage the community in meaningful volunteer and leadership Roles
 To help history come to life, recruit, train and deploy 18 high school studentsand 18 senior citizens to serve as docents to leading exhibit tours andinteract with visitors.
Recruit, train and support a Youth Advisory Board of 6-12
th
grade students tooperate in parallel with the Museum’s Board of Directors, commenting onexhibits and outreach strategies.Become a trusted resource for classroom teachers

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