FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Laura B. Tennyson
The Historic New Orleans African American Museum in Tremé to undergo a Six Million dollar Renovation and Expansion, Renaissance to include a new Community Education Center
While undergoing renovations the Museum will partner with the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation to curate and host a temporary Pop-Up gallery in the Foundations main lobby at N.Rampart and Gov. Nicholls, where it will also offer Tremé Walking Tours.
(NEW ORLEANS, LA MARCH 11, 2013) - The New Orleans African-American Museum Board of Directors announced today the beginning of a major construction project to expand, renovate, and modernize the campus of the New Orleans African American Museum (NOAAM) at 1418 Governor Nicholls Street in the historic Tremé. Construction is set to begin in April 2013, with projected completion scheduled for Winter 2013. The museum campus will temporarily close on March 16th and in a unique partnership with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, the museum will move its offices and operations to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation offices at 1205 N. Rampart Street, two blocks from the NOAAM museum campus in the historic Tremé, where it will curate a rotating Pop-Up Gallery in the lobby and launch its Tremé Walking Tours. The first exhibit at the NOAAM Pop-Up Gallery, entitled Congo Square Invitational, opens on March 23rd.
The scope of the renovation will include fortifying the historic Villa Meilleur-Goldthwaite, which was built in 1828, refurbishing (3) free standing creole cottage galleries that date back to the early 19th century, replanting the lush gardens, converting the newly acquired house at 1417-1419 Governor Nicholls into a state-of-the-art administrative and educational center and turning the adjacent empty lot into a side garden and parking area for museum-goers. Every gallery will be modified and reinstalled when the project is complete. The second phase includes the restoration of the historic Passebon Cottage, and an updated kitchen for catering events.
The Congo Square Invitational exhibit is a part of the Congo Square Rhythm Festival and will feature works by prominent African American artists reflecting on the meaning of Congo Square. "We are very excited to partner with the New Orleans African American Museum while they undergo their renovations. By offering museum goers an opportunity to experience the art in our Pop-Up Gallery in Tremé we are helping to continue NOAAM's mission of presenting art that preserves, interprets and promotes the African American cultural heritage of New Orleans," stated Don Marshall, Executive Director of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. The NOAAM Pop-Up Gallery will be open on Tuesday - Friday, 11am-4pm. For more information on the Pop-Up Gallery and Tremé Walking Tours, call (504) 566-1136 or visit http://www.noaam.org/.
As part of a $6 million dollar capital campaign by the NOAAM Board of Directors, the expansion and renovation has been made possible through a combination of funding sources including the City of New Orleans' Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program funded by the U.S. Housing and UrbanDevelopment (HUD) federal program. The NOAAM plans to leverage CDBG funds with Louisiana and Federal Historic Tax Credits and new market tax credits."The NOAAM has a great board of directors and great community partners including the Mayor's Office, members of the Council, First NBC, Liberty Bank, the Historic Faubourg Tremé Association, the Historic District Landmark Commission, and many others who have provided their expertise and ongoing support for this project. We could not have gotten this far without their concerted effort," stated Marsha Broussard, Board President.
The construction documents for the project were put out to bid in January and bids were received in February 2013. Billes Partners, the architectural, planning and interior design firm has designed the improvements and worked with the NOAAM Board to master plan, program, and produce designdocuments used to construct or renovate the campus of historic buildings within the Tremé Historic District. Gerry Billes of Billes Partners stated that, "We are proud to have been given the opportunity by the Board to be a part of such an important project within the Tremé Historic neighborhood and are now ready to commence construction of some of the most historic structures in the area. The renovations will show, in a museum setting, some of the quality workmanship of free-people-of-color whoboth lived and worked in Tremé. Although this phase-one will be a tribute to the City and to the African American community at large, there is much to be done in order to fully realize the complete vision of the NOAAM. Through continued financial support, the entire campus of buildings can be completed as designed. The capital building campaign has just begun and there will be anopportunity for donors to contribute to the success of this wonderful project."
As the museum undergoes the major renovation, the board of directors is working towards raising another two million to completely renovate and restore all of the buildings and $250,000 to support resuming the operations of the NOAAM. Towards this end, they are planning Visions of Tremé, a gala fundraiser in early September.
About The New Orleans African American Museum: The mission of the New Orleans African American Museum is to preserve, interpret and promote the African American cultural heritage of New Orleans, with a particular emphasis on the Tremé community. For more information, contact us 504-566-1136 or visit http://www.noaam.org/.