National Museum of African American History and Culture Receives $1 Million from Wells Fargo

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Lonnie BuncheA collection of two mining stock certificates and one piece of letterhead featuring the work of African American artist Grafton Tyler Brown, will be displayed in the Nat’l Museum of African American History and Culture’s inaugural exhibition scheduled to open in September 2016, compliments of Wells Fargo.

The certificates plus a $1 million donation were given to the Museum in an effort to “cultivate a deeper appreciation of the African American experience.”

“African American history is American history. Wells Fargo
is committed to celebrating the stories of African Americans in the hope
of bringing broader visibility to the experiences that best represent
an extraordinary community. We embrace the arts as a vehicle to
highlight history and culture, and feel deeply honored to support the
Smithsonian in bringing the African American story to life in such a
significant way,” says Lisa Frison, Vice President, African American Segment manager, Wells Fargo. 

“As one of the founding donors to our museum, Wells Fargo has provided
invaluable support to help us create a museum like no other in the
world,” said Lonnie G. Bunch III, director of the museum. “The documents
are coming into a collection of more than 40,000 objects which will
help us tell the African American story in a rich and compelling way,
reaching millions of visitors through exhibitions, interactive platforms
and the website.”

The Museum, which is being designed by architect David Adjaye, is set to open its doors in fall 2016 and has been  “in the making” for 10 years. According to CityLab.com, “When it does open its doors, the National Museum of African American History and Culture will be one of the most contradictory institutions on the National Mall. The history told by the museum is marked by moments of sweeping uplift and achievement, yet it’s framed by the wickedness of institutional terrorism. Its narrative is particular to a single proud people, but at the same time this history is core to every American’s experience, whether they recognize it or not.”

Currently under construction on a five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument, the Smithsonian’s 19th museum will be a place where Americans can explore and celebrate the richness and diversity of the African American experience. Since its start in 2003, the museum has built collections and designed 11 inaugural exhibitions covering major periods of African American history from its origins in Africa and continuing through slavery, the civil rights era, the Harlem Renaissance, the great migrations north and west and into the 21st century.

“This donation is a part of Wells Fargo’s ongoing commitment to supporting organizations that provide social, educational and cultural resources to the communities we serve. During the past four years, Wells Fargo has donated $1.1 billion in grants to nonprofits to support and revitalize communities, help charitable organizations, and grow local economies. The mining stock certificates and letterhead come directly from the Wells Fargo History Museum collection, which showcases the company’s shared history with communities in a network of 11 museums across the U.S.,” Frison told TNJ.com.

Other funders include Oprah Winfrey who donated $13 million. And according to online reports, Congress paid 50 percent of the costs for the building and staff while 43 percent came from private corporate sources.