International African American Museum (2017), Charleston, SC

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COMMUNITY IMPACT

TD Community Development Corporation (TDCDC) provided NMTC financing to the International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina, to assist in its construction project and opening. The International African American Museum’s long-term investment in South Carolina comes in the form of a $96 million state-of-the-art, interactive museum to educate the world on the under-told stories of African Americans. The museum illuminates Charleston’s role in the international
slave trade and connect visitors to the past, demonstrating how enslaved as well as freed African Americans shaped the economic, political and cultural development of the nation. Additionally, the museum includes a Center for Family History, designed to be a leading national genealogical research
center.

TDCDC’s NMTC allocation helped fabricate a dynamic space to house the museum’s exhibitions and create interactive educational galleries on African American history. The investment also helped create 186 new jobs in the Charleston community with benefits such as health insurance, paid personal time off, sick leave and retirement plans for full-time employees, along with apprenticeship, fellowship and wage-progression programs.

The museum, which is slated to open in 2022, is located at the historical site of Gadsden’s Wharf on the Cooper River in Charleston, S.C. The majority of African Americans can trace their family history back to this spot.

This museum is about a journey that began centuries ago in Africa, and still continues. It is about the journey of millions of Africans, captured and forced across the Atlantic in the grueling and inhumane Middle Passage, who arrived at Gadsden’s Wharf in Charleston, South Carolina and other ports in the Atlantic World. Their labor, resistance and ingenuity and that of their descendants shaped every aspect of our world.

The museum will sit on the shoulders of 18 strong columns. On the ground level, the African Ancestors Memorial Garden will highlight the original shoreline—the exact spot where so many captive Africans first set foot in America. There will be gardens for quiet contemplation, as well as space for performances and programs.

The museum’s exhibitions will share untold stories using classic techniques as well as new approaches driven by innovation, technology and digital interactivity. Themes will include connections across the African diaspora, the spread of African American culture and influence, and the movements for justice and equality. The Center for Family History will enable visitors to trace their genealogy, while changing exhibitions and special events will keep the museum energized. Educational programs will provide life-long learning opportunities for visitors both young and old.

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