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Pros speak on slave museum page 5
African-American museum professionals weigh in on ingredients for a good start-up

Date published: 8/30/2004



In Tennessee, a museum waited to hire its director shortly before opening and that person wound up scrambling for artifacts.

And then there was the case in Connecticut where museum officials hired an architect who had never designed a museum before. That project cost a few hundred million dollars and wound up with $37 million in changes.

In Raleigh, plenty of people were eager to assist in making Wilder's dream a reality--people who started other museums and have taken part in various stages of museum development.

"I would love to get involved in the project, which is why I keep checking the Web site," said Nikki DeJesus of Washington, who helped develop Baltimore's Reginald F. Lewis Museum during her 31/2 years as its chief executive officer and executive director.

Professionals in the African-American museum community want to see the slavery museum succeed; they just think it's past time for information to start flowing.

"There are a lot of us who would do everything we could to help," said historian Bunch.

"This one needs to be out there visibly already," he added, "demonstrating not only that the story is worthy but the institution is worthy of support."

To reach PAMELA GOULD: 540/657-9101 pgould@freelancestar.com

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