Richmond awarded $11 million for interactive center in Shockoe Bottom
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -The City of Richmond received a historic $11 million grant from the Mellon Foundation to make a new interpretive center city officials hope it will someday be part of a memorial campus honoring the memory of enslaved people.
The money from the foundation’s Monuments Project will fund the creation of a 12,300 sq. ft. interactive space at Main Street Station that will feature a welcome center, a programming/exhibition space, and an immersive experience to engage audiences in the complete history of Shockoe.
“This is a significant step toward bringing the Heritage Campus to fruition and toward telling the story of enslaved and freed people,” said Mayor Stoney. “I am deeply grateful to Elizabeth Alexander, President of the Mellon Foundation, and her incredible Monuments Project team for believing in our vision to commemorate this important national site of conscious[ness]. This historic investment will allow us to continue down the path our city and nation must walk toward reckoning, atonement, and ultimately, healing.”
The Shockoe Heritage Campus Interpretive Center will be on the north end of the first floor of the Main Street Station train shed adjacent to the current green space commemorating the Lumpkin’s Jail site and Devil’s Half Acre.
The center will orient visitors to Shockoe Bottom and provide informative and immersive educational and artistic content about Richmond’s role in the domestic trade of enslaved people.
It is just one part of the city’s vision for a Shockoe Heritage Campus, including a memorial park and a National Slavery Museum.
The city has already committed $27.9 million from the Capital Improvement Plan to build a Heritage Campus that will include a Memorial Park, conduct archeological work, and a community design charrette at Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground.
There are also plans to relocate and restore the Winfree Cottage, enhance the Richmond Slave Trail, siting and design the National Slavery Museum, and include greenways to connect destinations and economic development opportunities to add affordable housing, parking, and businesses to the area.
“Richmond’s removal of its Confederate monuments was only one part of us elevating and sharing the stories of our untold and complex history,” Mayor Stoney continued. “We have a responsibility to tell the story of Richmond’s role in the slave trade -- the lives of enslaved and freed people, and also of indigenous groups, Jewish communities and other immigrant populations that also impacted and resided in Shockoe. Our work at Shockoe will be centered on education, commemoration, and remembrance.”
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