Construction begins on Black History Museum in Jackson Ward

Construction begins on Black History Museum in Jackson Ward

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - After years of watching and waiting, work has finally gotten underway on the new Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia in Jackson Ward.

The historic Leigh Street Armory is transforming into a construction site. A fence has been placed around the property and crews have started working.

Hard hats and reflective vests are visible as crews are preparing to transform history.

The Leigh Street Armory in Jackson Ward dates back to 1895 - making it the oldest surviving armory in Virginia and the only armory built for an all-black militia in the country. Now, the Black History Museum is preparing to relocate here.

The museum's CEO Stacy Burrs says a lot of work has to be done. Everything from restoring exterior brick and mortar to installing heating and air conditioning, new electrical and rehabbing walls and floors.

Nearby resident Regina Green has never visited the museum at its current site on Clay Street, but is excited about what the project could do for area.

"I think it's good, because the children will get a chance to know about African American history," said Green. "I think it's good for the neighborhood and gives them a chance to come out and participate and learn more, so I think it'll be a blessing."

Burrs says the museum's new location will give it more room and opportunities, allowing it to host traveling exhibits and larger models that before wouldn't have fit in the Clay Street location. They hope to have the museum open by November of 2015.

Between construction, endowment and eminence costs, he estimates costs at about $13 million.

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