Environmental Issues Delay Opening of International African-American Museum

The opening of the International African-American Museum in Charleston, SC has been delayed, according to ABC News. The opening, which was planned for January, is now being delayed due to temperature issues and humidity in the building.

Officials from the International African-American Museum released a statement announcing the delay on social media. The IAAM was scheduled to open on Jan. 21, 2023.

“Our ancestors’ stories are steeped in the art and artifacts we’re entrusted with preserving. This delay will ensure that the museum achieves the conditions required to preserve and protect our most sensitive artifacts and art,” read the announcement. “Our community, loyal members, and partners deserve a world-class experience that upholds IAAM’s mission to honor our ancestors. Postponing to the first half of 2023 will allow us to keep that promise.”

The statement also thanked the community for its support as they continue preparations for the opening.

“We deeply appreciate the support you all have provided thus far. We ask for your continued understanding as we work towards a solution. The IAAM looks forward to providing you an experience which upholds our commitment to honor the untold stories of the African American journey.”

The museum is located on Gadsden Wharf, the site where tens of thousands of enslaved Africans first entered the United States. IAAM Board of Directors Chairman Wilbur Johnson discussed the delay with News 2 on Dec. 19 and said that it was important to protect the portraits and objects selected for the museum.

“We have to be sure that there’s proper humidity, proper temperature control that will not permit those objects, those portraits, those artistic expressions, to be damaged in anyway or diminished in anyway,” said Johnson.

“We consider it, what you might refer to as a sacred obligation.”

A new date for the opening has not been set, but Johnson said the museum was working with the City of Charleston to resolve the issues.