The Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum is looking to expand its reach.
In the past few months a new board has taken control of the museum and is looking to branch out into the community. Terri Lipsey Scott, the board chairwoman, said it plainly: "It's time to do some things."
The fledgling museum is working to partner with the St. Petersburg Museum of History on a grant project that will benefit local youths.
In addition, it has lined up several exhibits for the winter and spring, including "Buck: Right On Time," a traveling art exhibit about John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo.
To touch on local St. Petersburg style, the museum plans a spring "Crowns" exhibit, which will feature fashionable hats from women in the city.
And a homecoming concert for Veronika Jackson, a St. Petersburg native who is now a blues and folk singer, is in the works. Dates will be announced this winter.
All of these events come at considerable added cost, which in part is helped by a recent fundraising campaign that allows major donors to become "Friends of the Museum."
On Jan. 20, the group, along with the International Association of Firefighters Local 747, will host a "History in the Making" luncheon for the inauguration of President-elect Obama.
The luncheon, which begins at 11 a.m. at the Coliseum, will allow patrons to view the inaugural festivities. Speakers will include St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker.
Scott, the head of the museum board, said of Baker, "he understands the importance of unity, not only in our community but in our nation throughout. When asked if he would participate, he graciously accepted the invitation."
The moves being made by the new board are drawing accolades from donors and supporters.
"I think that the museum, it's like a beacon of light in a sense that it's working toward capturing the local history as well as displaying the history of the Negro community at large," said Sarlie McKinnon, 37.
"I think it's headed in a good direction," said Ann Taylor, 62, a donor who grew up in St. Petersburg.
"The goal and the objective is to bring to the community the forefront of everything we're trying to do: to tell a story that has been long overdue, and to have it told by the people who lived it while they're still around."
Austin Bogues can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8872.