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April 22, 1997 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-04-22

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 22, 1997 - 5

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MARGARET MYERS/Daily

A group enters Detroit's new Museum of African American History on Sunday afternoon. The museum opened to the public on April 12.

By Alice Robinson

Daily Staff Reporter

ETROIT - At 120,000 square
feet, it's no wonder Detroit's
new Museum of African
American History is attracting so
much attention.
"This last week we were inundated
with phone calls from the international
'ress,"said Stephanie Clark, director of
public relations-and marketing for the
museum.
Clark said that representatives from
as far away as the African nations of
Ghana, Benin and South Africa attend-
ed the April 12 unveiling of the largest
African American history museum in
the country.
The entire collection features listen-
ing rooms, photos and artifacts as part
of the exhibits, as well as a life-like
eplica of a slave ship.
Many say they hope college students
interested in African American history
will use the museum as a starting point
for research, and in turn will increase
their own knowledge.
"In terms of the college-age student
body ... I think that it will represent the
wealth and the resources of the African
American experience, but again it will
nly be as beneficial as the extent to
which people utilize their resources
there," said Prof. Ronald Woods of the
Center for Afroamerican and African
Studies at the University.
Woods said he has already observed
students' interest in the vast collection.

"I know that some were present at the
opening a week or so ago," he said.
"Others had expressed interest and
plans to attend."
Students said the museum empha-
sizes an overlooked part of history.
"I think that it's a great chance for
people to see another side of history,
something that can often go unno-
ticed in general society," said LSA
junior Charlotte Gillingham, who is
an African American studies concen-
trator.
"I hope to visit it soon. Maybe after
finals," Gillingham said.
Clark said the i
museum will
serve an impor- I'veb
tant function in
the college com- Standing
munity. "It will
provide an addi- eight hot
tional resource
for college stu- because;
dents to come
and do research place,
on African_
American histo-
ry," she said. M
Clark said
officials hope
the museum will eventually evolve
into a "scholarly research center."
The museum's high-profile opening
is leading the way for a breakthrough in
Detroit, long viewed as last on tourists'
vacation lists, Clark said.

"The museum actually has been a
shining star for the entire city of
Detroit," Clark said.
"Our museum will probably become
a pretty major tourist point," said LSA
senior Loren McGhee, who is from
Detroit.
Those exploring the museum Sunday
said visiting the huge complex was an
insightful experience. The museum is
located on East Warren Street, next to
the Detroit Science Center.
"I was kind of shocked there's only
one gallery, but actually it's so full of

things to see and

een
here for
Urs

do (that) I'm
impressed. I'm
overwhelmed,"
said Detroit
resident Linda
Mahone.
M u s e u m
officials said
a decent view-
ing of the
museum usu-
ally takes
from 45 min-
utes to an
hour.
"I think

I love the
-- Shaka Tettah
useum volunteer

the museum and said the new building
was an improvement over the former
Museum of African American History
in Detroit.
"I've been standing here for eight
hours because I love the place," he said.
"We've come a long way from that little
shack we had down on Grand
Boulevard."
Eastern Michigan University junior
Tasha Weathers said she found the
exhibits "very informative.
"I like the tiles where they have
the different slang (terms) and
where they originated . from,"
Weathers said.
One visitor said viewing the exhibits
helped her relate to herself "I thought it
was real educational," said Detroit resi-
dent Shelly Dunbar. "I learned a lot of
things ... It was really enlightening for
me to learn more about where I came
from.
Dunbar said that her favorite exhib-
it was the re-creation of the slave
ship.
Woods said the- museum has a
tremendous amount to offer visitors.
Ile encouraged students to "visit it,
study it, because there is quite a bit
that one is not able to take in merely on
visiting."
And just how many people does
Clark expect will come out in the next
12 months?
"We anticipate half a million visitors
in its inaugural year.
Estimated visitors:
The Museum estimates
that about .5 million
people will visit the
Detroit museum by next
April.

most people
come down to see the ship," said
museum volunteer Shaka Tettah, a
Detroit resident who was monitoring
the entrance to one of the exhibits
Sunday afternoon.
Tettah expressed his enthusiasm for
American History
eet, making it the
nerican museum in the
nd largest
African
onian in Washington,

MARGARET MYERS/D
Michelle Hudson and her nephews Brandon Washington and Wynton tacy check
out the names of African Americans who have made a difference. The names are
written on the floor of the Museum of African American History.

z. I -- , !!Tl

1997 CLASS ACT

PRE- LAW JUNIORS AND SENIORS
ARE INVITED TO COMPETE FOR
THE LBJ FREEDOM AWARD
A CIINKA P IMTFDN IP I~INIANiNi ARBOR~

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