Friday, May 07, 2004

Black Museums in Trouble

Last month Detroit's Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the nation's largest black museum, announced its financial troubles. This month it's Philadelphia's African American Museum, which has a $30,000 shortfall and is relying on volunteers to keep it open.

Granted, museums nationwide are struggling to compete for folks' attention in this super-options world. Folks are tightening up their wallets. Yet a couple questions nag me: why aren't black folks adequately supporting these museums? Both Detroit and Philly have enough buppies to pursue as potential donors. Where are the creative marketing strategies to draw folks from various backgrounds to these places, to increase their value to the city? Despite requests to do so, in neither instance should government (i.e., taxpayers) be stepping in to bail museums out.