Nearly five years after a ceremonial groundbreaking, the United States National Slavery Museum in Fredricksburg, Virginia appears stalled by "sluggish fundraising" according to the Associated Press.
The museum was supposed to cost $200, however it's unclear how much the organizers still need.
Despite millions of dollars in private and public dollars committed to the museum, organizers have given an unclear accounting of their finances: While the museum cites $50 million available, a 2006 tax return obtained by The Associated Press details $17.6 million in assets, much of that believed to be the value of a 38-acre proposed site.L. Douglas Wilder, the nation's first black elected governor, had originally tapped powerful friends like Bill Cosby and Ben Vereen. Unfortunately, Museum director Vonita Foster told a reporter that she is unsure of current finances.
"The money was just flowing in at one point," Foster said. "But then it just stopped after Katrina" as people focused on hurricane relief efforts. At the same time, Foster said museum officials had to pay an army of consultants and exhibit designers.When contacted by the AP, neither developer Silver Companies nor architect C.C. Pei could say when the museum would open. Oh dear. That doesn't sound good. They better hurry. A $500 million National Museum of African American History and Culture, part of the Smithsonian, is planned to open in 2015 about an hour north, in Washington.
"We have blueprints, we have drawings, we have exhibit designs," she said. "... We are at a point where we can actually begin building because of all the money we have spent," she said. "And it's not cheap."