Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Warren Black History Museum Fundraising For New Building

A new capital campaign underway to raise money for a new Warren County Black History Museum and Cultural Center.

Museum Director Mickey Gwyn said the city of McMinnville donated the property that once housed the city’s black high school, Bernard High School. He said the building will be a replica of a seven-room “Rosenwald School,” schools built in the South for black students in the early 1900s.

“We can have a little bit of expanded displays for some of our enshrined folks that are in the museum,” Gwyn said. “I think the variety of folks we have there, the stories we tell when they come through and do a tour of the museum, is what’s attributed to our growth.”

Gwyn said he hopes to start construction in the next three years and open the doors by 2029. Gwyn said funding will take time to make the facility a reality, but it’s important to the county’s history.

“We have some folks that are enshrined in the museum that have done great things from a local level, to a state level, to a national level,” Gwyn said. “when people come through and see those folks, not knowing they’re from Warren County, that kind of peaks their interest.”

Gwyn said the demographic of Warren County has evolved over the years. He said the cultural center will represent the many different cultures that now call the county home. He said there are now 13 different languages spoken at Warren County High School and he wants each one depicted in the center.

“We are currently leasing the building that we’re in now at the Old McMinnville Clinic,” Gwyn said. “It’s not really conducive to a museum. We just wanted to open the doors when we opened there in 2021.”

He said the museum has some $50,000 for its operating budget, but is at ground zero in raising construction costs.

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