With ambitious plans to build a National Slavery Museum south of Washington in a state of limbo, if not collapse, donors and others involved in the project wonder what went wrong, writes The Washington Post in an article tracing the troubled project’s history.
The U.S. National Slavery Museum filed for bankruptcy last fall, facing claims that it owes businesses $7-million. Donors who gave art and historical artifacts for the project say they have been unable to get information from museum officials on where their items are and how to get them back.
Former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder announced plans for the museum in 1993. Prominent African-Americans such as Bill Cosby and the leaders of Howard and Hampton universities offered public support. A 38-acre site was donated along I-95 in Fredericksburg, Va., for what was touted as a $100-million showplace designed by renowned architect C.C. Pei.
Former museum board members and experts who sought to support the effort said that over the years Mr. Wilder and other project leaders became increasingly inaccessible. The museum’s office was quietly closed in 2008 after its executive director left.
Mr. Wilder and his attorney did not respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment, and the former governor declined to answer a reporter’s questions at a recent public appearance, The Post says.