(JACKSON, Miss.) — Jackson State University is one of five HBCUs joining the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture’s (NMAAHC) consortium to enhance their ability to care for and share archives that tell the story of African Americans and their essential role in American culture and history. The consortium also includes Clark Atlanta University, Florida A&M University, Texas Southern University, and Tuskegee University.
“The HBCU consortium is an exceptional enterprise, which will enhance and elevate the significant work of HBCUs like JSU, where we pride ourselves on a history of academic and public programming connected to the Black experience,” said Thomas K. Hudson, president of JSU.
The project, led by NMAAHC’s strategic partnerships office, features:
- Internships, fellowship programs and professional training for underrepresented groups to establish a pipeline of museum and archive specialists in the next generation.
- Assistance in digitizing HBCU collections and creating a digital archive in an easily accessible format for academic scholars and the general public.
- Development of a traveling exhibition drawing on the most compelling collections from the partner universities that will begin at NMAAHC and then travel to the consortium members and other venues around the country.
“We are honored to be a part of this HBCU initiative with the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and we look forward to all the ways we’ll be able to expand access to the Margaret Walker Center’s collections and ensure their availability for generations to come,” said Dr. Robert Luckett, director of the Margaret Walker Center at JSU, which houses over 40 manuscript collections, more than 2,000 oral histories and other numerous historical assets.
A launch meeting of the consortium was held virtually on March 23. Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III and NMAAHC Director Kevin Young spoke at the event and were joined by members of the consortium’s advisory committee: National Endowment for the Humanities Acting Chair Adam Wolfson, Institute of Museum and Library Services Director Crosby Kemper III and Johnnetta Cole, former director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art. Also in attendance were the participating HBCU presidents:
- Thomas Hudson, president of Jackson State University
- George French Jr., president of Clark Atlanta University
- Larry Robinson, president of Florida A&M University
- Kenneth Huewitt, interim president of Texas Southern University
- Charlotte Morris, interim president of Tuskegee University