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TSU Partners with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture to Support University Museums and Archives

HOUSTON, TX – July 15, 2021 –Texas Southern University is one of five Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to partner with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) to support University museums and archives. The five-year project will enhance TSU’s ability to care for and share archives that tell the story of African Americans and their essential role in American culture and history. It also includes internships, training and a traveling exhibition of artifacts from the Universities’ collection.

“Texas Southern University is proud to partner with The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). We look forward to sharing our faculty expertise and University Museum resources to support the critical need of visually telling the story of African Americans and their many outstanding contributions. We are also grateful for the exposure and access this partnership will afford our students. TSU looks forward to collaborating with all of the selected HBCUs and The Smithsonian to create a unique experience!” said Dr. Lesia L. Crumpton-Young, president of Texas Southern University.

Led by the NMAAHC’s strategic partnership office, the partnership 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 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 world. 

“For the University Museum, participation in the Smithsonian HBCU consortium offers unique opportunities to expand our base of support with other institutions and offers most importantly unparalleled opportunities for our students to enter the museum field with enriching and hands-on experiences with museum professionals,” said Dr. Alvia Wardlaw, director and curator of the University Museum. 

Founded in 2000, the University Museum is home to thousands of African and African American art pieces. The vision of Texas Southern University’s first President, Dr. Raphael O’Hara Lanier, and renowned artist John Biggers, the museum features artwork that celebrates the African diaspora’s art and culture. It also hosts unique events, competitions, exhibitions, and educational programming to support the arts in Houston and surrounding areas. 

Dr. Needha Boutte-Queen, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences, said this paradigm-shifting partnership between the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and selected HBCUs affords phenomenal opportunities for growth and professional development of TSU students.  

“Through internships that directly engage students in intentionally designed learning opportunities, TSU is strategically poised to contribute to a unique pipeline of future museum professionals trained to support and preserve those collections that reflect and tell the stories of African Americans’ history and contributions to this country,” said Boutte-Queen. “Art majors and students enrolled in our newly created Museum Studies minor will be afforded opportunities never before available at this magnitude.”