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Mellon Foundation awards $1.5 million grant to IAAM

The New York-based Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the International African American Museum (IAAM) a $1.5 million grant: $1 million to support the museum’s creation and construction and $500,000 to support the IAAM’s chief curatorial position.

“Our relationship with the Mellon Foundation began in earnest in 2017 when the IAAM was awarded a $150,000 grant, which enabled us to hire our Chief Curator one year ahead of schedule. We are proud that the Foundation has seen fit to extend its support of the IAAM’s curatorial leadership, thereby expanding its commitment to the creation of this great institution,” said Joseph P. Riley, Jr., IAAM board member and former Charleston mayor.

The Mellon Foundation was particularly interested in the museum’s mission of exploring the African Diaspora, the mass dispersion of millions of African people through the Transatlantic slave trade—a sprawling, international concept—through the lenses of Charleston, the Lowcountry and South Carolina. The grant will allow the IAAM to explore ways in which regional history is interconnected to the global story of Africans and African descendants, while illuminating Diasporic themes like resistance, creativity and resilience.