In the scheme of the cataclysm that was March 2020, the closing of Say Their Names just two weeks after it opened was a small matter. It was a disappointment though. Though Imagination Station reopened later in the year, the pandemic raged on through the end of the year, and the exhibit closed in January 2021. Around that time though, Bill Myers, Executive Director of Freeman Round House and African-American Museum, reached out to ask if Say Their Names could move permanently to the Round House. Imagination Station said yes, and I, of course, agreed. Betsey Peters Rascoe and her talented team at Design Dimension adapted the original exhibit for the new space, which opened in March. If you weren’t able to see Say Their Names before, please stop by when you’re finally out and about again.
I met historical consultant Beth Nevarez in late February 2020, just a couple of weeks before COVID-19 shuttered the world. I followed Beth on Instagram @bethnevarezhistory and came to admire the work she does on behalf of two local institutions, the Tobacco Farm Life Museum and Ava Gardner Museum, to help them maintain their missions and keep their collections accessible in the unprecedented conditions created by a global pandemic. I was excited last fall to be able to connect Nevarez and Bill Myers, the Freeman Round House’s Executive Director, and the result is a fantastic update to the Round House museum’s website. The museum is now open with safety protocols in place, but until you’re able to get there, you can enjoy virtual tours of several of its exhibits. Please check it out here, and please consider including the Freeman Round House and African-American Museum in your giving plans. As a small institution with a unique and important local focus, it needs your support more than ever.