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Big changes coming to MTCC!

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center - Friday, December 11, 2020

Christina Shutt, directorFor the past two years, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center has been working on a capital campaign to reimagine what it means to tell the African American story in Arkansas in a way that updates our 12-year-old educational exhibit and widens its focus to share a more complete story of black Arkansans from across the state. A key component of this includes creating the first-of-its-kind museum exhibit in the U.S. specifically designed to help adults talk with children about race.

I’m excited to announce we are starting constructionon the new permanent children’s exhibit, titled “Same, Different, Amazing,” on Dec. 14. The upcoming exhibit will be a dynamic and engaging place for families to dialogue, play and explore what it means to be an amazing person. In addition to the children’s gallery, we will be introducing an immersive orientation film experience that will help contextualize Arkansas history and show how the past, present and future of black Arkansans is woven into the state. While these are big changes, we’re also still working to raise the remaining $1.3 million needed to complete the renovation and build the state-of-the-art African American museum and cultural center that Arkansans deserve.

I’ve listed a few questions that you might be wondering and some helpful answers below:

Q: Will you be open during the renovation?

A: Yes! We will be open to the public during our pandemic adjusted hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. We may close for a few days in order to complete mechanical and other installation work, but we will notify the public via social media in advance. Be sure to follow us on Facebook for the latest information.

Q: How will this impact my visit?

A: There will be a new route through the existing exhibits, which will remain in place until the remaining $1.3 million is raised to move forward with the final phase. Check in and the front desk and staff will be happy to assist with orientation. You will see a closed off section of the front gallery (to the right of the pediment) where construction is underway.

Q: Why are you doing this?

A: In listening to the community, we learned it was important to tell a bigger story of how African Americans have been instrumental to the success and story of Arkansas. We’ve been able to accomplish some of this work through temporary exhibitions such as “Don’t Touch My Crown,” “Finding Freedom in the Forest” and “Hidden No More,” however, a new permanent exhibition (can you believe our current exhibit is 12 years old?!) is needed to more fully tell these (and other) diverse and rich stories. Most museums (especially nationally accredited ones like ours) update their permanent exhibit every five to seven years.

Q: Who’s designing the new exhibits?

A: After a competitive exhibit bid process done in accordance with state guidelines, we have chosen museum exhibit industry leader Exhibit Concepts ( https://www.exhibitconcepts.com/). They have worked with museums such as the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum (https://www.exhibitconcepts.com/mississippi-civil-rights-museum), the B.B King Museum (https://www.exhibitconcepts.com/bb-king-museum-and-delta-interpretive-center), and the IntelliZeum, the first Head Start interactive learning center (https://www.exhibitconcepts.com/early-childhood-education-centers)

Q: How can I be a part of this?

A: We need about $1.3 million to complete the renovation and our goal of raising $3 million to tell the Arkansas story more fully. You can contact Jaimie Wright at Jaimie.wright@arkansas.gov for more information.

In the meantime, please be sure to stop by the museum10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday or to check out our virtual offerings on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. We look forward to bringing you more Black history, art, voices, experiences and culture in 2021.


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