With a new building comes a new name.
Staff at the Tubman Museum are hoping to cater to a broad range of people despite the misconception.
"That the museum was either all about Harriett Tubman or that it was only for an African-American audience," Andy Ambrose, the museum’s executive director, said.
Ambrose remembers a time where all the pieces of art that are in the current facility couldn’t fit under the same roof.
"Our collections are quite larger than people realize and fast outgrew the space that we were at before," Ambrose said.
He says the idea of merging African-American art, history, and culture will create a unique experience for guests. Every brick, beam, and slab has purpose — from the yellow exterior themed after a West African clay, to the domed roof, a nod to traditional African headdresses.
"This is really where the exhibits, or the whole Tubman experience, actually starts before you actually enter the building," Jeff Bruce, the museum’s curator said.
Inside there are paintings, tapestries, and statues all with different themes.
"I didn’t do this alone. There were hundreds of people who came forward from this community to contribute to donate to this project," Wini McQueen, one the artists who contributed work to the museum, said.
Local investors and funding from grants and SPLOST money help build the 49,000 square foot, nearly $20 million facility.
"At one point I’m saying ‘phew, we’re here…other times I’m saying ‘thank you, thank you, thank you to all of those people that made this possible," Ambrose said.
Ambrose sees the space as opportunity for more than just showcasing art.
"What we’ve got here is much more exhibit space, two dedicated classrooms, a conference room, performance and program and event space that we never had at the other facility."
It’s a chance for his staff to bring in money in a new way.
"That gives us a whole other important new revenue stream, but also makes us even more valuable to the community," Ambrose said.
Ambrose adds the Tubman Museum will allow for more part-time and volunteer positions.