Hundreds expected to visit new Tubman Museum in Macon

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – After more than a decade of budget worries and two funding campaigns, the Tubman Museum in downtown Macon is ready for its first visitors.

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.

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(478) 745-4141 ext. 311 Skyler joined the 41 NBC News Team in April 2013. He anchors the news at 6 p.m. and also covers stories going on throughout the day. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Stone Mountain, Georgia, a suburb right outside of Atlanta. Before heading to Middle Georgia, Skyler worked as a stage manager for WSB- TV in Atlanta. Skyler graduated from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Multimedia Communication. He went to school initially to be an architect, but one step inside of the student radio station changed everything. While at Georgia Southern, he was exposed to radio and television and became the Program Director of the student radio station and was a part of a team that received a Southeast Regional student Emmy for their work on the program "Inside Georgia Southern Football." Skyler anchored and reported for Georgia Southern University's "Eagle News." There he covered the 2010 midterm elections live as well as reported on stories in the community. In the Spring 2012, Skyler interned for Clear Channel in Los Angeles, California. Skyler is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. In his free time, you can find Skyler watching the latest movies and reading up on all things in Hollywood. He also loves spending time with his family and friends and finding inspirational quotes. He loves telling stories about politics, tax dollars at work in the community, and highlighting people and business who don’t normally get the spotlight. If you have any story ideas, email Skyler at