The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum already occupies nearly an entire city block of North Avenue in East Baltimore. But if a planned $75 million expansion goes forward, the museum would quadruple in size.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the expanded museum would include gardens, classrooms, event space, and a children’s museum. Museum administrators hope that an expanded footprint, new state-of-the-art design, and more potential event space would draw in even more than the estimated 150,000 tourists who visit the museum each year.
That said, $75 million is a lot of money to raise in a relatively short period of time. (Private funds would make up a third of the $24 million cost of the expansion’s first phase, while the museum hopes to get $45 million in state funding and $12 million in city funding over the next four years.) Still, museum co-founder Joanne Martin thinks it’s worth it. “We’re looking at the epitome of urban design in an urban setting in a challenged, at-risk community, and showing that a museum can be a catalyst for bringing a challenged community back to life through cultural tourism,” she told the Sun.
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