Repurposing armory as Black History museum to revitalize historic district

The renovation of Richmond, Virginia‘s historic Leigh Street Armory as the new home of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia already has produced a ripple effect in Jackson Ward, a national historic district.

Historic Richmond Foundation acquired and restored two nearby properties with the museum project in mind.

An armory building once so fragile with decay that it was in danger of collapse now is viewed as a potential anchor in the ongoing renaissance of Jackson Ward.

From the very beginning, I thought of the project as community redevelopment and neighborhood revitalization and tourism, trying to get tourists who come to town to come a little farther west than they normally would,” said Stacy Burrs, a former president, CEO and board chair of the museum.

The new museum site “positions the neighborhood for some really robust, high-impact collaboration with nearby Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Union University,” Burrs said.

Museum board chairwoman Marilyn West concurs.

I think it’ll be a great catalyst,” said West, chair and CEO of M.H. West & Co. “We’re surrounded by history.

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