City, FAM partnering on initiative

July 14, 2021 | Fredericksburg City News | History & Museums

Fredericksburg Area Museum logoAs part of an initiative to tell a more complete story of Fredericksburg’s diverse community and history, the City of Fredericksburg and the Fredericksburg Area Museum (FAM) have partnered to create a new FAM staff position, the Curator of African American History and Special Projects.

The new FAM staff member will be responsible for leading interpretive initiatives for African American history and other special projects in the City of Fredericksburg and at FAM.

This new professional will work to oversee the development of an exhibition on African American history, to include the interpretation of the Slave Auction Block, inside FAM. The 1,200-pound auction block was relocated in June 2020 from the corner of William and Charles streets to FAM after years-long study and community engagement efforts. While the City owns the auction block, a previous 20-year loan agreement was established with FAM.

“Partnering with FAM is a win-win solution. Our missions align in serving our diverse community, and in telling our complete story, for our residents and visitors alike,” says Timothy J. Baroody, City Manager.

The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (ICSC) was hired by the City in 2017 to facilitate three phases of work, and hosted more than a dozen community meetings about the slave auction block. The conclusion of that work led Council to direct that the auction block be moved to the Fredericksburg Area Museum, which occurred last summer. The ICSC work, and more recent refinements by the Memorials Commission, offer a good starting point for interpretation of the former auction block site. FAM is currently working similarly on interpretation of the block inside the museum. Approval of this new position will assist in pulling these separate projects seamlessly together.

Additional projects will include curating a downtown walking tour focused on African American history, reviewing the inventory of wayside panels in the City and recommending future panels, and creating K-12 educational programs as they pertain to the City’s interpretive displays. There will also be a review of current tourism-oriented promotional materials including brochures and the tourism video at the City’s Visitor Center, and both the City and FAM websites and other social media outlets.

City Council moved $250,000 to these efforts in 2019, and these already set aside monies will support these efforts.

“The City has been a great partner in advancing the Fredericksburg Area Museum’s mission and supporting our continued operations in the City’s historic Town Hall building. With this partnership we can expand our reach and build on our increasing efforts to tell our region’s many national significant American stories,” stated Sara Poore, President and CEO of FAM.

The job listing will be posted later this week and resumes may be submitted to [email protected]. For more information on applying for the position, please email or call the Fredericksburg Area Museum at (540) 371-3037.

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