The International African American Museum (IAAM), slated to open January 2022 at the former Gadsden’s Wharf in Charleston, S.C., recently received a $1.7 million gift from the Sony Corporation of America to create displays and interactive experiences throughout the building.
Historians estimate nearly half of all African captives brought to America arrived in Charleston, the majority of them at Gadsden’s Wharf.
“One silver lining of the pandemic is that museums have been challenged to reimagine the visitor experience,” said Dr. Elijah Heyward III, chief operating officer of the Museum. “Not only will we create more virtual options to learn and inspire but we will also make use of the extraordinary new technology so generously contributed by Sony inside the Museum.”
“When our doors open in 2022, visitors will experience the journey of African Americans in a way that has never been seen or felt before. Thanks to Sony, the International African American Museum will be a showcase for a new generation of visitor experiences.”
IAAM says the donation, which is being made through Sony’s Global Social Justice Fund, will be used to outfit the Atlantic Worlds Gallery – a centerpiece of the museum – and to support additional environments throughout the space.
The Gallery, the largest exhibit in the museum, promises to be especially impactful as its windows look out onto the path that the slaves took as they arrived on the Wharf.
“This donation is part of Sony’s ongoing commitment to social justice and diversity,” said Karen Kelso, senior director, Corporate Social Responsibility, SCA. “This new museum promises to educate millions of people as to the atrocities endured by Africans in this country.”
Key features of the museum will be the African Ancestors Memorial Garden; The Center for Family History, which will serve as a groundbreaking resource for the advancement of African American genealogy; and exhibitions exploring African American history from South Carolina throughout the African diaspora.
Many of these features will be brought to life by a number of state-of-the-art Sony products, including North America’s first public deployment of the new Crystal LED display series in a 32-foot wide, 7-foot high configuration; 3LCD and SXRD laser projectors; 4K HDR professional BRAVIA displays; and wireless microphones.
“We are pleased to be working with the International African American Museum to bring their vision of education and inclusiveness to light,” said Mike Fasulo, president and COO, Sony Electronics, Inc.
“These innovative products are the pinnacle of acuity and resolution, helping to create fully immersive exhibits that bring important history to life for millions of museum visitors,” he said.