The Sankofa African American 3D Museum, the first African American virtual museum, launched Friday, February 25th. Tamiko Chambers, team member and the founder of StarChild Social, was the moderator of the grand opening.
President and CEO, Lawrence E. Walker, has been researching, filming, and photographing African American history in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania for 30-40 years. The Lawrence E. Walker Foundation Collection contains over 3,000 documents, 16,440 pictures, 14 original composed songs, and 80 historical film interviews. Walker’s passion is to educate the importance of African American history. His massive collection will help to understand that in order to have a future, you have to know your past, which is the meaning and symbol of Sankofa.
The goal of the Sankofa African American 3D Museum is to educate the youth, colleges, universities, and historians of the importance of black culture. The 3D museum is a non-profit that will provide scholarships for students, military veterans and put the tech-savvy youth to work to help manage the 3D museum. Sankofa has four floors of exhibits, self-guided to view eras of black history for free from your mobile device or desktop. The second phase of the 3D museum will have a virtual bookstore, gift shop, theater, radio, television station, lectures, live café, and local restaurants to support.
Sankofa showcases collections and memorabilia from the 1600s to the 2000s in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. A future exhibit will also include the history of African American women during World War II, Native American and Hispanic Veterans of the Korean War, African American Units in Korea, Prisoners of War Remembered, and Personnel Missing in Action. The 3D museum will feature new exhibits every month, including a game that will take viewers inside a slave ship and the Revolutionary and Civil War battle.
Obi Agudosi is the President and CEO of OCA Architects based in Newark, NJ. With over 32 years in construction and design, Agudosi was inspired to work on the 3D museum project by Walker’s passion and vision. “As an architect, I try to help people bring their vision to reality. When a person has the vision and is passionate about it, it helps to gather the passion they have and put it into motion,” says Agudosi. The future goal is a physical site of the museum in Newark, NJ.
Roger “Buddah” Munroe is an engineer and producer and has been in the music industry for over 32 years. He has worked with artists such as MC Lyte, Destiny’s Child, 702, Mob Deep, Knocturnal featuring Dr. Dre and Missy Elliot. Buddah started a multi-media company, Creative Arts USA, that focuses on graphics, web design, and videography. Buddah was instrumental in creating the Sankofa website. Buddah was interested in the project because of his family’s legacy. “My father and uncle were Black Panthers. They rolled around with Stokely Carmichael. I remember going on bus rides to marches in D.C. Having the opportunity to be a part of something as groundbreaking is something I can tell my grandchildren and great-grandchildren that I was a part of this project,” says Buddah.
Wolfgang Gil is director and co-founder of The Honk-Tweet, based in Newark, NJ. Gil was the lead designer of the 3D museum. It was a challenging project, but Gil and his team were able to complete the 3D museum in 2 ½ months. “My team worked around the clock. This is the biggest project that we have done as an agency. The beauty of it is how the museum is accessible and entertaining because people all over the country will be able to open their browser and with a couple of clicks, they will be in the museum,” says Gil.
Dorchell Harris is the visual curator of Sankofa African American 3D Museum. For 30 years, Harris has been an information disseminator to the masses of the world. As a librarian, Harris has exhibited archives and special collections for universities, public libraries, and cultural institutions. “When this project came my way, it really resonated and connected with me because it was in direct alignment with my skill set, which is the exhibition of Black American History, says Harris.
Sankofa is working to gain sponsorships from individuals, companies, organizations, and partner with schools and universities to support the museum. “Today, Sankofa African American 3D Museum has raised the standard for going to the museum. The phrase “going to the museum” will never be the same again, says Walker.”
To tour Sankofa African American 3D Museum, go to www.saa3dm.org.
Tammy Gibson is an author, re-enactor, and black history traveler. Find her on social media @sankofatravelher.