History Museum Looks To Lawmakers To Help Fund New Facility

Franque Thompson

OMAHA (KPTM)- A local black history museum is looking for a permanent home in possibly a historic location. The Great Plains Black History Museum has been a traveling showcase since the mid 90's.

The museum is temporarily located at Crossroads Mall, but that doesn't mean the mall isn't on the list for its new location. Supporters are heading to the legislature on Thursday to hopefully find funding towards a permanent home.

"We need people to come and support. This is a project, not only for African Americans, but it's a project for everyone," said Terri Sanders, vice president of marketing and development for the museum.

GPBHM and its supporters are taking matters to lawmakers to get it done. A bill was introduced in January 2014 to provide $8 million towards a new facility. The building will have two levels, nearly 34,000 square feet in total. The estimated total costs would be about $25 million. Supporters said passing the bill would be a step in the right direction for the city.

"It will not only create jobs--we anticipate that over 19,000 people from outside of the state of Nebraska will come and visit," said Sanders.

Sanders and supporters believe the new museum will bring in revenue to Omaha--about $64 million worth in the first five years.

For now--staff are gearing up for the grand opening of the temporary location and preparing for a strong push at the legislature.

"We have a great history and a great heritage and we want to bring that front and center and give Omaha bragging rights about the great plains black history museum," said Sanders.

Supporters of the bill are asked to meet in the Crossroads parking lot facing Dodge Street Thursday morning. A bus will take everyone to the legislative meeting in Lincoln. The meeting begins at 1:30pm in room 1003.

The museum will have a ribbon cutting and grand opening of its temporary location at Crossroads, Saturday, February 15th. The event begins at 10am. GPBHM is located inside the mall across the hall from Barnes and Noble Bookstore.