The Lower 9th Ward Living Museum recently launched a fundraising campaign to build a wheelchair ramp and expand their after school children’s programs.
The multimedia collection was created in the wake of Katrina to give voice to the deeply-rooted and often-neglected community, and it’s so much more than a typical history museum.
Housed in a colorful little shotgun on Deslonde Street and hardly distinguishable from the surrounding homes, the museum has turned into a vital community center.
“We’re really focused right now on kids’ programming. We have homework club here every day, we have a poetry club, we do workshops for the kids, and field trips, and that kind of thing,” Operations Director Rebecca Cooper said.
Another of the main projects has been to collect and display oral histories, particularly from the elderly. Preserving these stories is especially important now, because one fifth of the residents were unable to return after Katrina and a lot of the history is already lost.
“It’s been really cool because we have now 50 Lower 9th Ward residents that are sort of like celebrities in the museum, and we’ve been able to foster relationships with them, so that’s been, for me, one of the more meaningful parts of working here,” Cooper said.
The museum recently acquired 501(c)(3) status as an educational institution, and they’ve almost met the requirements for museum zoning as well.
Only a few check marks remain, including the wheelchair ramp.
In addition to funding the ramp, the $5,300 they hope to raise with their online campaign will help expand children’s programming by bringing in more people to conduct workshops.
Eventually, they’d also like to install a computer station, which would be helpful for adults in the neighborhood too.
The campaign will run until January 21.