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African American Museum

The African American Museum and Cultural Arts Center in the Historic Westside 

The Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022,  approved a contract with Gallager & Associates, LLC. to develop a master plan for an African American Museum and Cultural Center in the Historic Westside. Gallagher & Associates, which developed the International Spy Museum, the Las Vegas Mob Museum, the National World War II Museum, the National Museum of African American Music, among others, was selected from a competitive process. The team would work with FordMomentum! on community engagement, as well as Barber & Associates, LLC., led by Anna Barber, on a fundraising strategy.

The contract provides for creation of a comprehensive master plan for the development of an African American museum and cultural arts center in the Historic Westside, at a location to be determined. View the proposal. See the Council Agenda, item 13.

To view additional information including meetings, powerpoints and survey results visit our Resources Section.

What is the African American Museum and Cultural Arts Center in the Historic Westside? 
The development of an anchor cultural campus celebrating the contributions of African Americans to the Historic Westside, Las Vegas and beyond was envisioned as part of the HUNDRED Plan and the HUNDRED Plan in Action. The approach for the museum is to connect the many and varied existing and historic cultural facilities in the community while expanding storytelling opportunities of the African American experience through collections and programming.

How will the African American Museum and Cultural Arts Center be developed?

A master plan is required to establish a clear vision and plan for how to develop the museum facility(ies). This is not a design/build process. The master plan is a values exercise to establish priorities, align community strengths, scope resources and co-create a path forward.
In addition to museum facilities that may include standing and rotating collections, this master plan will include exploration of the development of a cultural arts center to incorporate African American art and artists of all varieties, as well as facilities within which cultural and performing arts production can occur.

The master plan process will kick off at the end of 2022.

Who is the team selected to develop the master plan?

Nov. 16, 2022, the Las Vegas City Council approved an agreement with Gallagher & Associates, a nationally known firm that specializes in the master planning of museums (and led the development of the Mob Museum locally) as the lead consultant for the project. Their team includes the support of Maya Ford of Ford Momentum, and Anna Barber of Barber and Associates, both of whom have been involved with the development of the museum concept previously. 

How was this team selected?

The team was selected through a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process, seeking qualified firms and/or individuals who have proven experience in museum and cultural institution planning and operations to develop a comprehensive master plan for the development of an African American museum and cultural arts center in the Historic Westside. Six consulting teams responded to the RFP. An independent evaluation panel made of three museum professionals, two community stakeholders and three executive city staff members selected the team.

What specific work will they deliver?
The master plan will provide clear direction, which will allow the city, along with the community, to move immediately forward into implementation. The specific scope of work includes:
  • Background review, of previous planning documents and findings, including input from the community to date, and a thorough review and understanding of Historic Westside, Las Vegas and Nevada African American history.
  • Community and stakeholder engagement, to include ongoing community outreach throughout the plan process and opportunities for local community to share their stories, histories and collections.
  • Content strategy for the museum, including identifying vision, mission, goals and approach to telling stories in the museum, including key storylines.
  • Approach for the cultural arts center, including a vision for the center and how it will integrate to the museum, programming approach, and consideration for display of art.
  • Operational and financial plan, detailing how the museum and cultural arts center will be managed
  • Fundraising strategy, including identification of potential funding sources and opportunities/considerations for how funders could be recognized 
  • Implementation approach, including a detailed timeline for implementation of the master plan including important deadlines 
Has a location for the Museum been decided?

No determination has been made on the location of the proposed museum and cultural arts center.

How will the community be engaged?

The museum and cultural arts center facility(ies) are proposed to be developed via a collaborative effort involving the city and community leaders and stakeholders. One of the first deliverables of the consulting team will be to provide a detailed community engagement strategy for the project. The community will be co-creators of the master plan and will be engaged throughout.

How will other historical and cultural projects and places be incorporated?

The intent is to connect existing historical assets to a new museum and cultural arts facility or facilities that can tell a comprehensive story of the African-American experience in the Historic Westside, Las Vegas, Nevada and beyond. How these connections can/will be made will be explored throughout the master planning process.

What is the timeline for the work?

The master plan process will begin at the end of 2022. We anticipate it will take – at a minimum – a year to complete the master plan, though that timeline may expand as needed to ensure we are getting an effective and implementable plan.

What happens after the master plan is complete?

Our intent is to move directly from master planning to implementation, working in coordination with the community. This process will give us the tools we need to begin fundraising and final design, which will be the immediate next steps after the master plan is complete. The completion date of the museum is unknown. Facilities of this type are complex and can take time, but having a museum constructed and open within 5-10 years is a realistic possibility.

Where are the prospects for funding coming from?

The city is committed to initial funding for planning, and will be exploring capital contributions as well. Ultimately, funding a project of this size will require significant philanthropic contributions and partnerships.

Where can I learn more?

To view additional information including meetings, PowerPoints and survey results visit our Resources Section.

How do I get involved?

Sign up for the HUNDRED Plan newsletter and stay tuned for more information related to community meetings and engagement.

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