Dec 06, 2002

Slavery museum opening set in'07

Advisory panel, consultant to help

FREDERICKSBURG - The National Slavery Museum is scheduled to open in February 2007, but former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder hopes to have part of the site open sooner.

"We would like to see some dirt moved really soon," Wilder said at a community meeting, without giving details. Wilder, the driving force behind the museum, previously anticipated completing part of the project this year.

Wilder and Earl Yates, the museum's executive director, announced the February 2007 opening at the informational meeting Wednesday night on the museum, which is planned for a 38-acre tract in the proposed Celebrate Virginia tourism complex.

The 2,100-acre development, on the Fredericksburg and Stafford County sides of the Rappahannock River, is expected to include hotels, golf courses, a convention center and an office park.

Wilder also announced the formation of an advisory panel with Joseph Harris, a Howard University history professor, serving as the chairman.

The Rev. Lawrence Davies, former mayor of Fredericksburg, and Mary Washington College President William M. Anderson Jr. also will serve on the panel.

John Hope Franklin, professor of history emeritus at Duke University, will serve as senior consultant and adviser to the museum board. Michael Neiditch, former director of endowment of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, will continue to serve as adviser, Wilder said. Their roles will be separate from the advisory panel.

Wilder serves as chairman of the museum board, which also includes Hampton University President William Harvey and Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert.

Chien Chung Pei, who probably will serve as the museum's architect, flew in from New York City to attend the meeting. He is the son of renowned architect I.M. Pei and has worked on architectural projects for the Louvre in Paris.

Yates, who served as senior adviser to the president of the African Development Foundation before being selected as the museum's director in October, said the museum's Web site, www., should be up by late this week.

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