2 Black museums seek help from Philly community to safely reopen amid virus

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Reopening businesses, museums or grocery stores isn’t as easy as simply turning the lights on and opening the door. Establishments must now follow guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

For two African-American institutions in Philadelphia, they’re combining their resources and asking the community to help them safely reopen.

Vashti DuBois, executive director and founder of The Colored Girls Museum in Germantown, said sometimes change makes room for creativity and opportunity. That’s exactly what Christopher Rogers, with West Philly’s Paul Robeson House and Museum, is hoping to tap into.

Together, the museums launched a joint capital campaign via GoFundMe to help with renovations and necessary coronavirus safety measures, like sanitizing stations, air purifiers, protective equipment, and high-quality cleaning services.

“When we have to reopen,” said DuBois, “how are we going to make the kind of improvements that are critical to making sure we feel good about opening our doors?”

Already, they have raised more than $86,000 of their $100,000 goal. The money would be split evenly between both museums.

The majority of their funding has come from individual donors — just regular people who recognize the value of Black history, Black culture, and Black lives.

The Colored Girls Museum has seen some renewed growth and interest, too, following the recent civil unrest in the city and the rest of the country.

DuBois said even in the middle of this pandemic, she’s hopeful.

“Because everything has changed, anything is possible,” she added. “The best part about this campaign is that we’ve had an opportunity to yell from the rooftops that we really do matter.”