International African American Museum Opens
Opening | June 2023
The long-awaited International African American Museum (IAAM), more than two decades in the making, will celebrate its grand opening on June 24, at the waterfront site in Charleston, South Carolina, that was the port of arrival for nearly half of all enslaved Africans brought to North America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The museum is dedicated to telling their stories and celebrating the contributions of their descendants.
housed in a building designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and Moody Nolan,
with landscape design by Hood Design Studio and exhibition design by Ralph
Appelbaum Associates. The firms worked closely together to create a work of
architecture and an environment that honors the site’s history while supporting
an array of exhibitions, events, and resources.
The building form reflects the guiding principle articulated by its lead designer, the late Henry N. Cobb, for whom the location was paramount. “As the place where thousands of Africans from diverse cultures first set foot in North America,” Cobb wrote at the project’s inception, “Gadsden’s Wharf is not just the right place to tell this story; it is hallowed ground. The special design challenge of the museum is to build on this site without occupying it.”