The International African American Museum (IAAM) is a museum of African-American history being built in Charleston, South Carolina, on the site where Gadsden's Wharf, the disembarkation point of up to 40% of all American slaves, once stood. The idea of the museum was initiated by former Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr.
The city had previously sold the land to a restaurateur however after construction on the site discovered traces of Gadsden's Wharf Riley decided to repurchase the land. The construction budget of the museum is $75 million. Joe Riley raised money for the project as a private citizen.
The $25 million private donation goal was met in 2018. The South Carolina General Assembly delayed a $25 million contribution to the project which delayed construction of the 40,000-square-foot facility.
The city of North Charleston donated $1 million to the project. Keith Sumney, the mayor of North Charleston, stated that he hoped the museum would include an exhibit on Liberty Hill, a historically black neighborhood in North Charleston.
The design architect is Harry Cobb, of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, working in collaboration with Moody Nolan architectural firm of Columbus, Ohio; the landscape designer is Walter Hood, of Oakland, California.
The museum will be built on the Cooper River, with a view towards Ft. Sumter and out to the Atlantic Ocean Construction of the IAAM began in January of 2020 after 20 years of planning.
The Center for Family History is one of a kind research center with a special focus on African American genealogy.
The Center for Family History supports IAAM’s goal of becoming a unique center of learning through the development of resources and programs to help individuals and families advance their understanding of their family’s history and the role their ancestors played in shaping American history.