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Take A Peek Inside the Unfinished Tubman | News

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Take A Peek Inside the Unfinished Tubman

When people get to peek inside the unfinished Tubman African American Museum's gates, Director Andy Ambrose says the sight always elicits the same reaction.

"It's always, 'oh my gosh, this is incredible, I've never seen anything like this!'" says Ambrose.

Inside, it's all dusty concrete floors and stacks of steel beams awaiting drywall.

But the translucent dome illuminating the 49,000-square-foot empty space leaves an impression.

It takes some imagination to see it through Ambrose's eyes, but he says the space's potential is undeniable.

"It's going to be so different, so incredible so engaging," gushes Ambrose. 

He says there will one day be a museum store, two technology-stacked classrooms, a space for seasonal exhibits, and a caterer's kitchen.

But those big dreams come with a big price tag. Ambrose says they still need $2.5 million dollars to get the museum completed and open.

Every detail of the museum was meticulously planned out.

The yellowish color was inspired by West African clay. The domed ceiling pays homage to an African chieftain headdress.

But one detail went awry-- the finances.

They first started building the Tubman in 2001 with $12.5 of the $21 million dollars they'd need to complete it.

Then, Ambrose says, 9/11 hit. The uncertainty of the times meant donations dried up. He says that, coupled with a rise in material and labor costs, meant the museum soon ran out of construction money.

In the fall of 2005, Ambrose says they stopped construction.

He still envisions creating the anchor of the downtown museum district. And he says in the wake of the closure of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, it's more important than ever. 

"This is something that's necessary. It really is an element of the character of Macon. It's what's going to make Macon grow and be successful, it's what's going to sustain the downtown," says Ambrose.

He's hoping the county will decide to add the Tubman to the next SPLOST proposal.

He visited Macon city council earlier this week to pitch the idea.

He says during the city/county listening sessions, the Tubman was frequently mentioned as one of the public's top priorities.

If they get added to the SPLOST and voters pass it, Ambrose says the museum could be open to the public within two years. 

But the county decides on SPLOST projects, and they haven't come up with a final list.

City and county officials are expected to meet later this month to make those decisions.


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