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'Absolutely wonderful news': TSU's University Museum chosen for Smithsonian partnership

TSU is one of five HBCUs selected by the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.

HOUSTON, Texas — Texas Southern University is celebrating a new partnership that will expand art education and community outreach through its University Museum.

"We have some absolutely wonderful news,” said Dr. Needha Boutte-Queen, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences.

TSU is one of five Historically Black Colleges and Universities selected to partner with the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture which opened five years ago in Washington D.C.

"It was a rigorous kind of process to be approved,” said Dr. Alvia Wardlaw, University Museum Director and Curator.

Wardlaw said the five year partnership comes with a nearly $500,000 grant.

"We have our wish list of all that we would like to do and this funding enables us to do that,” said Wardlaw.

That includes archiving and digitizing collection pieces along with meeting staffing and training needs.

Another long-term goal is to create a pipeline of specialists in the next generation.

In fact, for the first time this fall, TSU will offer a minor in museum studies.

"The museum world is aware now that, you know, it’s a time for change," said Wardlaw.  "And diversity among professional staff is key.”

Boutte-Queen said the partnership also includes outreach efforts and what will eventually be a travelling exhibition focused on African American art and cultural contributions.

"The community benefits because they will be able to see works that they would not have been able to see otherwise,” said Boutte-Queen.

The University Museum houses past and present art and artifacts and the vast collections of TSU. They also provide programming and events to support the arts in the City of Houston and surrounding communities.

Find out more about visiting TSU's Museum here.