NewsPositively Hampton Roads


African Museum of Arts and Culture could transform Norfolk’s waterfront property

Posted at 3:41 PM, Jan 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-16 21:14:07-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Art and artifacts more than a million years old could be coming to Norfolk.

One group wants to build the African Museum of Arts and Culture in the area between the Berkley Bridge and Harbor Park Stadium.

News 3 got new details about the proposed plans that could bring art and artifacts from 13 different African countries to be on display.

Museum rendering

“Giving the continent of African a great light to the world, the rich history and the arts and artifacts that are coming from this country. That’s why this will be a one-of-a-kind museum," Richard James, Secretary for the Foundation for the Advancement of African Descendants said.

Leaders with the group said they have been working on the project for five years. The museum could be part of the 26,000-square foot exhibition space.

They said it would be unlike any other museum in the world and said some of the artifacts on display would be more than a million years old.

“These artifacts are treasures that should not be hidden. These are things that people should enjoy, learn from and understand," James said.

The project also includes a 4,000-square foot Library and Research Lab designed to host students from all over the country, along with a brand new 26-story hotel next to the museum.

“Today, the City of Norfolk is a location. This project will turn the City of Norfolk into a destination," James added.

News 3 reached out to the City of Norfolk about the proposal:

"...we received the proposal for an African Museum of Art and Culture from the Foundation for the Advancement of African Descendants on January 14th.     We are currently reviewing the information and look forward to working with Foundation members to better understand their proposal. 

As you know, the city is currently working with the Pamunkey Tribe on a resort and casino adjacent to Harbor Park.  We are working through infrastructure and transit demands for that project now and need to finish it before we can dive into another major development on the site."

Related: Legislation would permit Pamunkey Indians to open resort casinos in Virginia 

There is still a lot that would have to happen to make this a reality, and the city would still have to approve plans.