Griot Museum of Black History in need of public help

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Down but not out, the Griot Museum of Black History is trying to keep St. Louis`s past alive; and they’re asking for your help.

“These portable (air conditioning) units that were a little cumbersome to install,” said Lois Conley, founder and executive director for the Griot. “We don’t have a lot of windows, we’re a museum…but it worked.”

In June, vandals stole the air conditioning units for the fifth summer in a row from the Griot. The wax figures survived the summer and they’ve come up with a secure solution.

There is a GoFundMe page to install a modern air conditioning system in this building that 100 years earlier was a catholic school.

“It’s much more complicated than just putting in new units and putting bars around them,” said Conley. “So it’s an expense and it’s money we just don’t have sitting around in a band account somewhere.”

The museum at 2505 St. Louis Avenue is celebrating its 20th year of telling this city’s history. When you walk through the front door, you’re greeted by a wax figure of Dr. Carter Woodson, the man credited with creating Black History Month.

“It began as Negro History Week,” Conley said. “It took over 50 years before it became African-American History Month. So we have to pay homage to Dr. Carter G. Woodson for those efforts.”

“What we do is we provide that historical continuity for those up and coming. Hopefully they will be able to learn from what has happened in the past and do things even better and make this world a better place.”