Laney Museum: Too little space for exhibits

By  | 

January 26, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---It's a constant struggle for the arts in Augusta, and a fight for your money.

Now one museum says it has too much stuff and not enough space.

After 15 years, the Lucy Laney Museum has collected many valuable, quality pieces like a painting of James Brown that's been shown worldwide.

Trouble is, when they get pieces like this in, there's nowhere to put them.

The museum is the only place in the Augusta area devoted to preserving the legacy of black history, and names like James Brown, Jessye Norman, and Laurence Fishburne all have their space there.

But there's no space for anything else.

"We find ourselves in a sort of awkward position, and that is we don't have enough space to do all of the things we need to do," museum director Christine Miller Betts told News 12.

Betts says after 15 years they've outgrown their home off Laney Walker and can't function properly.

"It's a good and bad thing. We do need more storage, but it is showing we are getting more things," said museum historian Corey Rogers.

The lack of space has really become an issue because many of the items they would like to put on display must be kept in storage.

In fact, Rogers' office is doubling as a storage room, where historical and valuable pieces that should be on the wall are being kept on the floor.

"We're hoping we can get more space to showcase things, so my office won't be cluttered," he laughed.

The museum wants to expand, and of course they need money. They already get some help from the city and private donors.

"All of the money that we get is not enough money to run to programs and maintain the building," Betts said.

Because it's an historical building, they're not allowed to do much reconstruction.

So they're working to get a new building, and they're raising the money on their own.

They're starting by holding a gala next week and inviting the popular pastor Rev. Otis Moss back to Augusta from Chicago to help.

"What we're trying to do is establish ourselves in such a way that we can bring in income," Betts said.

If you want to attend the gala, call the museum at 706-724-3576.

The museum does receive $200,000 from the city each year, and they do receive money from SPLOST, but the expansion will cost around $4 million, so this gala is just a start.

If you want to visit the museum in its regular hours, it's on Phillips Street right off Laney Walker Boulevard. The museum is open 9 to 5 Tuesday through Friday, 10 to 4 on Saturday, and 2 to 5 on Sunday. The price is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, and $2 for kids.

To learn more, click here to visit their website.