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CLOSER LOOK: Jack Hadley Black History Museum to undergo major expansion

A 10,000-Square-Foot Facility and Historic Imperial Hotel Renovation to Enhance Thomasville’s Cultural Landscape
Posted at 6:39 PM, Jun 18, 2024
  • The Jack Hadley Black History Museum in Thomasville is set for a major expansion, including a new 10,000-square-foot facility and renovations to the historic Imperial Hotel, funded by a $415,000 grant.
  • The expansion aims to preserve the museum's unique collection while incorporating immersive technologies to better engage future generations.
  • Watch the video to learn more about the museum's expansion and its plans to become a national treasure.

The Jack Hadley Black History Museum is set for a major expansion with a new 10,000-square-foot facility and upgrades to the historic Imperial Hotel. I'm exploring how this $415,000 grant will enhance our local cultural landscape and what these plans mean for our neighborhood.

Jack Hadley's Black History Museum started from a father's love for his son. Mr. Hadley's son Jim came back from school one day, complaining that his school wasn't celebrating Black History Month, and he decided to do something about it.

"I could've easily told him, boy get outside and play with your friends, but that didn't happen. Something triggered in me to pull together pictures from Ebony magazine, Jet magazine, Essence magazine, and we created a collage of pictures on poster boards."

This sparked a passion for collecting, which has now become the foundation of the museum, growing tremendously over the years.

With a $415,000 grant, the museum is set to expand by introducing a 10,000-square-foot facility next to the Imperial Hotel, which will also be renovated and preserved along with the shotgun house and an outdoor space. It will all be part of what Mr. Hadley calls the "Jack Hadley Yards."

Daniel Pittman, executive director of the museum. He tells me that with the $415,000 grant they have received, they plan on preserving the soul and style of Mr. Hadley's museum while enhancing it with immersive technologies to better engage our youth with the artifacts.

"Take the collection as it currently is and then upgrade it to include some new technologies, some new pieces of tech to kind of help bridge the collection of where it currently is to kind of the future generations to make it more immersive and then also to make it a little more interactive for the students that come to this museum."

The plan for the museum is to become not just a Thomasville treasure but also a national treasure, welcoming visitors from all across the country, especially during Black History Month.

The Jack Hadley Yards project is targeting a grand opening by May 2026, just in time for Jack Hadley's 90th birthday celebration.