Museum improves facilities

Carnegie Library, also known as the Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center and Museum, is expected to expand to 30,000 square feet in August 2004.

“This is the oldest building on campus,” said Dr. James Eaton, founder and director of the Black Archives Museum.

The museum was built in 1907 by Andrew Carnegie, a journalist and one of the richest men of his time.

Carrie Meek, the first African American elected to serve in the Florida State Senate, contributed the first million dollars to the building from the federal government.

According to, the money went toward funding construction of the new building, which officially broke ground Jan. 16.

The proposed name for the new structure is the Meek and Eaton Building.

“In the new building you can come and get original material, use computer systems and view materials you would not see anywhere else,” Eaton said.

According to Chuks Onwuli, assistant director of facilities planning and construction, the Federal Parks Services and the Department of Education will help cover the estimated construction budget of $5,023,236.

“We have come a long way to get funding for this building,” Onwunli said.

Karl Thorne and Associates will be responsible for the construction of the four story Museum, which is scheduled to begin the first week of May.

The first floor of the museum will include occupancy for archive documents, secretarial space, lobby and a mechanical room. The second floor will include seminar, lecture, storage and equipment rooms. The third floor will contain exhibition halls displaying artifacts, which have been stored in various locations on and off campus.

The fourth floor of the building will have a computer and research room equipped with 20 computers. A film and tape room, reading room and media production room will also be included on the fourth level.

“I just found that I had much more material than I had space for,” said Eaton who wants this building to display the culture, history and heritage of African Americans.

Reginald Ellis, 22, said the Black Archives gives students an opportunity to encounter history on a first hand basis.

“This building has molded me as a student and taught me how to be proud of my history,” said the senior African American studies student from Whigham, Ga.

Onwunli says he is proud of the “state of the art building that will be right here in the heart of campus.”

Eaton agrees.

“It might not be the largest building being constructed, but I hope it will be the most impressive.”