Grant will help Riley Museum digitize archives

The John G. Riley House & Museum. Photo courtesy

The John G. Riley House and Museum have been awarded a $246,250 grant that will support the digitalization of its archive collection.

Founded in 1996, the John Gilmore Riley Center and Museum is a historical tourist attraction in the heart of downtown Tallahassee. The historical home houses a vast, rich history that represents the capital city’s Black community. It includes culture and history pertaining to African Americans and Native Americans.

Well-known landmarks and legacies that are tied to African Americans are preserved in this historical site. The overall purpose of the center is to share awareness with visitors so that they are able to learn about and appreciate the African Americans who have contributed to Florida’s history. From tours, exhibitions and even school engagements, the museum makes every effort to have its archive collection attainable for public usage.

In partnership with the Florida State University Library and Tallahassee Community College, the collaborations with these organizations will further enhance the accessibility of the collection by digitizing various items, including photos, documents, books and rare artifacts that report the vast history of African American Floridians. The museum primarily focuses on individuals in the Leon and Gadsden County areas.

Katie McCormick, who serves as the associate dean of libraries for special collections on the campus of Florida State University, shared her excitement for the improvement of the project and its distribution. The grant will have a significant impact for the greater community, she said in a release.

“I’ve heard about the grant and how it’s supposed to be given to the museum, which is a great addition, but I wonder why FAMU wasn’t considered within the collaboration,” Tallahassee resident Arlene Brooks said. “You would think a historical center that carries African American artifacts would collaborate with an historical Black university. Overall, it is great news nonetheless.”

The grant enhances the digitation of archival collections, but it will also provide a source of training for representatives of the Florida African American Heritage Preservation Network or FAAHPN. This initiative will be given to other African American museums so they too will have the ability to create digital projects to enhance the educational research of African American history in the Sunshine State.

To receive more information on the archival collection at John G. Riley Museum, visit the official website at More information can be found at the Florida State University Libraries’ exceptional collection archives at