CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The International African American Museum may not open by its January 2023 target.

A decision to postpone the opening of the new museum came during a board of directors meeting Friday morning. Leaders said they are experiencing challenges regarding the building’s humidity and temperature controls.

“Museums require extremely stringent humidity controls in order to display the most sensitive of items for extended periods of time,” said Dr. Tonya Matthews, President and CEO of the International African American Museum, in a statement Friday afternoon. “This delay is necessary to ensure that the museum building achieves the conditions necessary to preserve and protect our most sensitive objects, artifacts, and art.”

Meanwhile, the museum said it will monitor humidity controls, “which are suitable for all objects currently installed.”

The museum hopes to reveal a new opening date in the first half of 2023.

“We regret this turn of events and any inconvenience to our loyal members, sponsors, and community. In making this decision, we foreground the responsibility to ensure the highest standard of safety and preservation for our most sensitive objects, art, and artifacts that honor the journey of our ancestors and to tell critical stories of our nation’s history,” Dr. Matthews said.

Dr. Matthews went on to say, “We appreciate your understanding, value your continued support and partnership, and will persevere to ensure that this Museum upholds its mission to honor the untold stories of the African American journey, paying tribute to the African American labor, resilience, and ingenuity that shaped our country and our world.”

The International African American Museum is being built at the former site of Gadsden’s Wharf in Charleston – a place where nearly 100,000 enslaved Africans were brought during the international slave trade.

The highly anticipated museum will allow visitors the opportunity to educate themselves about the “untold story of the African American journey at one of America’s most sacred sites.”

After 20 years of planning, construction on the museum began in January 2020. It was slated to open in early 2023.