CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- A project decades in the making will finally open its door in early 2023.

The International African American Museum, which was first publicly announced by Mayor Joe Riley in 2000, will welcome visitors for the first time beginning the weekend of Jan. 23, 2023.

Built on the site of Gadsden’s Wharf in downtown Charleston, the highly anticipated museum allows visitors the opportunity to educate themselves about the “untold story of the African American journey at one of America’s most sacred sites.”

I am proud to have worked with our incredible team to get this museum to opening day. This museum will be a must-see space of courageous curiosity and authentic engagement with our nation’s history – with African American history,” Dr. Tonya Matthews, president and CEO of the International African American Museum said. “Committed reckoning with history is a necessary stop on the road to healing and reconciliation. Charleston is a port city, a global city, a historic city – and there is no better place for our museum to steward these stories that have such national and international significance and impact.”

The 150,000 square foot space features exhibitions, learning spaces, and interpretative spaces all dedicated to the historical roots of the African-American community in Charleston. The nine exhibition galleries highlight themes including African origins and diasporic connection, economic, creative, and social contributions, and a stark look at slavery.

In addition to the interior exhibitions, IAAM visitors can enjoy the African Ancestors Memorial Garden which includes art installations, live plantings, and an infinity reflecting pool.

“The grand opening of the International African American Museum is the culmination of over 20 years of hard work, and I am pleased to see it finally come to fruition. I have always said that this museum ought to tell more than just the story of slavery and pay homage to the countless descendants of slavery who, in spite of their circumstances, rose to prominence and helped bring us closer to achieving this land’s promise of a ‘more perfect union.’ I am confident that this museum will help educate its visitors on America’s dark past and inspire future generations through stories of perseverance.”

Congressman James Clyburn

To learn more about the experience that awaits at the International African American Museum, click here.