Tubman receives $150,000 grant

A $150,000 grant from AT&T is expected to help the Tubman African American Museum in Macon reach a broader audience.

Terry Smith, regional manager of regulatory and external affairs for AT&T, made the check presentation to Tubman officials Wednesday morning. The money will be used to buy electronic equipment for the museum, including laptop computers, a wireless Internet setup, a multimedia projection system, digital cameras and software.

Andy Ambrose, executive director of the Tubman, said the equipment will be purchased for the museum’s current location on Walnut Street but will move to the new museum on Cherry Street once it opens.

“It’s a very important and very exciting gift,” Ambrose said. “It will allow a critical new element — distance learning. ... We will be able to do live broadcasts from here and send DVDs and CDs of our programs all over the state.”

A large room on the second level of the current building has been reconfigured into a classroom for the Tubman’s various after-school and summer educational programs.

“I’m so proud to be unveiling this new space,” said Jo Wilbanks, chairman of the Tubman board. “We’ve turned this into a classroom. The Tubman Museum is all about education.”

That was one of the reasons why AT&T chose to make this donation when first approached by the Tubman about a year ago, Smith said.

“We’re committed to investing our time and talent into promoting educational programs,” Smith said. “The Tubman is an internationally recognized institution.”

Ambrose said in addition to helping students in Middle Georgia who visit the museum for its various programs, the new technology will allow the Tubman to extend its programs beyond the state.

Ambrose said a special, six-person advisory board that includes tech specialists from school systems in Bibb, Houston and Monroe counties will help the museum make its purchases and maintain the equipment.

“This will improve the programs we present,” Ambrose said. “We will be able to increase the range of our outreach activities.”

Meanwhile, the Tubman also is focusing on its capital campaign to complete the construction of the new museum site on Cherry Street, officials said. Wednesday’s donation will help that project by providing the new equipment to the classrooms in that facility. Ambrose said the museum has raised about 55 percent of the $9.5 million in the current building campaign.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.