Plans for new Seneca museum made official

An explanation of a project to restore slave dwellings across the country and the revelation of plans for Seneca’s first African-American history museum highlighted the 2014 city luncheon marking February as Black History Month. A large gathering in the Gignilliat Community Center got to see sketches of the vision for the Bertha Lee Strickland Museum, named for the woman who kept house for Seneca’s Lunney family, prominent members of an old neighborhood referred to as Silk Stocking Hill. And the vision imparted came from Dr. John Martin, director and curator of what today is the Lunney Museum. “I see it as a spirit of hope— hope for an awakening, hope for education, particularly of the young but for all, and hope for a renewal and continuance of a most remarkable culture,” Martin said in remarks helping to conclude what was a two-hour event today. Shelby Davis Henderson introduced the committee that’ll make plans for the museum. The project represents a major task and it’s not clear when it’ll be ready, but Seneca Councilman Al Gaines promised the crowd that when it opens it’ll be a museum “second-to-none.” In the meantime, Curator Martin has his eyes on what’s to be displayed. Seneca residents who have collections of African-American history are being asked to share their mementos and photographs.