TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - It might not look like much right now, the former Tyler fire station #4 is about to get new life in the form of the new Texas African American Museum.
“The fire station was coming vacant and I’m like, North Tyler doesn’t need any more vacant buildings. We put together a proposal and the rest is history,” Empowerment Community Development Corporation president Stanley Cofer said.
The vacant fire station was donated by the city of Tyler to the empowerment community development corporation to house the museum. Previously, the museum was located on N. Border Avenue in north Tyler, where space was limited.
“It gives us so much space, so much opportunity to be able to display many, many different artifacts,” Texas African American Museum Executive Director Gloria Washington said.
Washington says they’ve been wanting to move for some time now. The former fire station will now allow them to have their own standalone building. They’re not going far; the old museum is just down the street. Cofer says staying in north Tyler was important for them.
“With it being adjacent to Downtown Tyler and not far from other museums, it’s gonna be just a great opportunity to bring more people into the city,” Cofer said.
For Washington, it’s more than just a building − but a place to remember the past and work toward a better future.
“A coming togetherness of our community, displaying our history, displaying artifacts of our African American heritage, and just so much more in our community,” Washington said.
Renovations will begin soon. They hope to have the museum fully up and running around the start of next year.