The Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum (SSAAM), central New Jersey’s first African American Museum, is one of 82 organizations to receive a brand new COVID-19 Response Grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH) with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the federal CARES Act.
The mission of the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum, located at 189 Hollow Road in Skillman (Montgomery Township), NJ, is to tell the story of the unique cultural, experiences and contributions of the African American community in the Sourland Mountain Region.
“This grant award will enable SSAAM to continue to provide educational programming during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will use the grant funds to create a short film about the history of the Mt. Zion AME Church and the renovation of this historic-register listed site, plus a virtual tour of the Church and other local sites that figure greatly in the history of African Americans in the Sourland Mountain region,” explained John Buck, president of SSAAM’s Board of Trustees.
“We have a longstanding history of running successful grant programs for public humanities organizations and so know well the remarkable cultural and historical organizations that serve this state’s communities,” said NJ Council for the Humanities Executive Director, Carin Berkowitz. “We are honored to contribute to their recovery by administering this emergency grant program.”
This is the second time during SSAAM’s four-year history as a nonprofit organization that the NJ Council for the Humanities has supported the Museum. In 2016, NJCH awarded a grant to the Sourland Conservancy, SSAAM’s partner organization, to support the creation of the Museum’s website and exhibitions. “The Sourland Conservancy has recognized the historical significance of the Mt. Zion AME Church and aided in its restoration for many years. We are thrilled that our initial efforts to renovate the current site of the Museum has developed into a meaningful partnership between the Sourland Conservancy and the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum. We are honored to support SSAAM’s mission,” said the Sourland Conservancy’s Executive Director, Laurie Cleveland.
“We are very grateful to the NJ Council for the Humanities for its continued support of SSAAM from the very beginning. As an organization whose mission is centered around preserving and sharing an often painful history, we are extremely appreciative of this latest grant from NJCH, NEH and the federal CARES Act, which comes at a time when it is especially important for SSAAM to reaffirm its commitment to amplifying the narratives of black people,” said Caroline Katmann, Executive Director of the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum.