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Copeland Museum gleams into Black history

VSU’s Copeland African American Museum (CAAM) features different artifacts in Thaxton Hall with new hours provided for Black History Month.

CAAM has a wide-ranging number of precious artifacts of African American descent that help to create the heritage that exists today. This includes letters from historical figures, instruments that were played by bona fide artists and clips from events that paved the way we live today.

More artifacts include, but are not limited to, the autographed Muhammad Ali boxing gloves that started his career, a letter typed by Martin Luther King, Jr. and a short script written by Tupac.

CAAM’s mission is to honor and preserve historical artifacts that show how African American culture has provided for current times. By showing the different types of history, CAAM hopes to encourage conversations that engage diverse people.

The journey of the CAAM began in 2016 when Dr. Roy Copeland and his wife, Dr. Cheryl Copeland, created a space where people can be filled with American history, and be educated on the contributions that African Americans have made to the culture.

Touring CAAM will help you increase your knowledge as well as enhance your overall understanding of diversity and its importance to society today.

“The importance is to have tangible and close-by museum, because we are very rare,” TaMara Tolbert, a grad student who works at the museum, said. “There’s not many solely African American museums and especially on a college campus, so our duty is to continue to look for knowledge, to gain in-depth knowledge on things that people have done for us today and provoke conversation about where we are now, where we came from and all the way we can go.”

Tolbert said that the museum rotates its items for the people to view every six months, so they are encouraging people to check out what is displayed now before it changes in March.

The effects that COVID-19 have taken place for CAAM is that they must limit the amount of people, which limits the amount of influence and education provided by the museum.

Although, abiding by the gatherings of no more than 10 people is not a bad thing. By doing this, and maintaining the six-foot distance from one another, it makes for more personal tours given to a few people at a time rather than a big group.

The tours are small and intimate, and offer a way to ask questions. There’s also the possibility to learn some secrets and fun facts that the CAAM doesn’t normally share.

The museum faculty also likes to make sure that VSU students are told about future events, hours of operation and changing of the artifacts.

CAAM sent an email to all VSU students including a flier regarding their hours of operation, social media outlets and directions on how to reserve a parking spot.

CAAM is on campus in Thaxton Hall, suite 200. You can find Thaxton Hall on 2525 N. Patterson St. The hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday.

During Black History Month, the museum has extended its hours for Saturday and Sunday between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If you would like to call and make a tour reservation or set up an appointment for a group tour, call the museum’s office at (229) 245-2448.

The admission is free and open to the public, meaning that you do not have to be a student at VSU to get a good history lesson.

In order to park on VSU’s North Campus, you must email caammuseum@valdosta.edu at least 24 hours in advance of your desired tour date so you may receive your parking pass. Once you have a pass in your email, print, fill it out, and place it in your dashboard.

Written by Madison Gruber, staff writer. Photo courtesy of Bailey Storey. 

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