LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A new African American museum is looking to become a 'healing space' when it opens in Louisville this spring.
Founder and CEO, Lamont Collins gave WHAS11 a full tour inside 'Roots 101'. The artifact-filled building recounts the journey of African Americans.
"In higher education, your first class is 101 so it's four levels telling that journey," Collins said.
From Lyman T. Johnson who fought for racial desegregation at the University of Kentucky in 1949, to former President Barack Obama – Johnson said the four-story building located on 819 W. Main Street will highlight different time periods on each level.
"Even though this building is four floors we can fill this whole block," Collins said. "We want to open up minds every day by taking kids on a journey they've never got to take on Museum Row."
Roots 101 was recently identified as an one of the top museums in the world opening this year.
The vision developed just a year ago after Collins gained inspiration from a podcast that shared the story about a man who was collecting artifacts in California.
"It was only destined to happen for me to tell the stories of those who came before us," Collins said who's been building his own collection for more than 60 years. "We have more than three million artifacts on the way to Louisville."
There are currently 15,000 artifacts in the museum from various African countries.
Visitors could feel and see 35 lb ancient chains from Ghana to help put slavery into perspective.
"We were the power drills before power drills," Collins said.
Collins has a team of twelve people helping him collect artifacts. The museum will showcase different artifacts throughout the year.
"We tell the whole story 365 days a year," Collins said. When the museum opens in April, admission for adults will be $7 and $5 for children.
"It's about being prideful yet understanding that we're better together," Collins said.
"I think once you learn the knowledge of history and how everybody contributes to history, it makes you a better person and it makes you understand people better," Collins said.
If you're interested in donating artifacts, click here.