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International African American Museum delays January opening

International African American Museum

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The International African American Museum won't open in January as planned because of humidity and temperature issues with the building in Charleston, South Carolina, officials announced.

Environmental fluctuations could damage artifacts planned to be on display, The Post and Courier reported, citing a statement from the museum. The museum confirmed the delay in a statement it posted Monday on its Facebook page.

"Museums require extremely stringent humidity controls in order to display the most sensitive of items for extended periods of time," the statement said. "This delay is necessary to ensure that the museum building achieves the conditions necessary to preserve and protect our most sensitive objects, artifacts, and art."

Museum officials said they are monitoring the humidity in the facility, which is in downtown Charleston.

The museum is at the former Gadsden Wharf, where tens of thousands of enslaved Africans first entered America.

The museum had been scheduled to open the weekend of Jan. 21, shortly after Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Organizers of the museum broke ground at the site in 2019 after raising more than $100 million in public and private funds.

Museum officials said they still "expect to welcome visitors in the first half of 2023," The Post and Courier reported.