The Minnesota African American Museum is one of the subjects of an ongoing audit by the Office of the Legislative Auditor, and has been considered for a special review by that office.
Legislative Auditor James Nobles said his office came upon the Minneapolis museum while conducting a broader audit on arts and cultural heritage funding by the state. The museum was granted a $1 million bond from the state but ran into trouble maintaining the required matching funds to get the public money. After a long struggle that included a handful of delayed openings for the museum and an unsuccessful court battle with contractors who said they hadn't been paid, museum organizers shut down operations at the restored Queen Anne-style Victorian mansion just south of downtown.
This week, the contractors who said they had not been paid by the museum joined together to purchase the building for $1.3 million. Several people who had been involved with the museum declined to comment or did not return calls for comment, though one former board member said he was working on getting some of the museum's exhibits displayed at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.
Nobles said he can't reveal the findings of the audit so far, but expects to wrap up the report within the next several weeks. He said the audit will likely be a part of the larger report, though his office has also considered taking a more specific look at the museum's financial operations.
Above: The former home of the Minnesota African American Museum, located at 1700 3rd Ave. S. in Minneapolis. Brian Peterson / Star Tribune