More Marian Anderson love is on the way.
The South Philadelphia house museum that tends the legacy of the famed singer and civil rights leader is receiving a boost from the city to get back on its feet: a $100,000 grant.
The money will help repair damage the Marian Anderson Historical Society and Museum suffered after a water pipe ruptured and allow it to reopen to visitors, said Philadelphia City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson at a ceremony Thursday in front of the Martin Street museum that was once Anderson’s home.
Johnson noted the house’s importance as an African American cultural heritage site — to longtime residents, neighborhood newcomers, and to youth.
“Hopefully it will provide seeds of hope that they, too, can go on to be great individuals in our society,” he said before presenting a ceremonial check to the museum’s leaders.
The money is the latest in a wave of support for Anderson’s legacy in the city. A Marian Anderson Memorial Fund Task Force is raising money to erect a sculpture honoring Anderson outside of the Academy of Music and to launch an endowment for the Marian Anderson Historical Society and Museum.
That effort has attracted pledges and gifts now approaching $200,000, said a member of the committee leading the drive. A preliminary estimate puts the total needed at $1.2 million.
Additionally, earlier this month the museum was awarded a $75,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund to help repair and weather-seal the building’s exterior.
Jillian Patricia Pirtle, CEO of the Marian Anderson Historical Society and Museum, said that the $100,000 infusion from the city plus money from a GoFundMe campaign with a $40,000 goal should cover the interior repairs and operating expenses needed to reopen the museum.
If the city money flows soon, the museum could reopen in October, she said.
The new funds come from the operating-budget portion of the city’s $5.2 billion budget approved in June.
Next up: Johnson said that as part of future city budget negotiations, he would push for the Marian Anderson Historical Society and Museum to receive an annual line-item allocation, the way the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the African American Museum in Philadelphia do.
“We should be doing the same kind of support for the Marian Anderson house,” he said.