DALLAS (Oct. 25, 2023) –The 30-year-old courtyard at the African American Museum, Dallas, has a fresh, sparkling look and a new name, thanks to a generous grant from the Lowe’s Hometowns initiative along with additional funding from philanthropist Mary McDermott Cook.

The courtyard has been named the “Harry Robison Jr. Courtyard” in honor of the beloved founder and president/CEO of the museum, which began 49 years ago at Bishop College and has called historic Fair Park its home since 1993. 

“Harry Robinson has been the heart and soul – and the driving force – behind the African American Museum, Dallas, since the beginning, and there is no one more deserving,” said Vonciel Jones Hill, chairman of the African American Museum board of directors.

Community leaders and museum officials were on hand today for the ribbon-cutting ceremonies. They celebrated a variety of improvements that included the demolition of the yard, replacement of soil, installation of the flatwork for the new sliding glass door, cleaning of the existing tile floor, power washing of the exterior walls and pathways surrounding the building, new irrigation for the plantings, weeding and trimming of existing greenery, and concrete replacement.

In-kind support for the courtyard was provided by Fair Park First, Rise360, IFR-TX and Outdoor Aesthetics.

“I’m very grateful for this honor, but the credit truly must be shared with the thousands of tireless leaders, volunteers, staff members and donors who have given their time, expertise and resources to support the African American Museum, Dallas here at Fair Park,” said Robinson.

Robinson noted that the courtyard has been a popular gathering space, especially for events – but it has lost some of its luster in recent years.

I just want to thank the Lowe’s Foundation and my good friend, Mary McDermott Cook, for restoring the courtyard to its glory, especially as we get ready to celebrate the museum’s 30th anniversary here at Fair Park,” he added.

A number of 30th anniversary activities are planned, including a Family Day celebration on Saturday, Nov. 11.

Also, improvements to the museum’s solarium will be completed in 2024.

“This is an exciting day for the African American Museum with the generous support of many for the Courtyard renovation. Icing on the cake is having it named in honor of Harry Robinson, Jr., for whom we would not have this amazing museum today,” said Autry Warren, African American Museum board member.

The African American Museum, Dallas in historic Fair Park is one of 100 community projects chosen in 2023 that make up Lowe’s Hometowns.