Metro Lighting & Nora Lighting Partner on Lighting Upgrade in the Griot Museum of Black History

When the Griot Museum of Black History, located in St. Louis, needed renovation assistance several years ago, Executive Director Lois Conley reached out to nearby Metro Lighting, which was more than happy to help. Recently Metro Lighting came through again, along with a generous donation from California-based lighting manufacturer Nora Lighting.

Since its founding in 1997 by Lois Conley, the Griot Museum of Black History has stood as a testament to the rich heritage and contributions of Black Americans in the St. Louis area. Conley’s vision stemmed from a recognition of the absence of such an outlet within the city’s cultural landscape. For decades, her dedication to the museum went uncompensated, fueled solely by her passion for preserving Black history. But after 27 years, the museum needed some updates.

Conley initially contacted Metro Lighting three years ago when the museum needed ceiling fans for the community space in the lower level. “The timing was perfect, and we had eight fans the museum could use, in stock and ready to give,” explains Sarah King, Marketing & Community Relations Manager at Metro Lighting/Metro Electric Supply.

Last summer, Conley approached Metro Lighting again, this time seeking replacement track lights for the main galleries. Recognizing the importance of the Griot as a community treasure, Metro’s General Manager, Matt Gagnepain, and his team embarked on a mission to elevate the museum’s lighting to new heights.

“After a lighting audit, we realized that replacing and reattaching a few track lights wouldn’t suffice. We wanted to take their lighting to the next level and highlight the galleries with museum-quality lights that the space deserved,” explains Gagnepain, who enlisted Nora Lighting’s help in providing more than 150 commercial-grade LED track lights (valued at $50,000) as a donation.

“Right away, we saw the difference the lights made,” Conley states. “We are now able to move the track heads around to highlight specific artifacts or figures and have more flexibility when adding new exhibits. This is a perfect example of true community support. Metro didn’t just donate and go away. The manager and staff took a personal interest in the project, gave of their time, and reached out to others to bring the project to fruition.”

Nora Lighting provided the lights at no cost, allowing the museum to allocate its funds toward community outreach and education. “And the completion of this lighting project will help to ensure a much more rewarding experience for our visitors,” Conley adds.

The mission of the Griot Museum of Black History is to collect, preserve, interpret, and share the stories, culture, and history of Black people through art, artifacts, life-sized figures, and memorabilia. The museum houses an authentic slave cabin relocated from Jonesburg, Mo., as well as a scale model section of a replica of a ship reminiscent of those used during the slave trade.

To learn more or to donate to the Griot Museum of Black History, click here.

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