George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center
The George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center (Carver Museum), located in and owned by the City of Austin, Texas, is a cultural facility operated by the City’s Parks and Recreation Department. It has the distinction of being the first African-American neighborhood museum in Texas and was housed in a historic 1,896 square foot building that was originally Austin’s first main public library. Since 1980, it has collected and preserved artifacts that document the history of African Americans on city, county, state, and national levels and promoted a climate in which African-American artists are recognized and appreciated for their culturally diverse heritage. As part of the 1998 Bond election, the citizens of Austin voted to construct a greatly expanded facility.
The new Carver Museum was planned to augment the existing museum’s space and services through construction of a 30,678 square foot facility adjacent to the historic building and the Carver Library. The new museum has a multitude of functions including a 134 seat theatre with dressing rooms and associated support areas, a dance studio/theatre rehearsal room, 4 exhibit galleries and a children’s gallery with exhibit preparation and archive storage space, a classroom with adjacent storage and darkroom functions, conference/meeting room, as well as a lobby, catering kitchen, store, and administrative office space associated with the public spaces.
From 2001 – 2006, Earthly Ideas served as sustainability and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) consultant and provided extensive materials and methods research, specification writing/editing, and design assistance to the team including coordination of LEED certification process. The Carver Museum was one of the first City of Austin projects to work towards sustainable design and construction using the LEED framework and was one of the first 200 LEED-registered projects. It earned a LEED Certified rating in June 2006, the third facility to earn LEED certification for the City of Austin. The Central Texas - Balcones Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council developed a project profile in 2010 emphasizing the museum’s accomplishments.