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Dominion donates $500K to Va. black history museum

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Dominion Resources is making the largest ever private-sector donation to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports (http://bit.ly/12RPITB ) the $500,000 donation will be announced at a ceremony in Richmond on Friday.

The donation puts the museum above the $3 million mark in its goal of raising $13 million to restore and move into the Leigh Street Armory. The armory was built in 1895 as the state's only armory for an all-black militia. It's also the oldest surviving armory in the state.

The $500,000 pledge from Dominion Resources is notable not only because of its size but also because it can be used to leverage other grants, said Stacy L. Burrs, chairman of the museum.

The $13 million goal also includes money for maintenance and to create new exhibits. Restoration of the building is estimated to cost between $6 million and $8 million.

Construction is expected to begin in 2015 and will take about 18 months.

Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman and chief executive officer of Dominion, noted that the timing of the announcement was "fitting ... at the start of the Memorial Day Weekend."

"This historic armory and the museum that will be located here are such an important part of the Jackson Ward community and exemplify the contributions of the black community to the city, Virginia and indeed the entire nation," Farrell said.

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