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“We can build on that,” said executive director Mark McCormick.

The museum also is trying to expand its mission. In addition to wanting to have more of a statewide focus, it wants to be relevant to people of all races. It wants to help build bridges and remove racial barriers.

The museum needs to challenge perspectives, engage conversations and enlighten the entire community, Williams said.

The museum still needs a different building. Though its current facility - the former Calvary Baptist Church at 601 N. Water - is historic, it lacks the climate controls needed to properly store and display the museum’s collections. It’s also nearly surrounded by the Sedgwick County Jail.

“I love that old place,” McCormick said of the church building, but it “is really unsustainable.”

Once it gets its operations in better order, the museum will look for a new location, perhaps an existing building downtown.

McCormick appreciates the generosity of the city in providing the land and the support the museum receives from the Sedgwick County Commission. “There is a whole lot of good will out there for the museum,” he said.

He and Williams emphasized that the museum is not “giving up” by canceling its lease. Rather, its leaders are hopeful for its future.

“The best is yet to come for this museum,” Williams said.

Sometimes the bravest step forward is a step back.