National Juneteenth Museum

Putting an audacious, overdue dream into motion.

  • ClientThe National Juneteenth Museum
  • StudioImmersive
  • LocationFort Worth, USA
  • CollaboratorsBjarke Ingels Group

On a parched, scrubby plot hemmed in by highways, a dream is taking root. The National Juneteenth Museum, coming to Fort Worth, Texas, will honor, celebrate, and interrogate a remarkable moment in American history. But first, the museum’s founders must inspire action. Engaged by our longtime collaborators, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), we produced a film that would spur philanthropists and corporates to step up and secure the museum’s passage from rendering to reality.

The raw material of the Juneteenth story, of Black slaves in Galveston, Texas, learning of their freedom on June 19, 1865 — more than two years after the presidential proclamation that emancipated them — was already extraordinary. Our film, however, needed to convey not just this vital history, but the potential impact of benefactors’ dollars on Fort Worth and, as BIG partner Douglass Allgood told us, “the full experience of emerging Black culture.” For this, our film would lean on three powerful, interlocking narratives.

The Historic Southside of Fort Worth, a once-prosperous, predominantly Black neighborhood whose vitality was squeezed in the 1960s by bisecting highways — a process that came to be known in American cities as redlining — was filmed from above and at street level. Using CGI techniques, we weaved BIG’s architectural renderings into the streetscape, telegraphing their viability.

 

“The film was incredibly effective. … It was so succinctly and clearly put together.”

— Douglass Alligood, Partner, Bjarke Ingels Group.

Global awareness of Juneteenth largely springs from the efforts of one woman, Ms. Opal Lee. Having embarked on a nationwide walking tour to help secure Juneteenth’s recognition as a federal holiday, Ms. Lee was filmed with the pen used by President Biden to sign the holiday into law in 2021. Her loping, mid-air motions with the presidential pen trace the contours of long-demolished Southside homes and museumgoers dancing in a proposed theater space: a literal through-line from sorrow to joy.

Ultimately, however, the film needed to convey the founders’ vision. Through a wide range of media typologies, from face-to-face interviews with the project’s principals to collage-like patterns patchworked from archival photography, we seamlessly wed the local and global ambitions for the museum with BIG’s architectural plan.

And though this film exists to raise awareness of the museum’s fundraising ambitions, we approached it as a foundational document that both BIG and the museum’s founders could use for years to come to communicate the significance of a permanent, dynamic home for Juneteenth.

“[Journey’s] vast experience and creative approach made the creation process enjoyable, and the by-product of their work is a very compelling film that truly captures the essence of our ambitious project.“

— Jarred Howard, CEO, National Juneteenth Museum

— The National Juneteenth Museum

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