ATLANTIC CITY — The African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey will celebrate its 18th anniversary Monday with a gala and fundraiser at Harrah’s Resort.

The event will focus on increasing the organization’s membership and ensuring the continuation of the museum’s history of service to the community.

It will start at 5:30 p.m. in the Waterfront Conference Center.

Jennifer Lewis-Hall, producer and host of “In Focus” on WPHL-TV 17, will be the featured guest. Lewis-Hall, an Emmy-nominated journalist and veteran reporter, is also the author of “Life’s a Journey — Not a Sprint.”

The gala will be catered by Gordon Ramsay Steak, with a cash bar. Lonnie Youngblood will provide the entertainment.

Since its inception, the museum’s collection has grown to include more than 10,000 pieces.

Its most recent acquisition, a 10-foot by 10-foot oil portrait of Whoopi Goldberg painted by Yigal Ozeri and valued at $250,000, was presented to the museum by the comedian, actress and television host late last year, said Ralph Hunter, museum president and founder.

Following Goldberg’s mention of the museum on her TV show, “The View,” museum attendance spiked, Hunter said.

“Whoopi is not just a national treasure. She is our most famous lifetime member,” Hunter said. “The best way to support our museum is to follow Whoopi’s example and become a member.”

The African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey is a 501c3 nonprofit and is the only African American museum in the state. In 2002, the museum opened in Newtonville, Buena Vista Township, in the Martin Luther King Center. Since then, it has expanded to a second location in the Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University in the city.

For tickets to the gala or to become a member of the museum, visit aahmsnj.org or call 609-350-6662.

Contact: 609-272-7202

VJackson@pressofac.com

Twitter@ACPressJackson

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