Big plans for Beck Cultural Exchange Center

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Robert Booker has a passion for the past and a grand vision of the future for Knoxville's Beck Cultural Exchange Center.

He has implemented an aggressive plan to transform the center into the nation's signature local black history museum.

Booker previously served two tenures as executive director of the center over a 16-year period. He first served in 1978, three years after the center was established.

He is upgrading exhibits, digging through vast stashes of boxed archives and implementing his vision for the center through fundraising and public relations activities.

Booker said the center is an underused repository that showcases the rich history of local black residents.

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