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Knoxville's African American history museum plans to move into the 21st century with the help of Knox County's budget surplus.

The Beck Cultural Center in East Knoxville will receive an extra $50,000 on top of their $25,000 allotment from the county.

10News reported last week that the county expects a $3 million surplus. The fund are being spread to several areas in the county, including a $700 bonus for most employees.

RELATED: County expects $2.8 million surplus, employees to get bonus

The center's new executive director, Renee Kesler, said they plan to use their money to help digitize the massive archives.

From newspaper clipping dating back to centuries to oral histories, the center has spent the past four decades collecting pieces of Knoxville's history.

Kesler hopes to bring it to life by modernizing the museum.

"We can take what we do and really begin to digitize it because we've found that people engage through learning in different styles: feeling, touching, hearing, all the things technology brings," Kesler, an East Knoxville businesswoman, said.

"It engages the learner in such a way where they're interactive, interacting with the history. We think it can take Beck to the next level. The timing could not be more perfect. So we're really, really excited about that."

In 2011, Mayor Tim Burchett cut the center's funding from $150,000 to $12,000 a year, after leaders raised concerns about their finances. The county and the center have since audited the operation's books, and everything has come back clean.

County leaders said that went a long way to securing the money.

Now, Kesler said they plan to put the money to good use, helping to preserve the county's history and teach it to future generations.

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