Mayor Joe Riley says former President Bill Clinton likes what he's hearing about Charleston's proposed International African American Museum.

"It was a great meeting," Riley said Thursday, shortly after spending an hour with Clinton in New York.

"He was very interested in the museum, as he has been, but very well pleased in the direction we've taken and the work we have been doing."

Riley's comments came as part of the fundraising push to raise the $25 million in private donations needed for the $75 million museum project.

While in New York, Riley met with various potential museum backers, including from the Morgan Stanley Foundation, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, among other groups interested in the Charleston project.

The meeting with the former president was held at the New York Stock Exchange. Repeated requests from comment from Clinton's media representatives were unsuccessful.

"He wants to help and he believes in the importance of" the project, Riley said, adding that during their conversation he could see the president batting around in his mind ways of raising money.

Riley said he did not approach Clinton by way of his nonprofit Clinton Foundation, which is geared toward improving global health, economic development and other issues.

The museum project got a boost this week when the S.C. Legislature approved $5 million to help build the site that will chart the arrival of Africans into North America through Charleston, and their growth as Americans over the next hundreds of years.

So far, a combined $25 million has been allocated by the Charleston City and Charleston County councils for the project but many more millions in state and private funds will need to be raised for the effort to become a reality.

The museum will go near the intersection of Concord and Calhoun streets across from the S.C. Aquarium and Fort Sumter tour boat site downtown.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551