The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution.
There are four pillars upon which the NMAAHC stands:
The NMAAHC is a public institution open to all, where anyone is welcome to participate, collaborate, and learn more about African American history and culture. In the words of Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of the Museum, “there are few things as powerful and as important as a people, as a nation that is steeped in its history.”
It’s hard to imagine improving upon the grandeur of the historic National Mall, miles of greenery surrounded by world-class monuments and museums. But in September 2016, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture did just that. This relatively new addition to an iconic landscape houses artifacts, photography, and other media that reflect African American culture and experiences.
Here you’ll find Harriet Tubman’s personal hymnal and silk lace and linen shawl, a bill of a sale for a young enslaved girl, Louis Armstrong’s trumpet, photos capturing the participation of black women during the Civil Rights Movement, and a collection of costumes from The Wiz. Given the scope and size of the space (85,000 square feet), this is best saved for a day when you have plenty of time to devote.