When the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture was established in 2003, there was not a single artifact, nor a site on which to build in Washington, D.C., nor an architect to draw up the plans, not even any staff to work at the museum.
But, now, after 13 years, the dreams and visions of those who worked to achieve this glorious endeavor has finally come to fruition.
This, Saturday, September 24, 2016, will see the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), with celebrations, city-wide bell ringing, and a dedication ceremony with President Barack Obama. Other dignitaries scheduled to attend are Rep. John Lewis, Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton, and Lonnie Bunch, founder director of the museum.
The museum will showcase and honor the best, the beautiful and the profound that is Black Americans.
It will be the centerpiece of the Washington Mall.
It will honor the history and so much that has been done by Black Americans for this nation.
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, abolitionist, suffragist, poet, and author, 1893.
Black men to arms Civil War poster.
Civil Rights Movement activists under dog attack in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963.
Mae Jemison, NASA astronaut
The struggle to make this nation into what it should have been and still is a long way from being.
I have seen online photos of the museum, and it is a sight to behold.
Entry to the museum will be by timed passes. Like any museum, in order for visitors to see the exhibits, there must be timed entry to allow everyone who purchased tickets to have enough time to view the exhibits. During the rest of this week, the following will be of interest to those who cannot wait to visit this monumental building that gives voice to the history of Black people. Those events are: planning your travel for the grand opening this Saturday; dedication and festival; visiting the museum during grand opening; media and communications; as well as getting involved in the museum, especially those of you who are fortunate to sign up as a docent in the service of the museum. The FAQ page for the preceding can be here.
The breath-takingly beautiful museum is at a prime location on the National Mall at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 14TH Street, across from the Washington Monument.
The museum will have 12 inaugural exhibitions that will be grouped around three main themes: history, community and culture and will include an exhibit about the museum’s evolution called “A Century in the Making.” The 400,000-square-foot museum will also house an education and technology center on the second floor, the Sweet Home Café, a museum store, the Oprah Winfrey Theater, a welcome center and orientation theater, and a contemplative court.
The museum will have on display more than 3,000 artifacts ranging from pieces of a slave ship to artifacts that cover Black American’s sojourn in this nation through indentured servitude, race-based enslavement, the Underground Railroad, the destruction of Reconstruction, Jane Crow segregation, Carl Lewis’ Olympic medals, the modern Civil Rights Movement, and all the way up to the present.
The museum will empl0y a staff of 200, and boast a fundraising program that so far has topped $315 million in private funds.
VISITING THE MUSEUM
The museum is free, but as previously stated, timed passes will be required.
Hours for the Grand Opening weekend will be Saturday, 1-8 p.m., and Sunday, 7 a.m.-midnight.
The free, timed passes are available online at http://www.nmaahc.si.edu and through ETIX Customer Support Center, 919-653-0443 or 800-514-3849.
Starting Monday, September 26, 2016, the museum will begin distributing a limited number of same-day passes beginning at 9″15 a.m. All visitors must go through a security screening and bags checks will be in order at museum entrances.
For more information on visiting, including hours, directions, public transportation, parking, tours, and special programs, access updates at http://www.nmaahc.si.edu.