More photos of exhibits at the new museum.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture opens today on the National Mall in Washington. The bronze-hued, metal-latticed structure stands in contrast to the marble and stone of its neighbors. Inside there are 37,000 artifacts and numerous video and audio displays; 60 percent of the 400,000-squarefoot museum is located underground.
In the September issue of Smithsonian Magazine, Lonnie Bunch, the museum’s director, writes: “The defining experience of African–American life has been the necessity of making a way out of no way, of mustering the nimbleness, ingenuity and perseverance to establish a place in this society. That effort, over the centuries, has shaped this nation’s history so profoundly that, in many ways, AfricanAmerican history is the quintessential American history. Most of the moments where American liberty has been expanded have been tied to the African-American experience. If you’re interested in American notions of freedom, if you’re interested in the broadening of fairness, opportunity and citizenship, then regardless of who you are, this is your story, too.”
Among the 37,000 artifacts, as well as video and audio displays, featured at the museum is this presentation commemorating the candidacy and presidency of Barack Obama. The 400,000-square-foot museum’s grand opening is scheduled today.
A man walks past a portrait of Susan B. Anthony at the museum. Anthony, best known for her advocacy of women’s suffrage, also worked to abolish slavery and establish a racially integrated society.
An exhibit displays nine of the 10 Olympic medals won by track and field great Carl Lewis between 1984 and 1996. He placed the 10th medal in his father’s casket.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture joins the Washington Monument on the National Mall.
Behind a sculpture of Thomas Jefferson at the museum are bricks with the names of 609 people who were owned by Jefferson during his lifetime.