Celebrating the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Opening in September 2016

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Smithsonian Museum Rendering, Courtesy of the Freelon Group, 2008, From the collection of: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
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In 2003,the US Congress established the National Museum of African American History (NMAAHC) as part of the Smithsonian Institution.

Built on a five-acre site on Constitution Avenue between 14th and 15th streets N.W the Museum is the Smithsonian’s 19th, and the only national museum devoted exclusively to showcasing African American life, art, history and culture. It will open in the Fall of 2016.

National Museum of African American History and Culture, northeast corner, Michael Barnes, Smithsonian Institution, 2015, From the collection of: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
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Currently home to more than 30,000 objects, the Museum’s collection includes; Harriet Tubman’s hymnal, Civil War-era photographs, a Jim Crow-era railroad car, a Louis Armstrong trumpet, a Tuskegee Airmen plane, sculpture by Elizabeth Catlett, African American fashion collections and more.

NMAAHC (2015) by National Museum of African American History and CultureSmithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

THE VISION

NMAAHC south facade and porch at dusk (2015-11-06) by Michael Barnes, Smithsonian InstitutionSmithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Museum will:

• Serve as a place to explore and revel in African American History and Culture

• Use African American History and Culture as a lens into what it means to be an American

• Tell the African American story in an international context

• Be a place of collaboration, dialogue, and reconciliation

Museum under construction (2015) by Bryan Sieling, NMAAHCSmithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

THE BUILDING

Architects at work on the NMAAHC Project (ca. 2008) by David Adjaye, J. Max Bond, Jr. & Philip FreelonSmithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Designed by Freelon Adjaye Bond/Smith Group, the museum building includes elements of African American and African Diaspora architectural traditions.

National Museum of African American History and Culture, northeast corner (2015) by Michael Barnes, Smithsonian InstitutionSmithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Close-up of Corona Panels on the National Museum of African American History and Culture (2015) by Brendan McCabe, Smithsonian MagazineSmithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

The museum’s façade, called the Corona, consists of 3,523 bronze-colored cast-aluminum panels that form an intricate and luminous envelope around the building.

Caryatid Veranda Post, Postmaker Olowe of Ise, Courtesy of the Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde, Munich, ca. 1938, From the collection of: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
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The trapezoidal shape of the corona derives from architectural columns carved by Yoruban craftsman, Olowe of Ise.

Olowe’s sculptures were used as veranda posts, or columns, adorning the entrances to homes and shrines in traditional Yoruban courtyards in present day Nigeria.

Source: Courtesy of the Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde, Munich

National Museum of African American History and Culture with Washington Monument, Bryan Sieling, NMAAHC, 2015-11-06, From the collection of: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
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The filigree design of the corona is inspired by ornamental ironwork made by enslaved and free African American craftsmen in Charleston and New Orleans.

Exterior of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (2016-01-11) by Michael Barnes, Smithsonian InstitutionSmithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

On the south side of the building, the architects designed a large canopy feature. Referred to as the Porch, this covered area functions as a welcoming space that shelters and shades visitors as they enter the museum.

National Museum of African American History and Culture, northeast corner (2015) by Michael Barnes, Smithsonian InstitutionSmithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Opening in September 2016

Credits: Story

Thanks to the staff members from the Office of Curatorial Affairs and the Information Technology Department at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture who assisted in the creation of this online exhibition.

Thanks also to staff members in the Smithsonian's Office of the CIO for their support of this project.

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Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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