WASHINGTON, D.C. – While visiting or interning in Washington D.C., make time to visit the Smithsonian: National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Located on the National Mall, this relatively new museum is artistically designed as symbolic and tangible on the exterior and interior. Hired with the task to create the building was lead designer David Adjaye and lead architect Philip Freelon along with their architectural team called Freelon/Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup.
Since its opening on Sept. 24, 2016 it has continuously been in high demand.
The main objective is to build a bridge between the generations of African-American communities.
The museum is a timeline that introduces its visitors to the 1400s, the origination of African-Americans’ purpose in America. To maneuver through the museum, the journey will begin in a massive elevator, where a staff member who explains the time travel greets you and the many other people who can fit on the elevator. Upon arrival to the first location, It will transport you to the beginning, upon arrival the staff member tells you all that throughout the remainder of the visit, it is a walking museum meaning each visitor will have to walk to receive the full experience.
Each step is packed with information telling the life stories of ancestral African-Americans. Leading to present day information on influential events and leaders.
There is a section relating to education that provides details of Historically Black Colleges and University’s (HBCU). An HBCU is an institution of higher education that was established for colored students prior to the Civil Rights Act in 1964.
The section elaborates on the originality of higher learning facilities for African-Americans and how the first colleges available for these students were mainly supported through the efforts of African-American churches, American Missionary Association and the Freedmen’s Bureau.
Even after segregation, other schools currently categorized as a Predominantly White Institution would not make the process easy for students of color. This allowed the colored students to attend those schools which would accept them.
Featured within this section of the museum is Florida A&M University. Displaying a photo of students attending the institution at its early stages. The institution began enrolling students in 1887 and was originally named the State Normal College for Colored Students. By 1953, the institution took its present name.
This museum is continuously evolving. There is more content being added as time goes on.
In specific, one of the newest exhibitions opened on June 8. The temporary exhibition is called, “Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture.” It is expected to run through June 2019. It allows visitors to explore the story of Oprah Winfrey and her eminent talk show. To stay updated on this exhibit, follow the hashtag #WatchingOprah on social media platforms.
Coming soon is a collection devoted to Black Panther, sporting the theme of Wakanda. Several objects will be on display including the hero costume that was worn in the movie by Chadwick Boseman. The collection is expected to be available for viewing in October.
To add to the cultural experience make sure to stop in the dining area called Sweet Home Café. It provides an opportunity to purchase traditional and classical dishes of the African-American culture. The available menus include dishes such as: BBQ, Caribbean, Creole, fried Fish and Southern.
This experience is high demand so don’t forget that tickets go fast. Even though admission is free be sure to reserve a timed pass online through Etix. Walk-ups are available but only on the weekdays.
With so much to view and learn in this museum, one visit just won’t do.
The museum is open every day of the year from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. except for Christmas. For more information, visit nmaahc.si.edu or phone (844)750-3012.