While the building excitement for the 2015 opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) may seem a long ways off, it is nowhere near as long as the wait for the groundbreaking that took place in February.
The museum, which will be located on the National Mall between the Washington Monument and the National Museum of American History, had been on the drawing board since World War I, but was much delayed by disputes over the vision and purpose of the museum, and finally approved in 2003.
Its completion in 2015 is scheduled to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery.
During a speech in April on the challenge of building a national museum, Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the NMAAHC, said the museum “is not an attempt to create an African American museum by African Americans for African Americans. It really has to be, as part of the Smithsonian, a museum that shapes us all. In some ways the challenge of this museum is to realize that when people look and think about core American values of spirituality, of resilience, of optimism, where better to look than within the African American community?”
Bunch, an accomplished and widely published historian and curator, has covered topics from the black military experience to the impact of politics and funding on American museums, and worked at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History from 1989 through 2000.
While the painful and challenging episodes in black history will be included in the museum, there also will be a celebration of African American life and community.
“It also has to be a place that allows you to find the joy that’s in this community,” Bunch said in April. “…it has to be a place that allows you to understand, from an insider’s perspective, what this community is and what it tries to do…We have to create a museum that uses African American culture as a lens to better understand what it means to be an American.”
Among the artifacts that will find a home in the museum will be the Spirit of Tuskegee, Funkadelic’s Mothership and items from TV’s “Soul Train.” In addition there will be a youth gallery, the first ever in the Smithsonian Institution, devoted to children ages 2 to 10 years old and a classroom to teach significant moments in African American history, using the latest cutting edge technology.
The museum also will promote a “Save Our African American Treasures” program that will teach people to identify and preserve items of historical and cultural significance tucked away in their attics, closets and basements of their homes. Participants can reserve in advance to bring up to three personal items for a 20-minute, one-on-one professional consultation with experts on how to care for them. There have been events in Dallas, home to the Tom Joyner Morning Show, and Atlanta, Charleston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Detroit, Los Angeles and Topeka, Kansas.
Anyone interested in becoming a charter member of the museum or other ways of getting involved may visit nmaahc.si.edu/GetInvolved.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
1 of 25
2 of 25
3 of 25
4 of 25
5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
5 of 25
6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
6 of 25
7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
7 of 25
8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
8 of 25
9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
9 of 25
10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
10 of 25
11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
11 of 25
12. Late nights mornings
12 of 25
13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
13 of 25
14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
14 of 25
15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
15 of 25
16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
16 of 25
17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
17 of 25
18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
18 of 25
19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
19 of 25
20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
20 of 25
21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
21 of 25
22. Claudia Jordan: ....
22 of 25
23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
23 of 25
24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
24 of 25
25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
25 of 25