A Place for Healing and Reconciliation: National Museum Of African American History And Culture
The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened to the public Saturday, Sept. 24. NMAAHC images
"After 13 years of hard work and dedication on the part of so many, I am thrilled that we now have this good news to share with the nation and the world,” said Lonnie Bunch, the museum’s founding director. "We are prepared to offer exhibitions and programs to unite and capture the attention of millions of people worldwide. It will be a place for healing and reconciliation, a place where everyone can explore the story of America through the lens of the African American experience."
"The National Museum of African American History and Culture furthers the Smithsonian’s commitment to telling America's story in all its dimensions," said David Skorton, Smithsonian Secretary.
President George W. Bush signed the legislation establishing the museum in 2003. In 2009, the museum's architectural team of Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroupJJR was selected, and in 2011 Clarke/Smoot/Russell was chosen as the construction firm. David Adjaye is the lead designer, and Phil Freelon is the lead architect. The landscape design is by the team of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol.
The Smithsonian broke ground for the museum Feb. 22, 2012 on its five-acre site on Constitution Avenue between 14th and 15th streets N.W. The 400,000-square-foot building has five levels above ground and four below. The museum has exhibition galleries, an education center, a theater, café and store, as well as staff offices. Among the building's signature spaces are the Contemplative Court, a water- and light-filled memorial area that offers visitors a quiet space for reflection; the Central Hall, the primary public space in the museum and the point of orientation to building; and a reflecting pool at the south entry of the museum, with calm waters meant to invite all to approach.
President Barack Obama greets the Tennessee State University Marching Band on the South Portico of the White House following a reception for the opening of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, Sept. 23, 2016. The band performed on the South Lawn for the arriving guests. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
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