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  4. Grand Opening Ceremony: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

The only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African-American life, history and culture.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is a Smithsonian Institution museum established in December 2003. The museum's building, designed by David Adjaye, is on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.. Early efforts to establish a federally owned museum featuring African American history and culture can be traced to 1915, although the modern push for such an organization did not begin until the 1970s. After years of little success, a much more serious legislative push began in 1988 that led to authorization of the museum in 2003. A site was selected in 2006. The museum opened September 24, 2016, in a ceremony led by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Location in Washington, D.C.
Established December 19, 2003; opened September 24, 2016
Location Washington D.C., United States
Coordinates 38.891°N 77.0326°W
Type History museum
Collections African-American history, art, music
Collection size 33,000 (approximate)
Director Lonnie Bunch
Curator Jacquelyn Serwer
Architect Freelon Group/Adjaye Associates/Davis Brody Bond
Public transit access Federal Triangle station (Blue, Orange, Silver lines)
Website nmaahc.si.edu

The NMAAHC is a public institution open to all, where anyone is welcome to participate, collaborate, and learn more about African American history and culture. In the words of Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of the NMAAHC, “there are few things as powerful and as important as a people, as a nation that is steeped in its history.”

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

Barack Obama 44th President of the United States


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The Collection

The Museum now owns close to 37,000 objects thanks to institutional support and the generosity of our many donors.

American South
American West
Civil Rights
Clothing and Dress
Religious Groups

 Public Downloads

All items are free to view, share, and download.

When available, we provide all our content with a Spanish version in our public download section. You can find additional material from sources listed in all our articles.