Adding Color to White Marble: The National Museum of African American History and Culture

Pho­to Cred­it: Rex Ham­mond

The Nation­al Muse­um of African Amer­i­can His­to­ry and Cul­ture (NMAAHC), estab­lished by an Act of Con­gress in 2003, opened its doors to the pub­lic on Sept. 24, 2016. Wrapped in bronze and inspired by the three-tiered crowns used in West African art, the museum’s out­er skin shines bright­ly near the cen­ter of the Nation­al Mall. 

As the 19th and newest muse­um of the Smith­son­ian Insti­tu­tion, it hosts America’s largest col­lec­tion on African Amer­i­can arti­facts, some 40,000 in total. Spe­cial high­lights include items owned by Under­ground Rail­road cham­pi­on, Har­ri­et Tub­man, Emmett Louis Till’s glass cas­ket, box­ing gloves worn by Muhammed Ali, and a trum­pet played by Louis Arm­strong. 400 years after the first slaves arrived in the Unit­ed States, Amer­i­ca is fac­ing up to its regret­table past and cel­e­brat­ing the beau­ty of African Amer­i­can con­tri­bu­tions to not only this nation’s cul­ture, but to the world’s.

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