The National Museum of African American History and Culture is due to open in Washington later this week, 13 years after its creation was first announced by Congress.
The five-story, 400,000-square-foot museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution and highlights the achievements of black Americans throughout history. Close to the iconic Washington Monument, the newest addition to the National Mall houses over 36,000 artefacts in its collection and is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history and culture.
As well as showcasing objects, clothes and statues, exhibits have digital kiosks that offer in-depth history behind famous people such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr and other figures linked to key historical events in African American history. The museum houses exhibitions dedicated to sporting achievement, featuring iconic African American athletes through the ages, such as Olympic champion Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis. There is also a range of cultural exhibits featuring information on influential black people in media, such as Oprah Winfrey, and work by artists, such as Charles Alston and Elizabeth Catlett.
This week saw advanced admission for media and guests, with visitors getting the chance to explore the museum for the first time. They were given the chance to try traditional foods at the museum’s Sweet Home Café, with samples of smoked haddock, corn croquettes, slow cooked collards and pan-roasted oysters on the menu.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture will open on 24 September. More information is available on the museum website.