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Trip Planner: USA / District of Columbia / Washington DC / National Museum of African American History and Culture
The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is a Smithsonian Institution museum located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in the United States. It was established in December 2003 and opened its permanent home in September 2016 with a ceremony led by President Barack Obama.A visit to National Museum of African American History and Culture represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Washington DC trip itinerary planner to plot your vacation.
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, and a design submitted by Freelon Group/Adjaye Associates/Davis Brody Bond was chosen in 2009. Construction began in 2012 and the museum completed in 2016.
The NMAAHC is the world's largest museum dedicated to African-American history and culture. It ranked as the fourth most-visited Smithsonian museum in its first full year of operation. The museum has more than 40,000 objects in its collection, although only about 3,500 items are on display. The 350,000-square-foot (33,000 m2), 10 story building (five above and five below ground) and its exhibits have won critical praise.
National Museum of African American History and Culture reviews
So excellent. Allow plenty of time. Plan to take it slowly. Make sure to get reservations for a time-entry ticket well ahead of time. Go at 10:00 for smaller crowds. And be prepared to be moved. We...
So excellent. Allow plenty of time. Plan to take it slowly. Make sure to get reservations for a time-entry ticket well ahead of time. Go at 10:00 for smaller crowds. And be prepared to be moved. We... more »
A masterpiece by the British Starchitect David Adjaye. Takes more than 1 visit to truly appreciate the architecture and the curation of the exhibits. The historic timeline takes you from pre-slavery..... more
A masterpiece by the British Starchitect David Adjaye. Takes more than 1 visit to truly appreciate the architecture and the curation of the exhibits. The historic timeline takes you from pre-slavery..... more »
The amount of History is amazing. Did you know the tickets come out the first Wednesday of the month before? I figured this out Thursday and could only book a Sunday @1030a. It's about a 2' drive or on the train from DE to DC. We actually lucked up and found free parking but I did see meters other places so check the parking situation. The Museum is gorgeous. To get to the main exhibit is was about a 25 minute wait to get in there. But once in, Wow! Two hours is really not enough time to see it all but it can be tiresome to some with all the walking. This place is also handicap accessible and can provide elevators if needed. Eat before you go or they have a Cafe but it closes around 3p. You must be vaccinated to go into the cafe. NO vaccination required to visit the exhibits.
This was my first visit. The contents of the permanent exhibits were thoughtfully assembled and meticulously curated. The temporary exhibit, called “Reckoning,” was stunning! I only had a few hours so I couldn’t spend as much time there as I wanted. You could take the better part of a day looking at everything! It’s a beautiful place sharing important history and should be a required stop for anyone in DC. I started at the top floor and worked my way down. The architect designed the building so that each floor has a core in which the exhibits are housed, leaving the outside passageways open to the large windows and natural light. This is a thoughtful, modern design allowing for abundant natural light and great views. My only complaint is the museum’s way finding and informational signage. There were no paper maps when I visited, so I scanned a QR code to get a digital map. The digital map was hard to read on my iPhone’s small screen; I couldn’t get a great overview of the museum’s space or contents, so I gave up on using it. I also found that the informational signage on each floor wasn’t really clear. For example, I could tell when I was on the floor with the Heritage Galleries, but had no idea what the Heritage Galleries were or what they contained. I didn’t take any stars off for these issues because they’re minor and easily resolved. One important note is that you need a timed entry pass to enter! They’re very easy to get - and free - before you visit.
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