National Museum of African American History unveiled

President Barack Obama speaks at opening ceremony
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Simon Stephens
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The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has opened in Washington, DC.

It cost $540m to develop and is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. The museum has 34,000 artefacts, with 3,000 on display.

“At last the National Museum of African American History and Culture is open for every American and the world to better understand the African American journey and how it shaped America,” said Lonnie Bunch, the director of the museum.

“If we’ve done our job right, I trust the museum will be place for all Americans to ponder, reflect, learn, rejoice, collaborate and, ultimately, draw sustenance and inspiration from the lessons of history to make America better.”

The 400,000-square-foot building is on a five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument. It has an annual budget of $44m and 175 staff.

Four design firms worked on the design of the building: Freelon Group; Adjaye Associates; Davis Brody Bond; and the SmithGroupJJR.


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