It has been about a year since the African American History Museum was opened to the public in Washington D.C. The opening in September of last year represented a major milestone in African American history and culture. Plans for a national African American History Museum were first advocated about a 100 years ago by African American civil war veterans.
The opening of the National Museum of African American History in 2016 was a landmark event that represented the struggles of generations of African Americans working to establish a museum about their history and struggles. Its opening ceremony was attended by president Barack Obama, who has African roots on his father’s side.
You will find the National Museum of African American History located right on the National Mall in D.C. alongside the Washington Monument. It has a unique exterior that is made up of wooden columns that culminate in a crown at the top. The museum is part of the 19 Smithsonian Museums.
Inside the National Museum of African American History, there is a chronicle of the African American experience in the United States. Historic exhibitions cover life under slavery in the South where many African American were enslaved on plantations. The Civil War and Civil Rights Movement is also covered. Museum planners and directors say that the museum is meant to create tension.
A lot of African American history is tough, and the museum wants to convey that message. Even getting the museum approved, funded and built was tough in of itself. The federal government said that it would only cover about half of the costs of the museum. This is unusual. Most Smithsonian museums are fully covered by federal funding.
Approval for the museum also faced hurdles after Congress rejected the idea of a separate national African American museum. It eventually gained approval under President George W. Bush and construction was completed under president Barack Obama. Funding costs were covered by philanthropists and prominent African Americans such as Oprah Winfrey, the Gates Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.