National Museum of African American History and Culture opens

Serene Ghul, Arts Editor

On Saturday Sept. 24, the National Museum of  African American History and Culture opened in Washington D.C. This is the Smithsonian’s 19th museum. But this building is more than just a museum, it’s a place filled with memories and the unpolished truth of America.

President Obama was there at the opening of the museum and gave a speech in front of thousands and thousands of people waiting outside the National Mall. Tickets were free, but hard to obtain as there were about 1,000 invited guests.

Obama describes the significance of the museum and says, “African American history is not somehow separate than the American story. It is not the underside of the American story. It is central to the American story,”  

The opening of this museum was so significant that a 99 year old woman named Ruth Bonner, born to a former slave, was chosen to open the doors to the museum. The building was open to the public at around 1 PM and closed at around 8 PM.

Many celebrities attended the opening and some are even apart of the Museum. Oprah Winfrey, who recently donated 13 million dollars to the museum, has a theater named after her.

Not only does the museum represent all that has happened in the past, but how we can learn to prosper in the future. Rep. John Lewis, the man who fought Congress for many years to make the museum a reality, says, “This place is more than a building. It is a dream come true.”

The building itself is quite significant as it contains a bronze-hued exterior which is called “Corona”. The bronze is used to represent the iron work that enslaved workers in Charlotte and New Orleans once did. The building is about 400,000 square feet filled with more than 36,000 artifacts. The building is 5 stories high and 60 percent of the museum is below the grade.

As the people walk through the museum, they are first introduced to slavery and civil movement. There are many other exhibits in between, and even as recent and extremely significant as the Black Lives Matter movement.

The museum is divided into 10 major galleries.

There is Slavery and Freedom, Defending Freedom, Changing Freedom, all under the history galleries. Under the culture galleries, there is Musical Crossroads, Cultural Expressions, and the Visual Arts Gallery. Power of Place, Making a Way Out of No Way, Sports Gallery, and Military History Gallery, are all under the community galleries.

The museum tells these stories through different artifacts and artwork. Pieces like Gabby Douglas’s uneven bar from the 2012 olympics,  Harriet Tubman’s shawl, and Carlotta Walls LaNier’s dress from Little Rock Nine.

img_8250The National Museum of African American History and Culture although focused on one historic group, contains history and past events that every American can relate to, whether they are aware of it or not.