African American Museum Explores Complex History

By Alena Cradle-Morgan’19

With thousands of visitors pouring in daily, it is safe to say that the National Museum of African American History and Culture has been extremely successful after its grand opening to the public.

This is the only museum in the nation exclusively dedicated to the documentation of African American history and culture. The modern and interactive museum allows patrons to view the different that make up the culture of African Americans and educate them on how African Americans have contributed to American history.

Despite the fact that this museum is dedicated to history, the displays are far from being stuck in the past. The “Target Learning Center and Interactive Gallery” exhibit, located on the second floor entertains people of all ages with various activities to partake in.

Near the center of the exhibit there is the “Join the Step Show” portion, which allows visitors to learn Step dance moves from two instructors that are displayed on a large screen and practice their moves on the sensored mat on the floor.

Next to the Step Show there is a Hip Hop Media center, a vibrant and live section filled with photographs of old hip hop icons, hip hop style clothing and small screens that show past interviews of hip hop artists.

Larger screens are placed along the back wall of the exhibit and each screen displays different inventions created by African Americans for visitors to click on to learn more about. Lastly, in a room adjacent to these activities, is the “Explore Your Family History” section that patrons can enter to research more about their ancestry or apply to work with the museum to learn more about their roots.

To delve further into the breakthroughs and impact African Americans have had in American history, visitors can explore the Community Gallery on the third floor.

The maze of knowledge covers all areas from African Americans rise in sports to the development of black owned businesses of the past.

When entering this gallery the visitors’ eyes are drawn to the several screens on a grand wall, each of which an influential leader in the movement towards the progression of African Americans in society is displayed.

Walking further into the exhibit patrons can recognize the theme of “Making A Way Out Of No Way” visible on the walls and displays.

The theme, combined with the displays, highlights the message that Africans Americans figures shown in the museum had to overcome obstacles and break down barriers to achieve the success they had. One of the many highlights of this exhibit is the “Issues On The Table” area that allows visitors to sit down at a large round table to write down on a piece of paper and submit issues that are in their communities and/ or families.

On the top floor is the last exhibit filled with colors and various sounds that paint the culture of African Americans thoroughly.

The exhibit plays clip after clip of African American musicians, artists, poets and singers on screens plastered on the ceiling.

The walls are decorated with quotes from the iconic artists of black culture and various articles of clothing are on display showing the diversity and complexity with the the culture In the middle of the exhibit, patrons get to stand between to large screens and view live concerts of memorable artists from the past, such as Bob Marley, Prince, Michael Jackson and many more.

In the back of the exhibit, visitors get to experience what it would have been like to have been in an old record shop and play DJ by selecting albums to play on the large tablet in the middle of the room.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture has achieved unprecedented success in the past two years and continues to be celebrated on various outlets.

The museum is located in Washington D.C. and is open Monday through Sunday at 10 am to 5:30 pm. People are allowed to walk in and purchase a ticket or pass on the same day they are visiting, however, those passes sell out rapidly.

The prices for individual and group passes are not posted on the museum’s online website until tickets become available, so those who wish to visit must act quickly or plan a month in advance.

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