The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C., is a Smithsonian Institution Museum. The museum has exhibits to represent African American history and culture. Established in December 2003, it moved into its permanent home in September 2016, following a ceremony presided over by President Barack Obama. It has been there since.
In 1915 the first attempt was made to establish a federally owned museum dedicated to African-American history and culture. However, it was not until the 1970s that the push for such an organization began. With little progress for many years, a more aggressive legislative drive began in 1988, which resulted in the museum’s approval in 2003 after years of effort. In 2006 a location for the museum was established. In 2009 a design presented by Freelon Group/Adjaye Associates/Davis Brody Bond was selected. Construction of the Museum began in 2012 and finished in 2016.
The National Museum of African-American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is the world’s largest museum dedicated to African-American history and culture. In its first full year of operation, it was rated the fourth most visited Smithsonian museum in the country. Although the museum has more than 40,000 artifacts in its collection, only roughly 3,500 of them are on show at any given time. The 350,000-square-foot (33,000-square-meter), ten-story skyscraper (five above ground and five below ground), as well as its displays, have received acclaim.
From the second decade of the twentieth century, the concept of a national museum dedicated to African-American history and culture first emerged. Hundreds of African-American veterans of the Union Army gathered at the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church around Washington, D.C., in 1915 for a reunion and procession commemorating their service. The veterans, fed up with the racial injustice, created a committee to design and build a memorial to honor various African-American contributions.
Their efforts were rewarded in 1929 when President Herbert Hoover appointed Mary Church Terrell, Mary McLeod Bethune, and ten other African-Americans to a commission tasked with constructing a “National Memorial Building” to honor African-American achievements in the arts, sciences, and other disciplines. However, Congress did not support the project, and private fundraising efforts were also unsuccessful. Even though other plans for African-American history and culture museums were proposed in Congress during the next 40 years, none received more than a token amount of support.