The National Museum of African American History and Culture, the 19th Smithsonian museum, is set to open in Washington, DC, in 2015. At Wednesday’s ground-breaking ceremony on the National Mall, President Obama said the museum will rose on ground where “lives were once traded, where hundreds of thousands once marched for jobs and for freedom. It was here that the pillars of democracy were built often by black hands.”
The museum, a 7-level structure with much of its exhibit space below ground, will sit between the Washington Monument and the National Museum of American History. According to the new museum’s director, Lonnie Bunch, it will be the new home for more than 30,000 artifacts, including Harriet Tubman’s shawl, a Jim Crow-era segregated railroad car and Emmett Till’s casket, as well as galleries devoted to military, sports and entertainment history.
According to the Washington Post, the $500 million museum will have a bronze-coated “corona,” a crown that rises like an inverted pyramid. Organizers said the bronze plates are inspired by African-American metalwork from New Orleans and Charleston, SC, and that the design evokes African roots.
David Adjaye –a Tanzanian-born, London-based Ghanaian architect– beat out several opponents to create the 350,000 square-foot museum.