Today marks 100 days until the grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) on Saturday, September 24th! President Obama will cut the ribbon and open the doors of the museum to the public at the ceremony. 

In December 2003, Congress enacted The NMAAHC Act, P.L. 108-184, establishing a museum within the Smithsonian Institution to be known as the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In January 2006, the museum’s five-acre site next to the National Monument was selected by the Smithsonian Board of Regents. 

Six years later on February 22, 2012, President Obama, Congressman John Lewis and Former First Lady Laura Bush spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony

In 2008, NMAAHC collaborated with the National Portrait Gallery on an inaugural exhibition of photographic portraits of African Americans. Since then the NMAAHC has presented several exhibitions exploring the museum’s commitment to documenting and sharing African American life, culture, art, and history. Our current exhibition, “Through the African American Lens: Selections from the Permanent Collection” is on view now in the NMAAHC gallery at the National Museum of American History.


Photo: View of the Washington Monument from inside the museum. 


Photo: Michael Barnes, Smithsonian Institution

The museum will feature 11 inaugural exhibitions exploring themes of history, culture and community. 

Highlights of our collection include: 

  • Nat Turner’s Bible (c. 1830s)
  • A segregation era Southern Railway car (c. 1920)
  • Michael Jackson’s fedora, (c. 1992)
  • Harriet Tubman’s hymnal (c. 1876) 
  • Artwork by artists including Elizabeth Catlett and Romare Bearden

Also included in our collection is Marian Anderson’s outfit worn during her 1939 Easter Sunday Performance just a short walk from our museum building at the Lincoln Memorial.

Join our Save the Date Facebook Event for updates regarding the weekend’s programming.