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Smithsonian Institution, P. O. Box 37012, Washington, D.C. 20013-7012

Lonnie G. Bunch, Director

Legislation was signed in 2003 establishing the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).  The Museum’s building is scheduled to open on the National Mall in 2015. NMAAHC is dedicated to the collection, preservation, research, and exhibition of African American historical and cultural material reflecting the breadth and depth of the experiences of individuals of African descent living in the United States. Currently, in its pre-building phase, the museum is presenting exhibitions, producing publications, hosting public programs, and building its collections. Its growing collections include material culture, documents, and art from era of slavery, the period of Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, the civil rights movement, and more recent developments in history and culture from 1968 to the present. This is a unique opportunity for students to work with a museum-in-the-making, and to contribute to the research for its exhibitions and programs.

The collections, exhibitions, research, publications, and educational programs serve the Museum’s basic mission: to inspire a broader understanding of African American history and culture in a national and international context. In addition to exhibitions, the Museum interprets history and culture through performances and hands on activities, as well as music from America’s past.

The Museum's programmatic objectives are flexible enough to encourage the creation of projects tailored to students' interests and needs. The student will have opportunities to develop and engage in a variety of projects that may include oral history projects, regional history, as well as art and cultural history. Under the supervision of museum staff, there is also the opportunity to engage in curriculum development and program evaluation projects. The Museum's growing permanent collection of artifacts, archives, photographic holdings, and art offers scholars interested in African American material culture excellent opportunities for research.


GARDULLO, Paul, Museum Curator. B.A. (1986) Rutgers University; M.A. (2001), Ph.D. (2006) George Washington University. Research specialties: African American history and culture; American social and cultural history; public history; memory; race; popular culture, photography and visual culture, folklife.

GATES MORESI, Michèle, Curator of Collections. B.A. (1989), M.Phil. (1997), Ph.D. (2003) George Washington University. Research specialties: 19th century U.S. Social History, African American History, Material Culture Studies, Museum History, Collections Research.

NICHOLS, Elaine, Senior Curator of Culture. BA, University of North Carolina Charlotte; MSSA, Case Western Reserve University; MA, University of South Carolina. Research specialties: African American history and culture, historical archaeology, textiles/costumes, and African American funeral and mourning customs.

PRETZER, William, Curator of History. B.A. (1972) Stanford University; M.A. (1976), Ph.D. (1986) Northern Illinois University. Research specialties: Labor and technology; the book and printing history; social history.

SERWER, Jacquelyn D., Chief Curator. B.A. Sarah Lawrence College; M.A. University of Chicago; Ph.D. City University of New York. Research specialties: American Art and African American Art, 19th century to the present; Museum Studies.


ANDERSON, Renée S., Museum Specialist. B.F.A. (1983) Virginia Commonwealth University; M.S. (1997), Ph.D. (2000) Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Research specialties: clothing and textiles; design process.

FRANKLIN, John W., Director of Partnerships and International Programs. B.A. (1973) Stanford University. Research specialties: Cultural change in French-speaking West Africa and the Caribbean, African Diaspora studies, Cape Verde and Cape Verdian Americans, multicultural perspectives in cultural institutions, African American history and culture in U.S. museums.

WASHINGTON, Esther J., Director of Education. B.A. (1982) Howard University. Research specialties: K-12 object-based education, family programming, multiple learning styles, visitors with disabilities, technology/new media in museum settings.

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