National Museum of African American History and Culture

May 1, 2017
Media Fact Sheet

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Interim Director: Spencer Crew
houTotal Full-Time Employees: 188
Annual Budget (federal and trust) FY 2019: $51.3 million
Approximate Number of Artifacts: 37,000


The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened Sept. 24, 2016, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Occupying a prominent 5-acre location next to the Washington Monument, the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. The museum was created in 2003 by an act of Congress, establishing it as part of the Smithsonian. In 2018, the museum earned LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for design and construction. Collections
The museum has about 3,000 objects on display from its collection of nearly 40,000. Highlights include:

  • Harriet Tubman collection, including her hymnal (c. 1876); lace shawl (c. 1897), given to her by Queen Victoria; and family photographs from her funeral
  • Jim Crow railroad car (c. 1920)
  • Chuck Berry’s red Cadillac convertible (c. 1973)
  • Black Fashion Museum Collection (about 1,000 items)
  • Tuskegee Airmen Trainer Plane, an open-cockpit PT-13 Stearman (c. 1942) used to prepare Tuskegee Airmen for World War II combat duty
  • Works of art by Charles Alston, John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Lorna Simpson, Romare Bearden, Archibald John Motley Jr., Henry O. Tanner and Frederick C. Flemister
  • Emmett Till’s casket (c. 1955)—the glass-topped coffin that held the body of 14-year-old Emmett Till, whose murder in Mississippi helped galvanize the civil rights movement
  • Slave cabin from Edisto Island, S.C. (c. 1800–50)

Building Layout and Permanent Exhibitions

Located at the corner of 15th Street N.W. and Constitution Avenue, the museum includes exhibition galleries, an education center, a theater, an auditorium, a café, a store and offices. The museum’s inaugural exhibitions focus on broad themes of history, culture and community. These exhibitions have been conceived to help transform visitors’ understanding of American history and culture and to help visitors adapt to and participate in changing definitions of American citizenship, liberty and equality. The exhibitions employ a range of interpretive and experiential strategies.

Fifth floor: Staff offices, boardroom

Fourth floor: Culture galleries: “Musical Crossroads,” “Cultural Expressions,” “Visual Arts Gallery,” “Taking the Stage

Third floor: Community galleries: “Power of Place,” “Making a Way Out of No Way,” “Sports: Leveling the Playing Field,” “Double Victory: The African American Military Experience

Second floor: Education space, resource center, the “Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts

First floor: Heritage Hall, welcome center, Corona Pavilion, store.

Concourse 0:  Atrium, Contemplative Court, Oprah Winfrey Theater, “A Century in the Making,” Special Exhibitions Gallery, Sweet Home Café

Concourse 1:  History Gallery—“A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond

Concourse 2:  History Gallery—“Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom: Era of Segregation 1876-1968

Concourse 3:  History Gallery—“Slavery and Freedom 1400-1877


The museum is open 364 days a year. Regular operating hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The museum is closed Dec. 25.

Since opening Sept. 24, 2016, the museum has welcomed nearly 6 million visitors. The museum uses a free timed-pass system to serve as many visitors as possible.

Online same-day timed passes: Visitors can obtain passes on the day of their planned visit starting at 6:30 a.m. on the museum’s website at

Walk-up passes: A limited number of walk-up passes are available at 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. No walk-up passes are available on weekends due to high visitation.

Advance timed-entry passes for individuals are released the first Wednesday of each month at or by calling 866-297-4020.

For more information, visit and and follow the museum on social media: @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat—or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.


Recent Awards

2017 Award for Excellence Architecture                      American Institute of Architects (AIA|DC)
2017 Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement         Themed Entertainment Association
2017 James Beard Nominee, Best New Restaurant   James Beard Foundation
2017 Gold Muse in Interactive Kiosk Category            American Alliance of Museums
2017 Best Teaching Mobile App                                   American Association of School Librarians
2017 Audience Honor,                                                 Gold Shorty Award Sawhorse Media
2018 AIANY Design Awards Best in Competition        Center For Architecture
2018 People’s Voice Webby Award                             The International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences

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Jermaine House

(202) 633-9495

La Fleur Paysour

(202) 633-4761

Lindsey Koren

(202) 633-4052