National Museum of African American History and Culture: Chronology of Events

February 1, 2016
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President Barack Obama speaks at podium in front of National Museum of African American History and Culture

Dec. 16, 2003
President George W. Bush signs the legislation creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)

October 2004
Founding 19-member NMAAHC Council appointed by the Smithsonian Board of Regents

March 14, 2005
Lonnie G. Bunch III named founding director of NMAAHC

Jan. 30, 2006
Selection of the five-acre museum site on the National Mall near the Washington Monument

Oct. 1, 2007
Selection of Freelon Bond, pre-design and architectural-programming consultants

Jan. 19, 2008
NMAAHC launches first “Save Our African American Treasures” program in Chicago

Oct. 27, 2008
Pre-design: Master facilities programming

November 2008
Completion of the master exhibition planning, facilities planning and programming report

January 2009
Opening of NMAAHC Gallery at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

February 2009
Architectural design competition begins

April 14, 2009
Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup selected as the architectural team for the museum

July 12, 2011
Construction firm, Clark/Smoot/Russell begins planning for the construction of the building 

Feb. 22, 2012

November 2012
First concrete pour

Nov. 17, 2013
Cranes install the first iconic artifacts, a Jim Crow-era railroad car and Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola) prison guard tower, into the museum

October 2014
Steel topping out; last steel member lifted for structural framing

January 2015
Above-grade steel and concrete superstructure is complete to the roof level; glass installation begins on fifth floor

April 14, 2015
Glass enclosure complete; the first of 3,600 bronze-colored “Corona” panels installed


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