A People’s Journey If you haven't gone to the NMAAHC yet, you should.

By Cija Jefferson



This past September, the Smithsonian opened the National Museum of African American History and 
Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C., to immediate and immense acclaim. Now, nearly a year later, the long lines of eager visitors have diminished a bit, making it the perfect time to visit this vibrant, visceral record of the African-American experience. The building’s tiered filigree structure (a highly symbolic masterwork from designer David Adjaye and architect Philip Freelon) is overflowing with artifacts reaching back to the earliest days of America and extending into contemporary pop culture. Fourteen exhibitions span history, sports, visual arts, music and more, embodying NMAAHC’s tagline of “A People’s Journey, A Nation’s Story,” including items like Harriet Tubman’s lace-and-linen shawl, gifted to her by Queen Victoria; rusted slave shackles (including, 
poignantly, one pair made for the tiny wrists of a child); a Tuskegee airplane; and the cream-colored leather couches from the set of The Oprah Winfrey Show. It’s an emotional journey, best ended at the Sweet Home Café, the museum’s in-house restaurant. Helmed by chef Jerome Grant, the cafe continues the journey with authentic offerings from the Agricultural South, Creole Coast, North States and Western Range. We recommend a slice of Johnston County Sweet Potato Pie before catching the MARC back to Charm City. Admission: Free, but timed-entry tickets are required. nmaahc.si.edu

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