Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

December 6, 2021

© Alan Karchmer / NMAAHC

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Black history gets a home

The newest Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. It opened in Washington, DC this past September. The lead designer was David Adjaye, the son of a Ghanaian diplomat who has visited all 54 independent nations of Africa. The lead architect was Philly-born Philip Freelon, who worked on the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta and the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco. The museum’s main entrance is a porch, which has architectural roots in Africa and throughout the African Diaspora; the exterior is wrapped in a bronze-coloured metal lattice, homage to the intricate ironwork that was crafted by enslaved African Americans in Louisiana, South Carolina and elsewhere. The museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts; 3500 are displayed chronologically from the Middle Passage to the Obama presidency: an auction block and a statue of Thomas Jefferson standing in front of a wall of bricks listing the names of slaves he owned to banners from President Obama’s 2008 campaign and posters from the Black Lives Matter movement. “Community” galleries share the stories of African-Americans in the military and sports; “Culture” galleries, the arts, music, film and television. Free, but advanced, timed-entry passes are unavailable through March 2017.

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