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Catalog Data

Freelon, Philip 1952-  Search this
Adjaye, David 1966-  Search this
Bunch, Lonnie G  Search this
Obama, Barack  Search this
Freelon, Adjaye, Bond, SmithGroup Architects  Search this
National Museum of African American History and Culture  Search this
Cultural expressionism
Washington (D.C.)
Chronology of Smithsonian History
Following a building design competition, a collaborative team of four architecture firms was chosen to design the state of the art National Museum of African American History and Culture. The team, The Freelon Group; Adjaye Associates; Davis Brody Bond; and the SmithGroup, is being led by principal architects Philip Freelon and David Adjaye.
The cultural expressionism design of the building is based upon the Yoruban corona or crown structure. This bronze corona expresses faith, hope, and resiliency. In the building's interior, the corona forms a perimeter surrounding the primary galleries of the museum, and has strategic openings that provide views of significant points in Washington offering "a view of America through the lens of African American history and culture." The building has five stories, although it is partially underground. Sustainability and environmental responsibility have been a key factor of the design, and will be an example of best practices in environmental design.
The external grounds are an integral component of the museum design. Water will be a dynamic feature, and the grounds will include elements such as a marsh garden, large reflecting pool, and flowing streams. According to museum director Lonnie Bunch, visitors will have to physically cross the water in order to enter the museum, symbolizing African slaves' over water journey.
The museum opened on September 24, 2016, in a ceremony presided over by President Barack Obama.
Contact information:
Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,
Museum architecture  Search this
Yoruba (African people)  Search this
Architecture  Search this
Yoruban art  Search this
Bronze  Search this
African Americans--History  Search this
African Americans  Search this
Architecture--Washington (D.C.)  Search this
African American art  Search this
Museums  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Archives - History Div