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|Number of 5 star ratings (5* yield %)||5 (4.0 %)|
The newest “child” of the renowned Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, is scheduled to open in 2016. It aims to be “a place where all Americans can learn about the richness and diversity of the African American experience, what it means to their lives and how it helped us shape this nation.”
On my most recent trip to Washington, DC, I surprised my sister by showing up for Thanksgiving dinner. She returned the favor by treating me to an excursion to see the emergent structure. Lonnie Bunch, the museum’s founding Executive Director, had piqued my interest during two recently aired interviews on the CBS news program 60 Minutes. Camera in hand, I was all for it!
A little background on the museum and its design: The museum is the result of a decades long effort, first championed by the late U. S. Representative Mickey Leland, and following his death, civil rights icon and U.S. Representative John Lewis. President Barack Obama attended the 2012 ground-breaking, along with other notable celebrities and politicians. The lead design architect is David Adjaye, a leading globally recognized architect based out of the UK – a winner of the Royal Institute of British Architects and designer of the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, Norway. He was part of the Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup team selected in a 2009 design competition, in a field that featured five other well respected creative teams.
The vision for a national museum for African American history and culture is close to becoming reality. I hope you enjoy these 5* images from my exploration of this emerging cultural institution.
- “Primo” Location – The museum was built on the last open spot on the National Mall. It is located next to the Washington Monument, which guarantees lots of foot traffic. Its unique structure, and the inviting landscape (when finished), will make it a “must see” stop.
- The Crown (2) – According to the architect’s philosophy, the building resembles a crown, to signify that it “reaches toward the sky, … expresses faith, hope and resiliency.” This structure is both delicate and strong – up close, the bronze structure looks almost lace-like. From afar, the delicate structure resembles woven panels that almost glow in the sunlight.
- Always Iconic, Always Recognizable – Right across from the museum is the Washington Monument. For most of these images, I was on the lawn or walkway of the Monument. I turned around, scanning my environment, and this is what I saw – you can’t go wrong with the tried and true. Despite the many times I have seen it, I am still awestruck by its beauty.
- Synergy (1+ 1 >2)– There is synergy between the two architectural structures. Despite the 130 year age difference between the two, both are contemporary looking structures that reach toward the sky over our nation’s capital – one piercing the sky, the other catching the sky as it falls!
I can hardly wait until the museum opens, and I am able to explore inside. I am sure the inaugural and future exhibits, celebrating the impact of the African American culture and our history in the world, will be as uplifting as the crown on the outside. In the meantime, these 5* images of the externals will have to do. Enjoy!