Today in History:

National Archives Museum Welcomes African American Museum with Display

National Archives Museum Welcomes African American Museum with Display



Celebrates opening of National Museum of African American History and

Washington, DC. . . . The National Archives Museum celebrates the
opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American
History and Culture (NMAAHC) with a special display including a 1927
plan for such a museum, and the 2003 Act of Congress that officially
established the Museum. The special display in the National Archives
Museum’s East Rotunda Gallery runs through November 9, and is free and
open to the public. The National Archives Museum's "Featured Document"
display is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation.

A long-awaited museum
The first calls for a memorial recognizing African Americans’
contributions to their country came from black Civil War veterans in
1915. In 1929, Congress passed an act authorizing the creation of a
commission to erect a “National Memorial Building” dedicated to the
accomplishments of African Americans. The “National Memorial
Building," however, was never built because the act failed to fund the
building’s construction and the commission was unable to raise the
necessary funds in the economic climate of the Great Depression.

Efforts to create a national museum of African American history and
culture continued throughout the 20th century. In 2003, 74 years after
the initial legislation, Congress passed a law creating the National
Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum opens to the
public on September 24, 2016.

The display includes:


1927 pamphlet showing an early proposed design for an African
American memorial museum. National Archives, Records of the U.S. House
of Representatives

Public Law 108-184 - National Museum of African American History and
Culture Act, December 16, 2003, National Archives, General Records of
the U.S. Government

Related online resources


On Exhibit: An Act to establish the NMAAHC - National Archives
Pieces of History blog

S. 277 - Bill to Authorize the Establishment of the National African
American Museum Within the Smithsonian Institution, 1993 (did not pass).

National Archives blog, Rediscovering Black History.

Online Guide to genealogy resources for Black history-related

Flickr album highlighting Black History-related National Archives

The U.S. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, popularly
known as the Freedmen's Bureau, was established by Congress in 1865
to help former black slaves after the Civil War. See images from
these records, and the related  Prologue Magazine article.

Related exhibits at the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC


The Amending America temporary exhibit explores the remarkably
American story of how we amended, or attempted to amend, our
Constitution in order to form a more perfect union. The exhibit includes
petitions, interactives, landmark documents, and political cartoons
addressing issues including slavery, civil rights and voting rights.
Through September 4, 2017.  


The Records of Rights permanent exhibit uses original documents,
photographs, facsimiles, videos, and interactive exhibits to explore how
Americans have worked to realize the ideals of freedom enshrined in our
nation’s founding documents.  A special section of this exhibit,
Bending toward Justice ,” showcases the drive for civil rights
for African Americans.

Related upcoming programs at the National Archives Museum in Washington,


The 14th Amendment, the National Park Service, and America’s Second
Founding, Thursday, September 29, at 7:30 p.m., William G. McGowan
Theater & To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the passage of the
14th Amendment, we look at how that amendment defines U.S. citizenship,
its connection to America’s “Second Founding” (the passage of the
Reconstruction amendments), and the interpretation of these topics at
National Park Service sites. More information online.  


Revolutionary Movements Then and Now: Black Power and Black Lives
Matter, Wednesday, October 19, at 7 p.m., William G. McGowan Theater
 &  To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the
Black Power movement, Say it Loud!, the African American Employee
Affinity Group presents a panel discussion of distinguished guests from
revolutionary movements of the past and present. More information online.


The National Archives Museum is located on the National Mall on
Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW. Metro accessible on Yellow or
Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial station. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to
5:30 p.m., daily.  Closed December 25. More information on exhibits and
programs online.