The Smithsonian broke ground for its 19th museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 10 a.m. in an invitation-only ceremony on the National Mall.
President Barack Obama spoke at the ceremony. Other honored guests included First Lady Michelle Obama, former First Lady Laura Bush, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Gov. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.). The ceremony took place on the museum’s five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W.
“With this groundbreaking we move closer toward creating a museum to make manifest the dreams of many generations,” said Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of the museum. “The structure about to rise on the National Mall will be a signature building, and the museum it houses will give us a way to ensure that America understands the African American experience as a history that has shaped us all.”
The National Museum of African American History and Culture was created in 2003 by an Act of Congress, establishing it as part of the Smithsonian Institution. The museum will be the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to showcasing African American life, art, history and culture.
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