Black Arts and Culture

Thousands Expected For Museum Opening, Sept. 24

Compiled from press and news reports

The five-story National Museum of African-American History and Culture will hold its grand opening on Sept. 24 in Washington, D.C.. But unless you already have ordered your timed pass from the museum, you will be unable to enter the museum that weekend. To facilitate the thousands of visitors expected during the Grand Opening celebration of the museum, a Timed Pass system was implemented by museum officials. This will allow as many visitors as possible to enter while maintaining a secure, safe and smooth flow of people into the building, according to museum guidelines.

Each visitor, including adults and children, must have an advance Time Pass to enter the museum. Same-day free Timed Passes will not be available at the museum during Grand Opening weekend, Saturday and Sunday, September 24th and 25th. However, the museum will begin distributing free same-day Timed Passes at the museum starting on Monday, September 26th. 
Other activities free and open to the public outside of the museum will be ongoing during the weekend. Beginning Friday, September 23 through Sunday evening, September 25, on the Washington Monument grounds, the museum will present Freedom Sounds: A Community Celebration. Programming will include musical performances, spoken word, oral history activities and evening concerts. Two tented stages will offer local, national and international performers, contributing to NMAAHC’s Grand Opening Weekend.

On Saturday, September 24, the public will be able to witness the outdoor Dedication Ceremony at 10 a.m.. Tickets are not required. Extensive large-screen viewing areas are well-positioned for crowds during the Dedication Ceremony. The museum contains 3,000 artifacts, a 400-seat cafeteria, and metal detectors at the two entrances, as well as the 350-seat Oprah Winfrey Theater.

“After 13 years of hard work and dedication on the part of so many, I am thrilled,” founding director Lonnie Bunch said in a recent statement. “Visitors will walk through the doors of the museum and see that it is a place for all people. We are prepared to offer exhibitions and programs to unite and capture the attention of millions of people worldwide.” The $540 million project was funded through a partnership with Congress, which provided half the money, or $270 million. The other half was raised through private contributions.

Visit to read more about the opening ceremony on Sept. 24. The museum is located on the western end of the Mall, adjacent to the Washington Monument. Established in 2003 with legislation signed by George W. Bush, the museum held its official ground breaking four years ago on February 22 at the corner of Constitution Avenue, between 14th and 15th streets, N.W., in Washington, D.C.

Some of the artifacts visitors will see in the museum are: an authentic 1800s slave cabin, a segregation-era Southern Railway car, a vintage plane used by the Tuskegee Airmen, Chuck Berry’s Cadillac, the original neon sign featured on the television show, Soul Train, and Harriet Tubman’s hymnal and lace shawl, a gift from Queen Victoria.

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