History-Making Gymnast Gabrielle Douglas Donates Items to the National Museum of African American History and Culture
Items to Go on Display Feb. 1 at the National Museum of American History
Gabrielle Douglas. She has stood on the Olympic gold medal podium. Her image has appeared on the Corn Flakes box. She was a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno along with First Lady Michelle Obama. She was voted Female Athlete of the Year. What is she going to do next? She will donate some personal items to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. The items will be on view indefinitely at the entrance of the NMAAHC Gallery, located in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, beginning Feb. 1, as a kick-off to Black History Month. They will go on permanent display when the museum opens in 2015.
In the 2012 London Olympics, the then 16-year-old Douglas, known for her signature uneven-bar routine, became the first African American woman to win gold in the individual all-around gymnastics competition. She was also the first U.S. gymnast to receive the individual all-around gold and team gold medals in a single Olympics.
Douglas is giving the museum the leotard she wore during her first competitive season in 2003 (she also wore the leotard when she won the Level 4 all-around title at the Virginia State Championships in 2004); the grip bag, wrist tape and uneven-bar grips she used at the 2012 London Olympics; the ticket to the Olympics used by Douglas’ mother, Natalie Hawkins; and credentials used by Douglas to gain access to Olympic venues. Also on display will be personal photos donated by Douglas and an autographed copy of her new book Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established as a Smithsonian museum by an Act of Congress in 2003. It is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history and culture. Groundbreaking for the $500 million museum took place a year ago in a ceremony with President Barack Obama; Former First Lady Laura Bush, a member of the museum’s advisory council; and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who co-sponsored the legislation that created the museum. It is now under construction on Washington’s National Mall, on a five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument. For more information, visit www.nmaahc.si.edu.
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