Museums

Museums

National Museum of American History

Director: John L. Gray
Total Full-Time Employees: 237
FY 2017 Federal and Trust Budget: Federal: $25 million; Trust: $49.6 million
Approximate Number of Artifacts and Archival Materials: 1.8 million artifacts and 17,000 cubic feet of archival materials
Visitors: 4 million in 2016

Exterior National Museum of American History

Public Art, First Floor

Sam Gilliam (b. 1933)
Yet Do I Marvel (Countee Cullen), 2016
Acrylic on canvas
No donor

National Museum of African American History and Culture: Installed Collection Items

Slave Cabin, c. early 1800s

A weatherboard-clad cabin used during slavery at Point of Pines Plantation on Edisto Island, S.C.
Gift of the Edisto Island Historic Preservation Society

Segregation-era Southern Railway car, No. 1200, c. 1920

A History of the National Air and Space Museum

The Smithsonian’s connection to flight dates from its earliest years. The display of a hot air balloon designed for military use by Thaddeus S.C.

Composite historic photo of hot air baloon

The National Air and Space Museum Today

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum holds the world’s largest collection of historically important aeronautical artifacts and conducts research in aviation and space history, technology and planetary science. There are two locations open to the public: the original building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., which opened July 1, 1976, and the Steven F.

Air and Space Museum from low angle against blue sky

Design Firms

The design team for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is a collaboration of four architecture firms forming a single cohesive team—Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroupJJR. Gustafson Guthrie Nichol is the landscape architecture firm, and Ralph Appelbaum Associates is the exhibit designer.

Design and Construction

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will open to the public Sept. 24 as a primary exhibition space for African American history and culture as well as a centerpiece venue for ceremonies and performances.

Construction site at night

National Museum of African American History and Culture: Construction—Cool Facts

  • 400,000 square feet—Area of the building. The museum features 105,000 square feet of exhibition space, which is two times the area of the White House.
  • 70,000 square feet—Area of cast-aluminum panels used for the Corona
  • 230 tons—Weight of cast-aluminum panels used for the Corona
  • 3,600—Number of panels used for the Corona

Collection Highlights (Photos)

Harriet Tubman’s Hymn Book, c. 1876

Gospel Hymns No. 2, by P.P. Bliss and Ira D. Sankey, Harriet Tubman’s personal book of hymns.
Gift of Charles Blockson
Concourse 3: History Gallery "Slavery and Freedom"

Slave Cabin, c. early 1800s

Cover of hymnbook that belong to Harriet Tubman

National Museum of African American History and Culture: Chronology of Events

Dec. 16, 2003
President George W. Bush signs the legislation creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)

October 2004
Founding 19-member NMAAHC Council appointed by the Smithsonian Board of Regents

March 14, 2005
Lonnie G. Bunch III named founding director of NMAAHC



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