Authorized in 2003, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is the longest awaited museum in the history of the United States of America. The drive to obtain funds for the museum began in the 1970s and it is possible that it is traceable as far back as 1915. The company Freelon Adjaye – a collaboration between architects Phil Freelon and David Adjaye, was awarded the project in April 2009.

The NNAAHC was designed as a physical representation of the past, present and future of all Americans. It was designed as a building where “everything would mean something”. It is located at Washington Mall, home to many symbolic structures including the Washington Monument, at the very point where African slaves were auctioned off.


Aerial view of a section Washington Mall.

From different perspectives, the building has different symbolisms. On one side, it features architecture from pre-colonial Africa. The top is inspired by the three-crown structure used in most Yoruba art from Nigeria. The entire building is wrapped in a bronze lattice that pays homage to the intricate ironwork that was characteristic of African slaves.

Lead designer of the project, David Adjaye refers to the building as “a narrative museum”. He explains that the building is designed to remind Americans about the contributions of others to the ideas of who belongs and who doesn’t. David Adjaye, a Ghanaian British-born, widely travelled architect, is often referred to as a citizen of the world and the museum is the perfect representation of that heritage.


Twilight view of the NMAAHC

Opened on September 24 2016, the building is a physical explanation of the African American experience. It goes beyond discussions on slavery and looks at underlying issues such as race.

Image credits: https://nmaahc.si.edu

Ateroghene Almaz Akpojiyovbi holds a first degree in Social Science - with majors in both Law and Psychology from the University of Utrecht, Netherlands. She has also earned a Post-graduate Diploma in Psychology from Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom. She enjoys a widespread genre of music - from Broadway show tunes to rock, and spends her time updating her collection.

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