Guide to Visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture

 

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National Museum of African American History and Culture

 

I apologize for my prolonged absence. I’m sure you all have busy schedules as do I. I am trying to commit to a more regular posting schedule but as of right now I make no promises.

I recently took a trip up to Washington D.C to visiting the newly opened Smithsonian honoring African American history and contributions to this country. I truly believe this is a museum EVERY American should visit. This is the perfect school vacation for black history month.

Before you begin planning your trip, it is important to remember that due to its infancy, the museum is packed with people every day of the week. Keep this in mind if you plan on bringing small children with you. Another thing to remember is that this museum is MASSIVE and it is impossible to see and absorb everything in one day. There are 85,000 square feet of exhibition space, nearly 3000 objects, 12 exhibitions, 13 different interactives with 17 stations, and 183 videos housed on five floors. I spent two full days exploring the museum and still wasn’t able to read a view everything.

With that being said, it’s time to get into the juicy stuff.  fullsizeoutput_1725

If you don’t know already, the museum (like all Smithsonian’s) is FREE to visit. The only difference is you must reserve you timed entry pass in advance (usually 1-2months). A limited number of walk-up passes (one per person) are available starting at 1 p.m. on weekdays on the Madison Drive side of the building. No walk-up passes are available on Saturdays or Sundays due to high visitation. Please do not let any scammer trick you into buying tickets. I got my tickets for a Monday and Tuesday and even on weekdays, the time was wrapped around the building.
• If you are in the military you are able to visit anytime as long as you have a valid ID.

I believe it is best to enter with a planned strategy. The first 3 floors are where the main exhibitions are. You will take an elevator down to the first floor and work your way up (This is how the museum was designed to be experienced). After the first 3 floors, you’ll exit the main exhibition. This is the perfect time to get some food from the on-site restaurant and take a short break before venturing to the top floors. I decided to split it up over two days: Day 1- first 3 floors, Day 2- remaining floors. This prevented me from getting too burnt out from all the information available.

Lastly, and perhaps one of my favorite parts of any museum….. THE GIFT SHOP! Only after visiting everything would I suggest visiting the gift shop. There were so many great options to choose from. I will admit that most came with a steep price tag but I had no objections. I was just happy to marvel at the amazing display of black excellence around me.

Overall, if I could go back and change anything….. I wouldn’t. The museum is absolutely perfect and did an amazing job of highlighting important topics and reinforcing fundamental themes. I didn’t eat at the onsite restaurant so I cannot add my opinion on that but I will say that the line was always very long and people seemed to be enjoying their meals.

P.S on the 3rd floor of the main exhibition, there is a small room for visitors to record a short 2-minute video responding to one of 4 prompts. I highly suggest everyone take a moment to leave their footprints on the sands of time.


Have you visited the museum yet? Let me know your thoughts and suggestions.

 

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