National Museum of African American History and Culture Opens to Tribute to Those Who Helped Build America

The highly-anticipated Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) has recently opened its doors to the public. Designed by architect David Adjaye, construction on this striking, 400,000-square-foot building took four years. It occupies the last remaining space on the National Mall, earning its place as a structure that’s compelling both inside and out.

The inspiration for the three-tiered, ornamental NMAAHC came from Yoruban art from West Africa; this reference has a deep historical significance, because it’s where more than half of the 18th century slave trade took place. Adjaye’s contemporary interpretation recalls the tribe’s traditional wooden caryatid—a sculpted female figure serving as a vessel with a bowl on her head.

Beyond the overall shape, NMAAHC has an intricate, decorative facade that’s clad in bronze aluminum panels. It too holds a deeper meaning and relates to the ironwork of African American slaves in the 19th century New Orleans.

The newest Smithsonian boasts 36,000 artifacts and currently features over three thousand of them. Some date back to the 1600s—such as objects from the slave trade—while some, like Oprah’s couch, are more recent. Admission to the museum is free.

National Museum of African American History and Culture: Website | Facebook | Instagram
David Adjaye: Website

via [Inhabitat]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.

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