The Smithsonian Institution has announced a $10 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is expected to open in 2015 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The grant is in support of the museum's capital campaign, which is raising funds for the design and construction of the building. To be constructed on a five-acre tract adjacent to the Washington Monument, the 300,000-square-foot building is expected to cost about $500 million, with half provided by congressional funding and the remainder to be raised from private sources. Construction is expected to begin in 2012.
Established by an Act of Congress in 2003, the museum will be the first in the country devoted exclusively to the documentation of African-American life, art, history, and culture. The museum's historians and curators are building a collection that will illustrate the major periods of African-American history, beginning with its origins in Africa and continuing through slavery, Reconstruction, the Civil Rights era, and into the twenty-first century.
"The National Museum of African American History and Culture will be a remarkable resource that will ensure that the rich stories and valuable history of African Americans will be available for all," said Allan Golston, president of the Gates Foundation's United States program. "The museum will be an important addition to our National Mall, and we are pleased to be joining others at this unique moment in time to support this worthy investment."