Mission: To provide opportunities for those who are interested in African-American history and culture to explore and celebrate that history and culture.
Background: Established by an act of Congress in 2003 following decades of effort, the National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African-American life, history, and culture. Opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the nineteenth and newest member of the Smithsonian family, the museum is a public institution, open to all, based on four "pillars": providing opportunities for those interested in African-American culture to explore that culture; helping all Americans see how their stories, their histories, and their cultures are shaped and informed by global influences; exploring what it means to be an American and share how American values like resiliency, optimism, and spirituality are reflected in African-American history and culture; and engaging new audiences and working with the many museums and educational institutions that have explored and preserved this important history well before NMAAHC was created. Founding donors of the museum, which to date has collected or received more than 36,000 artifacts, include the Lilly Endowment, philanthropist Robert Frederick Smith, the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Rhimes Family Foundation, and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein.
Outstanding Web Features: The standout feature of the museum's site are its online collections and exhibitions, which are accessible from the site's homepage. Visitors to the site can browse items by topic (American South, American West, Civil Rights, Clothing and Dress, Communities, Education, Family, Literature, Military, Music, Photography, Politics, Religious Groups, Segregation, Slavery); date/era; object type; place; name; and "on view." As an addendum to the collections, the site offers space in its Collection Stories page for NMAAHC staff to share their interpretations of the collections they find most powerful. In addition, through the Many Lenses initiative, staff at NMAAHC, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the National Museum of American History select one artifact from their respective collections to highlight and interpret. The site also offers a section for educators that includes tools for teachers, students, and families; a social media toolkit; and a mobile app (iOS and Android). In addition, visitors to the site can learn more about the museum's unique and striking building and/or purchase publications and individual volumes in a multi-volume series based on NMAAHC's photography collections.