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Five must-read reviews of the National Museum of African American History & Culture

From The New York Times to Washingtonian, see what critics had to say about Washington, D.C.’s newest Smithsonian museum

Rendering via Smithsonian Institution

The grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture is only a week away. If interested in finding out what you need to know before the museum opens its doors for the first time, see what critics and reviewers had to say below:

  1. "Objects themselves compete with the visual distraction, and it is easy to pass them by, in favor of large screens showing films devoted to Reconstruction or the student civil rights movement ... Sometimes this journey feels overthought, and too contrived," says Philip Kennicott of The Washington Post
  2. "It’s great that the museum mixes everything together: it means you can’t just select a comfortable version of history. At the same time, you’re given some warnings. The museum frames certain things — lynching photographs, for example — within red lines, alerting viewers to their emotionally loaded content," says Holland Cotter of The New York Times
  3. "Unfortunately, because of the way the museum was conceived, there are problems ... This is partly because so much of the museum grows out of the Identity model, in which history plays a subsidiary role and self-celebration is the main point," says Edward Rothstein of The Wall Street Journal
  4. "The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is not a one-day museum ... This new museum packs in so much history — more than 600 years, in fact — it’ll take a few trips to take in the entire presentation," says Benjamin Freed of Washingtonian
  5. "The building itself is perhaps the most powerful display of all, a careful, strategic and sometimes defiant exploration of the relationship between black culture and government prerogative, which is another way of saying it is a piece of architecture supple enough to please the archivist and the activist alike," says Christopher Hawthorne of the Los Angeles Times

National Museum of African American History and Culture

1400 Constitution Avenue Northwest, , DC 20560 (844) 750-3012 Visit Website