On Wednesday, President Obama and his wife attended the groundbreaking Washington, D.C., ceremony for the Smithsonian Institution’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture, which will exhibit displays depicting the African-American experience in the United States. "With this groundbreaking, we move closer toward creating a museum to make manifest the dreams of many generations," said Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of the museum. "The structure about to rise on the National Mall will be a signature building, and the museum it houses will give us a way to ensure that America understands the African-American experience as a history that has shaped us all."
The new museum—the 19th for the Smithsonian—will sit on five acres set adjacent to the Washington Monument. According to the Smithsonian, it will be the "largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to showcasing African-American life, art, history, and culture." Slated for completion in 2015, construction is expected to cost about $500 million, with the tab split between Congress-supplied and privately raised funds.
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The museum has collected about 25,000 artifacts to date, including items belonging to Harriet Tubman, a Tuskegee Airmen Boeing-Stearman PT-13D trainer plane, and works by prominent African-American artists. Some of its current collection is currently on view in the National Museum of American History: Through October 17, visitors can view the "Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty," exhibit, which details the lives of six slave families at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello Plantation.
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Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution