Showing posts with label NMAAHC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NMAAHC. Show all posts

Sunday, April 10, 2022

The National Museum of African American History and Culture presents the next page from Our American Story

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is proud to present the next page froOur American Storyan online series for Museum supporters. We offer these stories to honor and celebrate the African American experience, share an immensely rich history and culture, and inspire and sustain our community as we move toward the future together.

The Second Great Awakening, an early 19th-century religious revival in the United States, marked an era of transformation for America and a new path forward for Jarena Lee. Born into a free Black family in Cape May, New Jersey, in 1783, Lee navigated the intense religiosity and social reformation of her time to emerge as the nation’s first African American woman preacher and the first woman to be recognized as an evangelist in the male-dominated African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.

Lee’s journey to Christianity began when she moved to Philadelphia as a young adult in 1807. Like many Americans of her time, Lee struggled with changing cultural beliefs on human nature, morality, and the path to salvation. In search of answers, she sought out a personal connection to the gospel and heard the teachings of Bishop Richard Allen, a renowned preacher in Philadelphia. Inspired by his powerful sermons, Lee decided to join the church and get baptized.

But Lee’s journey of faith would be difficult. Lee struggled to find a place for herself and her passion for the gospel within the male-dominated church—a battle that brought on depression and even thoughts of suicide. She also wrestled with the inherent conflict between her spirituality and a desire for “the vanities of this life.”

Despite these challenges, Lee remained determined to go beyond the church and share her faith in Christ with the world, a conviction that she carried back to New Jersey, where she moved with her new husband, Methodist Pastor Joseph Lee, in 1811. While in New Jersey, Lee was able to serve in an African Methodist congregation and nurture her faith—but she still couldn’t practice what she believed was her true calling: preaching.

Seven years into her marriage, Lee became a widow. The grief that followed her husband’s death only strengthened Lee’s conviction to “preach the word of God.” She returned to Philadelphia soon after, determined to advocate for women in the ministry.

Bishop Allen, who by then had founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, initially refused to grant Lee permission to preach because of the church’s ban on female ministers. But Lee, driven by the intensity of her faith, began delivering sermons wherever she could—in open fields, town squares, and her home.

One day, while attending a Sunday worship service at Bishop Allen’s church, Lee heard a guest preacher struggle with the delivery of his sermon. She sprang into action, picking up where he left off, and presented her own testimony. Bishop Allen was so impressed by Lee’s preaching and boldness that he publicly endorsed her. She was soon permitted to preach, and later became the first ordained woman preacher in the AME Church.

Lee’s evangelical career spanned multiple decades and intersected with her advocacy for equal rights and powerful leadership in the abolitionist movement. Lee also was the first African American woman to publish an autobiographical memoir, The Life and Religious Experience of Jarena Lee, a Colored Lady, Giving an Account of Her Call to Preach the Gospel, which was first released in 1836.

“For as unseemly as it may appear now-a-days for a woman to preach,” Lee wrote, “it should be remembered that nothing is impossible with God. And why should it be thought impossible . . . or improper for a woman to preach?”

The relentless persistence of Jarena Lee, who died in 1864, helped break down barriers and pave the way for African American women to enter the ministry. Her achievements were especially remarkable, given that they occurred during a time when women’s contributions were often overlooked, ignored, or forgotten.

Like so many pioneers of her time, Lee’s story is one of resiliency, optimism, and spirituality—values that are deeply rooted throughout African American history and culture. Although Jarena Lee’s history is not widely known, her legacy as the first African American woman preacher represents an important example of women defying social barriers, transcending traditional gender roles, and touching the hearts, minds, and souls of many.

If you’d like to learn more about Jarena Lee’s incredible journey—or if you are interested in exploring other powerful but lesser-known stories in African American history—please visit our online Searchable Museum today. This groundbreaking—and 2022 CIO Award-winning—initiative by the Museum brings innovative, immersive digital experiences and evocative content directly into the homes of supporters like you.

The Museum’s exhibitions and digital collections help connect individuals with a deeper understanding of the African American story by sharing the lives of pioneers like Jarena Lee. Please help the Museum continue this critical work by joining the Museum or making a donation today.

To learn more about Jarena Lee and other influential figures in African American history, please visit our Searchable Museum.


Friday, January 14, 2022

Original MLK Speech from 1963 March on Washington Returning to African American Museum

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday by displaying the slain civil rights leader’s original speech from the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

The speech will be on display in the “Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom” gallery from Thursday to Feb. 27.

The case with the speech inside, initially on display at the museum in fall 2021, will be reinstalled in time for visitors to see the document before the holiday.

In addition, the museum will be open to the public for normal operating hours (10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.), with advanced and same-day free timed entry passes available online. No walk-ups will be allowed.

The speech was originally possessed by basketball coach George Raveling, who got it while volunteering at the 1963 march. Recently, Villanova University gained stewardship and has entered into a long-term loan agreement with the museum to display it.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

National Museum of African American History and Culture to re-open in May

The Smithsonian Institution announced Friday that about half of its museums, along with the National Zoo, will reopen in May after shuttering in November because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is slated to re-open on May 14, 2021. Passes will be available starting May 7th.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) recently announced that the city will ease some of its COVID-19 restrictions on May 1. At that time, museums will be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

Smithsonian’s African American museum names new director

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has a new president.

On Tuesday, the museum announced that Kevin Young, the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York, will take over for Lonnie Bunch III (the museum’s founding director from 2005 to 2019), who is now the Secretary of the Smithsonian.

The leadership change will take effect Jan. 11, the museum said.

Young, an author, a poet, and an editor, led the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (2016-2020) as the institution acquired the manuscript of Alex Haley’s “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” including a once-lost chapter, and the Harlem-based archives of Harry Belafonte and James Baldwin.

Before Young took the helm at the Schomburg Center, he was a professor at Emory University. He was also the curator of the university’s Raymond Danowski Poetry Library, a 75,000-volume collection of rare and modern poetry, and curator of literary collections.

“I look forward to directing the National Museum of African American History and Culture in this next phase of leadership, after its founding, opening and dynamic exhibitions and events,” said Young in a museum press release. “Having visited the museum myself with my family, I know what a powerful place it is, transforming visitors both in-person and online, and revealing the centrality of African American culture to the American experience. I am eager to engage further directions in the museum’s mission, embracing our digital present and future while furthering conversations around Black history, art, liberation, and joy.”


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

On Friday, September 18, the National Museum of African American History and Culture will reopen to the public.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture will begin a gradual, phased reopening for the Museum. The museum will be putting safety first  with new measures in place to protect everyone’s health.  Free,  timed-entry passes will be required for entry. Please review the important information below as you plan your visit.

Learn more about the NMAAHC reopening here: Welcome Back

Saturday, August 01, 2020

The NMAAHC wants your Black Lives Matter protest and Covid19 stories

Last month, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) launched “Voices Of Resistance And Hope,” a web portal where members of Black communities can share their experiences of life during the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.

From the NMAAHC web page:

Voices Of Resistance And Hope

Sharing Stories In Times Of Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic and the mass protest movement for police reforms and social justice are affecting the lives of millions of people around the world. We want to know how these issues have affected you.

You are invited to be part of this online collection of personal stories from members of the African American community during the current crises in America. Upload your images, first-hand accounts, personal stories, essays, poems, photographs, short videos or observations. Your personal expressions can help to create shared experiences with others in the nation and reinforce what so many of us are longing for during these turbulent times — an opportunity to celebrate the American values of resiliency, optimism, and spirituality.

You can find out more about Voices of Resistance and Hope or share your story here: Voices Of Resistance And Hope

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Apple donates its proceeds from John Lewis documentary to museums that honor his legacy

In tribute to the life and legacy of civil rights hero and US Congressman John Lewis, Apple will donate its portion of the proceeds from the documentary “John Lewis: Good Trouble” to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
“Representative John Lewis’s life and example compel each of us to continue the fight for racial equity and justice,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. “This film celebrates his undeniable legacy, and we felt it fitting to support two cultural institutions that continue his mission of educating people everywhere about the ongoing quest for equal rights.”
“The life and legacy of John Lewis, a National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award recipient, is celebrated throughout the museum,” said Terri Lee Freeman, the National Civil Rights Museum’s president. “This timely contribution will help expand our digital platforms, allowing us to reach many more students, parents, and educators globally, and to continue as a catalyst for positive social change, as Representative Lewis encouraged us all to be. We are grateful to Apple for this incredible gift honoring him.”
“Representative John Lewis was a central leader in helping create the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Because of his pivotal role in American history, he understood the impact a history museum like ours could have on the world,” said Spencer Crew, the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s interim director. “For many years, he was the angel who kept the dream of the museum alive, and he made sure we got the presidential and congressional support needed to open in 2016. As a civil rights leader, he had a vision of what was possible for the nation. He had a similar vision for the museum, which helped make it a reality. Apple’s gift in his honor will help us continue to fulfill our mission.”
Customers in the US and Canada can rent “John Lewis: Good Trouble” at on the Apple TV app, which is available on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac, select Samsung and LG smart TVs, and Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices. In Apple News, customers can explore a special Spotlight collection of curated articles that remember Lewis and celebrate his legacy, as well as listen to a collection of episodes that honor his life from The New York Times, CNN, NPR, and more on Apple Podcasts at
About “John Lewis: Good Trouble”
In her intimate account of legendary US Representative John Lewis’s life and legacy, director Dawn Porter takes audiences through his more than 60 years of extraordinary activism — from the bold teenager on the front lines of the civil rights movement to the legislative powerhouse he was throughout his career. After Lewis petitioned Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to help integrate a segregated school in his hometown of Troy, Alabama, King sent “the boy from Troy” a roundtrip bus ticket to meet with him.
From that meeting onward, Lewis became one of King’s closest allies. Lewis organized Freedom Rides, which left him bloodied or jailed, and stood at the front lines in the historic marches on Washington and Selma. Lewis continued to protect civil rights as a member of Congress. He never lost the spirit of “the boy from Troy” and had called on his fellow Americans to get into “good trouble” until his passing on July 17, 2020. “John Lewis: Good Trouble” is a moving tribute to the real-life hero at the forefront of many hard-won battles for lasting change.

Friday, March 13, 2020

NMAAHC To Close March 14

The following is a statement from the National Museum of African American History and Culture:

As a public health precaution due to COVID-19 (coronavirus), the National Museum of African American History and Culture will temporarily close to the public starting Saturday, March 14.

We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of all our visitors, employees, and volunteers. We are in close communication with local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control. Due to the rapidly changing nature of the situation, we are not announcing a re-opening date at this time.

We will provide updates on a week-to-week basis via our website. Follow @NMAAHC on Twitter for updates about the museum's operating status. In the meantime, we invite you to visit to explore our virtual exhibitions, online collections and educational resources.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Walmart donates $5 Million to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Jan. 27, 2020 — Walmart announced today a $5 million grant to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C. Walmart’s support of NMAAHC is a part of the company’s continued commitment to advance causes that promote diversity and inclusion.

“The National Museum of African American History & Culture is a vital institution, deepening everyone’s understanding of our nation’s history through the lens of the African American experience,” said Julie Gehrki, vice president of philanthropy at Walmart. “Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have a long history of supporting diversity and inclusion, and we are pleased to support the museum as they continue to build out programs to advance their mission.”

This grant is the second donation Walmart has made to support the museum’s initiatives, with the first $5 million donated in 2010 to support the design and construction of the facility. The second investment will benefit the visitor services programs, corporate leadership council and other areas including collections and acquisitions, scholarship and research, education and public programs, exhibitions and emerging technologies.

Since opening in 2016, NMAAHC, the 19th Smithsonian Institution Museum, has welcomed more than 7 million visitors who have explored the exhibits and more than 3,000 artifacts on display. It is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history and culture, and is a public institution open to all, where anyone is welcome to participate, collaborate, and learn more about African American history and culture. Later today, Walmart will host a private event to celebrate the museum’s contributions and acknowledge the critical role the Congressional Black Caucus played in helping to make the museum a reality.

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation seek to transform systems to help create more equitable opportunities for all. Specifically, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation invest in work to diversify talent pipelines, build more inclusive small business ownership and enhance community cohesion. Most recently, Walmart funded a report published by FSG, which outlines steps employers can take to remove barriers to advancement of frontline employees of color.

For more information on Walmart’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and philanthropy, please visit

Friday, January 17, 2020

Steph Curry's new sneaker inspired by National Museum of African American History & Culture

Although NBA star Stephen Curry is sidelined with an injury, Under Armour continues to release fresh colorways of his latest signature shoe, the Curry 7. The latest look is inspired by the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., arriving just in time for Black History Month.

The limited-edition Under Armour Curry 7 “Our History,” according to the brand, was inspired by the Golden State Warriors’ trip to the museum in February 2018 as well as Curry’s fascination with the venue, which was designed by architect David Adjaye. Under Armour said the brand and the baller reflected on the trip when coming up with the design and concept behind the BHM shoe.

The Curry 7 “Our History” shoe features tiers of brown, olive and bronze (as well as hits of neon green), which is reminiscent of the museum’s three-tiered exterior. Further diving into the theme, Under Armour placed the museum’s longitude and latitude coordinates on the heel tab.

The Under Armour Curry 7 “Our History” arrives Jan. 20 on and at UA Brand Houses and select retailers, and it will retail for $140. Ahead of the release, a limited number of pairs will drop on Jan. 18 on the SC30 product wall at the Chase Center Warriors Shop at Thrive City in San Francisco.


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

No Passes Required and Extended Holiday Hours For National Museum of African American History & Culture

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will welcome visitors for no-pass entry and extended hours next Thursday, Dec. 26 through Monday, Dec. 30.

Starting on Dec. 26, the museum will be open 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Individuals will be able to enter the museum without a pass on Dec. 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30. Groups of 10 or more require a pass every day. Regular visitation procedures will resume Dec. 31. The museum’s full visitation policies are found at

Sunday, December 08, 2019

National Museum of African American History and Culture Presents Latest Exhibition “Now Showing”

Exhibition About African American Movie Posters On View Through Nov. 1, 2020.

“Now Showing: Posters from African American Movies” opened at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Nov. 22. The temporary exhibition will be on display until November 2020. It showcases how movie poster design has been used to frame ideas, create moods and stoke interest in films and characters. More than 40 objects and graphics celebrating black films, filmmakers and actors from the museum’s expansive poster collection will be on display in the Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts (CAAMA) gallery.

“Now Showing” is the first exhibition in the National Museum of African American History and Culture to feature augmented reality (AR). Through AR, visitors will have the unique opportunity to have an interactive experience with objects inside the gallery by using their mobile devices. Once inside the exhibition, visitors will go to on their mobile web browser from their smart device and view exclusive content on various objects inside the exhibition.

Many of the items featured in “Now Showing” are from the Larry Richards Collection, a poster collection acquired by the museum in 2013 that includes more than 700 objects. This exhibition features original posters, lobby cards and select ephemera highlighting more than 70 years of African American image making.

The exhibition is divided into four sections: Film Pioneers, The Problem of the Color Line, A Star Is Born and Black Power & “Blaxploitation”. Each thematic category highlights the role African American films have played on the perception of African American culture and society as a whole.

“Film can serve as a peek into ideals about culture and society,” said Rhea L. Combs, curator and head of CAAMA. “This exhibition introduces visitors to films featuring African Americans they may be less familiar with, and at the same time, it recognizes some of the most historically and culturally relevant films made over a 70-year period. The significant artistry and design work that goes into creating not only the films, but the posters that promote the films, are not to be underestimated. When one explores the long-standing history of African American images on screen, these posters become significant artifacts about the perception and perspective of race, gender and culture that have been a part of our social landscape for decades.”

In the first section of the exhibition, Film Pioneers, visitors can view some of the earliest influencers in African American cinema, like actors Laurence Criner, Ralph Cooper and Lena Horn. This section also examines how non-black filmmakers created content for patrons excited to see black performers on the silver screen. The Problem of the Color Line examines the phenomena known as “passing,” where a mixed-race person passes as an accepted member of another racial group to avoid discrimination. A Star Is Born shows how increased interest in films helped create celebrities, increased representation in films and instilled a sense of pride in black communities across the country due to increased number of African Americans appearing in this new medium. The exhibition concludes with Black Power & “Blaxploitation,” which highlights the rise of movies geared toward black audiences in the 1960s–70s. During this era, Blaxploitation films centered around black casts and were usually set in and around urban environments. These films often brought black communities together by promoting black empowerment and breaking down racial barriers.

First Exhibition With Augmented Reality Experience

For the first time at the museum, AR will play a role in the exhibition experience. Visitors can interact with eight select posters and learn more about the objects using their mobile devices. The feature will use video and other pop-up displays to educate visitors on the objects in the gallery—creating a unique, one-of-a-kind experience.

“Now Showing: Posters from African American Movies” is in the museum’s CAAMA gallery, a temporary exhibition space located on the second floor. The public can be a part of the online conversation by using #CAAMALens.

About the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Since opening Sept. 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has welcomed more than 6 million visitors. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. For more information about the museum, visit, follow @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.

Thursday, October 17, 2019


On Friday, Oct. 11, ABFF Ventures, LLC., announced that objects, photographs, documents and other memorabilia from The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) archives have been acquired by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The items will join the museums’ permanent collection and commemorate the ABFF’s rich 24-year history.
The American Black Film Festival (formerly Acapulco Black Film Festival), was first held in June 1997 by its originalfounders, Jeff Friday, Byron E. Lewis and Warrington Hudlin. In 2002, the Festival moved stateside to continue its commitment to community, providing a platform for up-and-coming filmmakers of color and bringing together creatives in appreciation of one another’s work, to challenge, encourage and uplift each other.  ABFF is dedicated to recognizing black talent and showcasing quality film and television content by and about people of African descent, and continues to be a vehicle to strengthen the black entertainment community by fostering resource sharing, education and artistic collaboration.
Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther”), Stephen Caple, Jr. (“Creed II”), Will Packer (“Girls Trip”), Issa Rae (“Insecure”), Omari Hardwick (“Power”) and Kevin Hart (“Night School”), are among the beneficiaries of ABFF’s unique and prestigious talent pipeline programs designed to identify, introduce and showcase artists — including directors, actors, writers and other content creators — to the industry at large.
The museum has selected 10 American Black Film Festival artifacts to join its historical collection:
• Awards: ABFF Wood Trophy/Award designed by fine artist and sculptor Cheryl R. Riley, presented to Bill Duke in 1997 for Distinguished Career Achievement as a Filmmaker
• Documents:  1997 ABFF Program Guide, 1997 ABFF All Access Pass and VIP Pass, “Hav Plenty” VHS video tape (1997)
• Photographs:  A collection of six (6) photographs of celebrity attendees by photographer Karl Crutchfield. Celebrities include Bill Duke, Halle Berry and Denzel Washington.
• Objects: Watch, Sterling Silver Necklace, Sterling Silver Bracelet. Items given to VIP attendees at the 1997 Festival. Recipients included: Debbie Allen, Morgan Freemen, Halle Berry and more.
These items were donated by Nicole and Jeff Friday.
“Recognizing the cultural significance and historical import of the long-standing American Black Film Festival, it is thrilling to have objects from ABFF join the museum’s permanent collection. For nearly a quarter century, ABFF has been at the forefront of celebrating the history and cultural value of African American storytelling and image-making, so receiving objects that highlight the vision and creative spirit of ABFF was deeply important,” said Rhea Combs, Supervisory Museum Curator of Photography & Film, Smithsonian, National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“Being a part of the NMAAHC’s prestigious collection of historical artifacts is an amazing honor and significant milestone for the ABFF.  It brings a great sense of pride and excitement that ABFF’s legacy is recognized as an important piece of African American history and culture,” said Jeff Friday, ABFF Ventures CEO.
The American Black Film Festival has been helmed a “top Festival” by reputable media outlets, including One of the Coolest Festivals in the World by MovieMake Magazine; 10 Best Film Festivals by USA Today; Top 100 Events in Miami by BizBash Magazine and One of the Best Events Around the World by PROHBTD.
ABFF Ventures continues to expand the Festival programming initiatives and will grow its brand year-round to include the About Women Conference, ABFF Global Series (ABFF London debuted September 2019), ABFF Fit (Health and Wellness series) and ABFF Honors (annual awards show honoring Hollywood creatives).

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Begin with the Past: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Begin with the Past: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture by Mabel O. Wilson

Rising on the National Mall next to the Washington Monument, the National Museum of African American History and Culture is a tiered bronze beacon inviting everyone to learn about the richness and diversity of the African American experience and how it helped shape this nation. Begin with the Past: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture is the story of how this unparalleled museum found its place in the nation’s collective memory and on its public commons.

Begin with the Past presents the long history of efforts to build a permanent place to collect, study, and present African American history and culture. In 2003 the museum was officially established at long last, yet the work of the museum was only just beginning. The book traces the appointment of the director, the selection of the site, and the process of conceiving, designing, and constructing a public monument to the achievements and contributions of African Americans. The careful selection of architects, designers, and engineers culminated in a museum that embodies African American sensibilities about space, form, and material and incorporates rich cultural symbols into the design of the building and its surrounding landscape. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is a place for all Americans to understand our past and embrace our future, and this book is a testament to the inspiration and determination that went into creating this unique place.


Wednesday, September 04, 2019

No Passes needed to Visit the NMAAHC on Weekdays Through February 2020

From Labor Day through February, you won't need a pass to enter the museum on weekdays, the NMAAHC announced over the weekend. Visitors will be able to enter the museum on a first-come, first-served basis on weekdays starting at 10 a.m.

You will, however, still need a timed-entry pass on weekends. You can get same-day passes for weekends online.

In addition, advance timed passes for Saturdays and Sundays in December will become available starting Wednesday at 9 a.m. You'll be able to search for advance timed passes for Dec. 1 and the weekends of Dec. 7-8, 14-15, 21-22 and 28-29.

You can also reserve passes here ot by phone by calling 844-750-3012.

Admission and passes are free.

If you're visiting on a day that passes are required, remember that everyone in your group will need his or her own pass, including babies. In addition, the museum will continue to require advance timed-entry passes every day for groups of 10 or more.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

The National Museum of African American History and Culture to acquire archive of Ebony and Jet magazines

The National Museum of African American History and Culture will acquire a significant portion of the archive of the Johnson Publishing Company, the publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines. The acquisition is pending court approval and the closing of the sale. 
A consortium of foundations—the Ford Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Trust, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation—is making this acquisition possible. The consortium will transfer the archive to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Getty Research Institute.   
The archive, purchased at auction for $30 million, includes more than four million prints, negatives, and media that explored, celebrated and documented African American life from the 1940s and into the 21st century. 
“It is a distinct honor for the museum to be invited to join the Getty Research Institute and other leading cultural institutions to safeguard and share with the world this incomparable collection of photographs,” said Spencer Crew, acting director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. 
“We applaud the generosity of the consortium of foundations that made this acquisition possible.  And we pay homage to the vision of John H. Johnson and his commitment to bringing to the nation and the world, the story of the African American experience—in all its complexity and all its richness. Ebony and Jet were the only places where African Americans could see themselves. They were the visual record of our beauty, humanity, dignity, grace, and our accomplishments. 
“Being the steward of the archive is an extraordinary responsibility, and we are humbled to play a critical role in bringing new life to these images. With the depth of its curatorial expertise and the technical skills in digitization, the Museum stands ready to marshall its forces to make this archive accessible to the widest possible audience.  We are honored to work with our recipient colleagues to make this gift to the nation possible.”  
The Museum has built a distinctive photography collection that includes more than 25,000 prints, negatives, and photographic materials. Photographers represented in the collection include Anthony Barboza, Cornelius M. Battey, Arthur P. Bedou, Bruce Davidson, Charles “Teenie” Harris, Danny Lyon, Jack Mitchell, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Gordon Parks, P. H. Polk, Addison Scurlock, Lorna Simpson, Aaron Siskind, James Van Der Zee, Carrie Mae Weems, and Ernest Withers.  

Friday, July 19, 2019

U.S. Bank invests $1 million with the National Museum of African American History and Culture

U.S. Bank announces a $1 million investment with the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C. With this five-year investment, U.S. Bank will join the prestigious Corporate Leadership Council, a community of engaged corporate donors whose values reflect a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Honoring and celebrating African American culture is an important part of American history,” said Andy Cecere, Chairman, President and CEO of U.S. Bank. “At U.S. Bank, we are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and the arts – which brings us closer together and strengthens our communities. Through this support of the National Museum, we hope these historical stories and rich cultural experiences will continue to inspire many for generations.”

The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution and stands upon four pillars. One pillar – to help all Americans see how their stories, histories and cultures are shaped and informed by global influences aligns with U.S. Bank employees’ shared core value of drawing strength from diversity.

About the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Since opening Sept. 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has welcomed more than 6 million visitors. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. For more information about the museum, visit, follow @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.

About U.S. Bank

U.S. Bancorp, with 74,000 employees and $476 billion in assets as of March 31, 2019, is the parent company of U.S. Bank, the fifth-largest commercial bank in the United States. The Minneapolis-based bank blends its relationship teams, branches and ATM network with mobile and online tools that allow customers to bank how, when and where they prefer. U.S. Bank is committed to serving its millions of retail, business, wealth management, payment, commercial and corporate, and investment services customers across the country and around the world as a trusted financial partner, a commitment recognized by the Ethisphere Institute naming the bank a 2019 World’s Most Ethical Company. Visit U.S. Bank at or follow on social media to stay up to date with company news.


Susan Beatty, U.S. Bank


Saturday, July 06, 2019

Dr. Spencer Crew named Interim Director of the National Museum of African American History & Culture

Spencer Crew is serving as the Interim Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). He is also the Clarence J. Robinson Professor of American, African American and Public History at George Mason University. 
Spencer has worked in public history institutions for more than twenty-five years.  He served as president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center for six years and worked at the National Museum of American History (NMAH), Smithsonian Institution for twenty years.  Nine of those years, he served as the director of NMAH.  At each of those institutions, he sought to make history accessible to the public through innovative and inclusive exhibitions and public programs. 
His most important exhibition was the ground breaking “Field to Factory: Afro-American Migration 1915 – 1940” which generated a national discussion about migration, race, and creating historical exhibitions.    He also co-curated “The American Presidency A Glorious Burden” which is one of the Smithsonian’s most popular exhibitions. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center has attracted worldwide attention because of the quality of its presentations and focus on race, interracial cooperation, and issues of contemporary slavery.
Crew has published extensively in the areas of African American and Public History.  Among his publications are Field to Factory: Afro-American Migration 1915 - 1940 (1987), and Black Life in Secondary Cities: A Comparative Analysis of the Black Communities of Camden and Elizabeth, N.J. 1860 - 1920 (1993). He co-authored The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden (2002), Unchained Memories: Readings From The Slave Narratives (2002), Slave Culture: A Documentary Collection of the Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project (2014), and Memories of the Enslaved: Voices from the Slave Narratives (2015).
Crew is an active member of the academic and cultural communities, serving on many boards that work to generate enthusiasm for history among the public. He is the Past Chair of the National Council for History Education, Trustee Emeritus of the Board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and served on the Nominating Board of the Organization of American Historians and the Board of the American Association of Museums.   
He is a graduate of Brown University and holds a master's degree and a doctorate from Rutgers University. He is a member of the Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Previously Unknown Photo of Young Harriet Tubman To Go on Public View for the First Time

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will display—for the first time—the Emily Howland photography album containing a previously unknown portrait of abolitionist and Underground Railroad-conductor Harriet Tubman. The Howland album will be the museum’s first acquisition to be displayed in Heritage Hall, the museum’s main entry hall. It will be on exhibit Monday, March 25, through Sunday, March 31, and then relocated to the “Slavery and Freedom” exhibition on the C3 Level in the museum’s History Gallery.

“This photo album allows us to see Harriet Tubman in a riveting, new way; other iconic portraits present her as either stern or frail,” said Lonnie G. Bunch III, the founding director of the museum. “This new photograph shows her relaxed and very stylish. Sitting with her arm casually draped across the back of a parlor chair, she’s wearing an elegant bodice and a full skirt with a fitted waist. Her posture and facial expression remind us that historical figures are far more complex than we realize. This adds significantly to what we know about this fierce abolitionist—it helps to humanize such an iconic figure.”

A recently announced visitation policy allowing for walk-up entry without passes Monday through Friday starting at 1 p.m. will provide visitors access to viewing the Tubman photograph.

Two years ago, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Library of Congress jointly acquired the photograph as part Howland’s photo album. Howland (1827–1929), a Quaker school teacher, taught at Camp Todd, the Freedman’s School in Arlington, Virginia. The album was originally compiled as a gift for her. Containing 49 images taken circa 1860s, it includes a more commonly known Tubman portrait taken later in life and images of Sen. Charles Sumner, woman’s activist and abolitionist Lydia Maria Child, organizer Samuel Ely, William Henry Channing, Col. C.W. Folsom, Charles Dickens and the only known photograph of John Willis Menard, the first African American man elected to the U.S. Congress.

Read more about Emily Howland's photo album here:

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Passes once again required for admission to National Museum of African American History and Culture

The National Museum of African-American History and Culture is going back to its traditional admission system for the rest of the year.
Last month, the hugely popular museum held what it called Walk-Up Weekdays, but with the passing of September it returned to requiring passes that are only good at a particular date and time, and obtained in advance, to get in.
The museum will do Walk-Up Weekdays again in January. The timed passes for January — which apply to the weekends — will be made available Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 9 a.m.
The museum also makes some same-day passes available at 6:30 a.m. each day until they run out, and a limited number of walk-up tickets are available at 1 p.m. each weekday.
All tickets are free. You can check availability on the museum’s website.