The Smithsonian is slated to open the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Sept. 24, which will feature 11 inaugural exhibits and thousands of artifacts centered around African American history and culture. One of the most notable, will be the inclusion of contributions made by the African American LGBTQ community.
Lonnie G. Bunch, Founding Director of the 400,000 square-foot museum, spearheaded the effort to display strides and accomplishments made by the LGBTQ community and according to museum curator Aaron Bryant, the Smithsonian wanted to highlight the Black community and the many diverse backgrounds and identities that are a part of it.
“It’s difficult to tell the story of African American history and culture without acknowledging the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans who cover a spectrum of identities and experiences, including gender identities and orientations,” Bryant told the Center for Black Equity. “Our goal is to tell the story of America’s history through an African American lens, and so the museum embraces and celebrates the fact that black communities are diverse, as is American culture and history.”
The number of artifacts that will be on display has reached 37,000 and is growing and includes everything from small items and documents such as passports and legal papers to segregated buses and collections of artwork. (https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/building)
The National Museum of African American History and Culture will feature paintings from a number of LGBT artists and several images of gay activists including a photo of a man at the Million Man March in 1995 holding up the sign, “I am a black, gay man.” The photo will be included in the “A Changing America” gallery.
The exhibit also includes a gay liberation button, and LGBTQ contributions to dance and theatre.
According to the Center for Black Equity, the museum has already acquired photos from the Trans Lives Matter and Blacks Lives Matter movements and plans to feature those in an exhibit sometime in April 2017.
Following the dedication ceremony, the museum will be open to the public Saturday, Sept. 24, 1 p.m.–6 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 25, 10 a.m.–midnight. Admission is free into the museum. Check out their website to find out more on the museum and its upcoming exhibits.