New Smithsonian Museum Will Archive Baltimore Protest History

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A rendering of the future Museum of African American History & Culture, being built on the National Mall in DC
A rendering of the future Museum of African American History & Culture, being built on the National Mall in DC

This is a historic time for Baltimore–and historians are paying attention.

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is being built on Washington Mall, near the Washington Monument. The museum will include exhibits about the Civil Rights movement, slavery, the Harlem Renaissance, among many, many other things.

But the museum isn’t intended to just be a monument to times past; it’s also going to take into account some of the current realities of African American experience in America. And to that end, curators are planning on including archival materials about the recent  protests in Baltimore (as well as Ferguson and elsewhere), as well as other materials from the Black Lives Matter movement. These include photographs, as well as actual 3D objects. (Local museums are also collecting archival materials, too.)

“We’re bearing witness and documenting the events that are going on,” said Deborah Tulani Salahu-Din, the former director of Baltimore’s Museum of Great Blacks in Wax and currently a collection specialist at the Smithsonian museum.

The museum isn’t slated to open until late next year, but I’m already excited for it– and for its proximity to Baltimore.



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