What You Missed At the Opening of the NMAAHC

“This place is more than a building. It is a dream come true,” President Barack Obama said Sept.24, the day of the opening of the National Museum of African American History & Culture.

The day of the opening was definitely one filled with magic and historical wonder as thousands of people came from all over the United States and even from out of the country to experience this special day in history.

If you did not get the chance to attend the opening day weekend, here is what you missed:

  • The bell rang out, marking the official opening of the museum, which prompted President Barack Obama to give a speech about African American history being an important aspect to American history. He also discussed the opening’s significance being greater now than ever because of the racial tension America finds themselves in with past fatal police shootings, as well as the two recent fatal shootings of black men that were reported recently. The crowd erupted in cheer as Obama addressed them.
  • The crowd erupted into song with “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as the bell rang.
  • Patti Labelle sang Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” and ended it by singing “A change is gonna come…Hillary Clinton.”
  • Former President George W. Bush, who told the crowd that slavery was America’s original sin, attended with Laura Bush and expressed their excitement for the museum’s opening and its significance.
  • Attendees were able to sign posters of Obama’s face with kind words in bright highlighters.
  • Stevie Wonder attended exclaiming his excitement to see the museum, and other celebrities were present such as actors Will Smith and Samuel L. Jackson who were equally excited for the museum’s opening.
  • There were other great performances such as Angelique Kidjo who performed “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley.

Besides the opening ceremony, the museum is definitely a sight worth seeing. It stands tall near the Washington Monument with exhibits that show important moments in history such as the Greensboro, NC sit-in in 1960 and even Emmett Till’s casket, the 14-year-old boy who was murdered in 1955 for whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. Discussions erupted between visitors and celebrities stared in awe as they walked through each floor and observed each exhibition in the museum. If you missed opening weekend, make sure you visit soon because you do not want to miss out on the excitement and the experience of the Smithsonian’s newest museum.

Check out Washingtonian’s Twitter and Instagram to take a peek at the National Museum of African American History & Culture before you visit, as well as the photos from the opening ceremony.

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