On Exhibit: An Act to establish the NMAAHC

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (@nmaahc ) officially opens this weekend on the National Mall.

It is the 19th and newest Smithsonian Institution museum and is devoted to documenting African American life, history, and culture.

The museum was established by a December 16, 2003, act of Congress, but efforts to create a national museum dedicated to African American history and culture dates to the early 20th century.

In 1915, African-American veterans of the Union Army met in Washington, DC, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. After facing discrimination and segregation in the nation’s capital, the veterans formed a committee to build a memorial to honor African Americans’ service to the country.

The committee’s efforts eventually led to 1929 legislation authorizing a National Memorial Commission to construct a memorial building as a tribute to African American achievements.

The law had a condition that private capital would be needed. Because of the stock market crash and subsequent Great Depression, the commission was not able to raise the necessary funds.

S. 277, A bill to Authorize the Establishment of the National African American Museum Within the Smithsonian Institution, 1993 (did not pass). (ARC Identifier 6036654)

In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a renewed interest in such a museum but Congress failed to pass the necessary legislation.

After a long legislative struggle, the museum was finally authorized in 2003, and its site on the Mall finalized in 2006.

When the museum was authorized it had no collection. However, after years of work to populate its archives, the museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and has nearly 100,000 charter members.

On Saturday, September 24, 2016, the museum will hold an outdoor dedication ceremony. In the afternoon the museum will officially open to the public.

For more information visit the NMAAHC website.

In celebration of the opening of the NMAACH, a 1927 pamphlet showing an early design for an African American memorial museum, and the act that was ultimately passed in 2003 will be on display in the East Rotunda Gallery from September 1 to November 9, 2016.

(via On Exhibit: An Act to establish the NMAAHC | Prologue: Pieces of History)

Smithsonian’s New African American History Museum Opens In DC
Huge crowd, Hollywood celebs and enormous excitement invade D.C. for the grand opening of the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture on the national mall.

WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) — The brand new National Museum of African American History and Culture is now complete and ready to welcome the public.

First proposed more than a century ago by black Civil War veterans, the NMAAHC is a testament to the perseverance of those who organized, lobbied Congress and donated money to see it built.

The half-billion museum stands in a prime spot on the national mall.  Its three-tier crown bronze design gleams alongside notable neighbors like the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial.

Visitors will walk through some of the darkest moments in United States history, from slavery to Jim Crow, and take in the substantial cultural, scientific, and military contributions made by Americans of color.

Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development.

When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

—  C S Lewis
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A melody written by a crowd
Multi-instrumentalist; folk, psychedelic rock, world, film compostions

At first, Ferris wasn’t overly optimistic about how his experiment would go. “I thought [the project] would gradually gather interest,” he says, “and, best case, I’d get maybe 100 votes."But within 24 hours, his website hit the front page of Reddit, and thousands of votes poured in. Over the ensuing months, Ferris’s page resurfaced on Reddit another 16 times. Last week — that is, 11 months and 67,167 votes later — the song was completed.In September 2015, a programmer named Brendon Ferris had an idea: He’d use the collective power of the internet to write a piece of music.

"I’d always been fascinated by crowdsourcing platforms like Wikipedia (for information) and Stack Overflow (for technical questions),” he says. “I thought, where else can collaborative systems be applied? And songwriting came to mind.”

Using a few online tools (HTML5 Piano and Kyster Guitar notes), Ferris built a simple music player, entered the first four notes — C, D, F, E — and then set up a system where visitors to his site could vote, in real time, on which note would come next in the sequence.

To control the melody, Ferris set a few basic guidelines. He locked the chord progression to C, G, Am, F (an extremely common choice in popular music), set the length to 18 repetitions of this progression, and used the following structure for the melody: verse, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, conclusion.

Then he handed over all creative power to the internet.

Celebrating: The National Museum of African American History and Culture | Blog | American Masters | PBS
On September 24, 2016, the first national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture will be opening. In honor of this momentous addition to the Smithsonian Institution, we wanted to highlight some of the inspiring African Americans featured throughout the years on American Masters. Whether it’s through the words of Maya Angelou …

The National Museum of African American History and Culture opens today in DC!