Postcards From The National Museum of African American History and Culture In Washington, DC

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While I’m editing and drafting up posts on our time in Greece & Jordan, I thought I’d share a few local travel posts that have been sitting in my draft box.

Today we’re taking it back to that one time when Charles, our friends = Rachel and Thomas, and I experienced the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in D.C.

The museum is the latest (and much needed) addition to the Smithsonian Institution and we were all very excited to finally be visiting.

A little background: The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. The creation of the museum was officially approved by Congress in 2003 and after many years of planning, fundraising and building, the museum finally opened its doors last September 2016.

With that said, below are a few postcards from our visit there this past February :)

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How each and every U.S. citizen defines what being an American means to them is directly linked with how informed they are of our country’s history. Annnnd I don’t about you, but for me, African American history encompassed maybe a few paragraphs in my American history textbook growing up… There were a few chapters on the Civil War and then after, barely anything on the civil rights movement, etc. As a result, my knowledge of African American history has always been lacking… Most of what I do know about African American history is through my own, personal pursuit of information via reading books, watching documentaries and searching the internet.

This is all to say that after my visit to NMAAHC, I felt like a piece of who I am, that I didn’t realize was missing, was returned to me, if that makes any sense. It made me realize just how much African American history is American history as we know it today.

Walking through the museum, there were moments when I was moved to tears and just as many moments when I was filled with inspiration by the resiliency of a people who, from nothing, created and contributed/ still contribute so much to the history and culture of our country.

Whether it was the curation of historical information, artifacts, photos and video or the beautiful architecture and design of the building itself, Thomas, Rachel, Charles and I were all in consensus that the museum is sooooooooo in depth and soooooooo well done.

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A Few Things To Note Before You Visit


Admission is FREE. However, you must get timed entry passes to enter the museum. Just to give you an idea how popular the museum is, Charles and I got our tickets for a February visit in NOVEMBER. To my knowledge, passes for June have already gone annnnnnd passes for admission in July were officially released today. Sooooo if you’re planning a visit to D.C. in July or August and want to visit the museum, make sure to stay on top of when passes get released because they go fast.

Give yourself more than a couple hours to see the museum. We got timed passes for a 10am entry, were in the museum until 6pm and still didn’t see everything. We plan to visit again this Fall.

Grab lunch at the Sweet Home Cafe. The museum’s cafe serves traditional and modern day African American cuisine from different regions of America. Rachel got the shrimp & grits, Thomas got the gumbo, Charles got a whole bunch of different sides (mac & cheese, greens, caramel butternut squash, etc) and I got the cornbread stuffed trout. We all really enjoyed our meals.

The gift shop is totally worth a browse. Charles and I don’t normally get souvenirs from museums but were moved to get something before we left the museum. What’s cool about the museum’s souvenir shop is that not only does it sell museum related items but they also sell art, jewelry and books made/ written by African American artists and authors. Charles ended up getting a hat (which you will see him wearing in all of our photos from Greece & Jordan) and I got a mug (which I drink tea out all alll the time now).

There’s so much more I could share but I don’t want to give too much away about the museum… Consider this post just a taste because the only way to get the full meal experience is by seeing the museum for yourself.  If you live in the D.C. area or planning a visit, please add visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture onto the top of your list of things to do in this city. It’s a must.

xo, Setarra

P.S. Linking up w/ Wanderful Wednsday :)

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  • What a special place! It sounds so unique and full of history and interest. It’s always great to read about museums and exhibitions from around the world, thanks for educating me on this one :)

    • I feel the same way when I read about local museums where other bloggers live. It was such a big deal for the museum to open last fall, they did a huge grand opening with performances and special appearance from celebrities and President Obama. :) xo

  • Washington seems to be full of interesting museums and history! I’ve read a lot about the National Museum of the American Indian for my Masters thesis and how complicated its development was. I bet there must have been similar difficulties in setting up the NMAAHC! I would love to visit for sure. There’s so much to learn!

    • Oh wow! What a cool topic for your thesis! Going to NMAACH made me realize how many museums in D.C. I’ve yet to visit and the National Museum for the American Indian is on the that list.

  • Rebecca

    This sounds like a really interesting and much needed museum, I’d love to visit!

    • Hey Rebecca! Yes, if you’re ever in D.C., make sure to visit :) xo

  • I agree that African American History is American History and that all Americans could learn more about it. From your experience though, it seems my high school actually did a pretty good job with African American history and Civil Rights! We watched a lot of movies, read a lot of books (other than our history textbooks) and even had special events and such during Black History Month every year. It’s still pretty shocking to me that this is the only national museum exclusively devoted to African American history… I SO need to visit one day! It looks unreal.

    • Niiiiiiiiiice!!! I wish I would’ve had a more interactive educational experience in middle and high school when it came to African American history. If you ever visit D.C., 1) yes, you gotta visit the museum and 2) holla at your girl! Would love to link up :) xo

  • The fact you can take you camera inside I’m even more stoked and determined to visit the museum even more. Definitely on my list for on my next visit!

    • Yessssss you would sooo love it Valla! xo

  • wherejogoes

    What a fantastic museum, a moving journey for many who visit with many powerful stories to tell. Wow those tickets go fast though! Awesome that your friend is related to someone featured in the museum – that doesn’t happen every day! #WanderfulWednesday

    • Yes, those tickets do go fast! I think it’s because the museum just opened that it’s so popular. I’ve heard that they expect it to be packed non-stop for the first 2-3 years and then traffic will die down a bit but either way, I’m glad so many people want to visit :) xo

  • Whitney

    I cannot wait to take Boomer here the next time I am in the DC area. Growing up my family was the main party that taught me about African American history. Until I got to middle school and was ALWAYS assigned papers on women and minorities. I finally told my history professor senior year I didn’t want to write a single paper about anyone who wasn’t an old/dead white man! You are so right that so much of this country’s history IS African American history. The music, the food, the wealth…it all comes from the work and struggle of African Americans. This museum is so much more important that you can say in a comment, but I’m so glad you have had a chance to go and that it moved you. I teared up a little just seeing the building going up the last time I was in town.