Back in October I signed up to get timed tickets to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The plan: a family road trip to D.C. to see the sights and explore this new museum. Back when I got the tickets, I was imaging a different president but alas, we were determined to make it a good trip.
We left NY around 8:30am on a Friday and after roughly 4 hours on the road (with one pit stop), we arrived just in time to park the car near our AirBnB and zip back to the museum in a cab.
Let’s start with the line – it was DOWN the block. Hundreds of people were waiting outside. And I’d like to add a very diverse set of people. Young, old, black, white, American, foreign – though a lump formed in my throat at that moment I held back the emotion because my daughter and husband love to tease me for crying (emotional thugs!).
The building itself, conceptualized by lead designer David Adjaye and lead architect Philip Freelon (both black!) is a work of art.
Since we had passes, we walked right in. We decided to start downstairs in the History Galleries which is dedicated to pre-slavery, slavery, Jim Crow, civil rights. I appreciated the symbolism … as if to say “started from the bottom now we here.” As a Haitian woman, I loved seeing my country represented in the museum. There was a huge statue of Toussaint L’Overture and a few historical items on display.
By the time we left the History Galleries. We were emotionally drained and hungry. We ate lunch in the cafeteria ($55 bucks later) we headed up to the main floor. We only had about 35 minutes before the museum closed a woman told me “go up to the top floor. It’s the entertainment section and your daughter will love it!” We took the tip, as we head up to the top floor, we realized there is a section dedicated to sports and athletes. Christina and Yahve nearly lost their minds in there. Ali, Jordan, the Williams Sisters, Robinson… all the greats are honored. There was memorabilia, videos, statues and so much more.
With 10 minutes till the museum closed, left we raced up to the top floor thinking nothing was going to top the sports floor. We were wrong. The top floor is entirely dedicated to entertainers – artists who contributed to the music and movie industries.
I left the museum feeling exhilarated, excited, validated and uplifted. I learned so much I didn’t know. I took notes on historical figures I wanted to research. Nothing like what was in my history books back in the day… and sadly not even what’s in school issued history books today.
Make the time to go to this museum. It’s exquisitely curated and you will come out informed, inspired and uplifted. Timed tickets are the easiest to get but it means you can’t get into the museum until 2pm and you only have 3.5 hours to see everything.
That’s not the only thing we did while in DC, we visited the Stone of Hope. The 30 foot tall granite statue to commemorate our beloved Dr. King. The park was full of beautiful quotes by Dr. King. It was really touching to see how busy and appreciated the park was. There were visitors from all ethnicities, races and parts of the world. I think that would have made Dr. King proud.
All in all the family trip was a success.