About the Museum

When the museum's voice and character are consistently reflected in its communications, that facilitates understanding. It encourages the development of meaningful relationships between the museum and its audiences. The museum's brand is a reflection of its core values. Used well, it helps to support the museum's mission.

There are four pillars upon which the museum stands:

  • It provides an opportunity for those who are interested in African American culture to explore and revel in this history through interactive exhibitions, public programs and symposia, and publications.
  • It helps all Americans see how their stories, their histories, and their cultures are shaped and informed by global influences.
  • It explores what it means to be an American and share how American values like resilience, optimism, and spirituality are reflected in African American history and culture.
  • It serves as a place of collaboration that reaches beyond Washington,D.C., to engage new audiences and to work with the myriad of museums and educational institutions that have explored and preserved this important history well before this museum was created.

Brand Values


The museum tells the story of the African American experience with accuracy, honesty, respect and the unvarnished truth. Rigorous scholarship is at the core of its publications, exhibitions and academic endeavors. We continuously work to maintain its originality, integrity, transparency and credibility.


The museum is innovative in presenting sensitive subject matter that is essential in understanding contemporary African American history and culture. We incorporate cutting-edge technology to share the African American story with the world. We create an environment for experimentation and for employees to transform the museum experience.


Discovery is central to the work of this museum. We are steadfast in our commitment to help people look deeply into the past and the present, to ask the tough questions, and to see how America’s past has shaped the America we know today. The museum encourages continuous learning by staff and the broadening of education and perspectives.

Alan Karchmer


The museum focuses on ways to work better, smarter and in alignment with the highest standards. We do not rest on accomplishments; we build on them. We work to deliver the best possible experience for our visitors and stakeholders. The museum endeavors to set new standards in the field, to shatter limitations and exceed expectations. We inspire excellence in our employees. Employees care about their work and the credibility of the museum.


The museum honors the resilience of African Americans who overcame tremendous adversity to build America and influence the world over. Just as they displayed great strength, courage and optimism in their struggle for equality and justice, the museum draws on wells of resilience. We use resilience to overcome obstacles in building exhibitions and public programs to the highest quality.


Spirituality is deeply embedded in African American culture and is an essential part of the ethos of the museum. We create exhibitions and programs designed to instill a sense of reverence for and a deep connection to the human spirit.

Additional Information

For marketing, branding, and general communications questions, contact the Office of Public Affairs at: NMAAHC-MarCom@si.edu

Smithsonian identity guidelines and resources can be found at: logo.si.edu

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