Museum News

History-Making Gymnast Gabrielle Douglas Donates Items to the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Items to Go on Display Feb. 1 at the National Museum of American History

January 29, 2013

Gabrielle Douglas. She has stood on the Olympic gold medal podium. Her image has appeared
on the Corn Flakes box. She was a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno along with First Lady
Michelle Obama. She was voted Female Athlete of the Year. What is she going to do next? She will
donate some personal items to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and
Culture. The items will be on view indefinitely at the entrance of the NMAAHC Gallery, located in
the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, beginning Feb. 1, as a kick-off to Black
History Month. They will go on permanent display when the museum opens in 2015.

In the 2012 London Olympics, the then 16-year-old Douglas, known for her signature unevenbar
routine, became the first African American woman to win gold in the individual all-around
gymnastics competition. She was also the first U.S. gymnast to receive the individual all-around gold
and team gold medals in a single Olympics.

Douglas is giving the museum the leotard she wore during her first competitive season in 2003
(she also wore the leotard when she won the Level 4 all-around title at the Virginia State
Championships in 2004); the grip bag, wrist tape and uneven-bar grips she used at the 2012 London
Olympics; the ticket to the Olympics used by Douglas’ mother, Natalie Hawkins; and credentials used
by Douglas to gain access to Olympic venues. Also on display will be personal photos donated by
Douglas and an autographed copy of her new book Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established as a
Smithsonian museum by an Act of Congress in 2003. It is the only national museum devoted
exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history and culture. Groundbreaking
for the $500 million museum took place a year ago in a ceremony with President Barack Obama:
Former First Lady Laura Bush, a member of the museum’s advisory council; and Rep. John Lewis (DGa.),
who co-sponsored the legislation that created the museum. It is now under construction on
Washington’s National Mall, on a five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument. For more
information, visit

Media Contact(s): 

Fleur Paysour (202) 633-4761; 
Lindsey Koren (202) 633-4052; 

application/pdf Press Release (141.98 KB)

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The National Museum of African American History and Culture will be a place where all Americans can learn about the richness and diversity of the African American experience, what it means to their lives and how it helped us shape this nation. A place that transcends the boundaries of race and culture that divide us, and becomes a lens into a story that unites us all.