Museum News

Statement on Washington Post Article on Jacob Lawrence Painting from the “Migration Series”

March 1, 2019

The National Museum of African American History and Culture uses authentic and actual objects to bring history to life and tell the unvarnished truth about African American history and culture. In some cases, reproductions of art are used as illustration and evidence to enhance a historical narrative; they are never meant to be depicted as authentic fine art.  

The image of the Jacob Lawrence painting from the “Migration Series” is displayed in a history exhibition exploring the experience of African American migration in the United States. This is similar to the approach used at many museums and cultural institutions.  

Although the Jacob Lawrence label accurately describes, sources and credits the image, it does not explicitly state that the image is a reproduction. For that reason, we will edit the label to ensure the image is not mistaken as the actual painting. The museum is committed to rigorous scholarship, accuracy, and transparency.

Media Contact(s): 

Jermaine House (202) 633-9495 ; housej@si.edu 
Fleur Paysour (202) 633-4761; paysourf@si.edu 
 

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About The Museum

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.