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