Featured Exhibition

Image of Make Good the Promises Entrance

Make Good The Promises

Make Good the Promises: Reconstruction and Its Legacies focuses on the story of Reconstruction—the period following the Civil War—through an African American lens. 

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Current Special

Image of Make Good the Promises Entrance
Current Special

Make Good the Promises

Make Good the Promises: Reconstruction and Its Legacies focuses on the story of Reconstruction—the period following the Civil War—through an African American lens.
Read Moreabout Make Good the Promises
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Current Special


In honor of the publication of The Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap and African American Music Appreciation Month in June, the museum decided to remix and re-release the show Represent: Hip-Hop Photography. Don’t miss your second chance to discover distinct visual pairings that will change the way you think about the roots of the art form.
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Century in the Making exhibition. Seven panels with artifacts and text about the NMAAHC.

A Century in the Making

The journey to open this museum took many attempts and numerous steps to realize. It involved the activism of private citizens and organizations, passage of federal legislation, construction of an inspiring new building, and collecting thousands of artifacts.
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The entrance to the A Changing America exhibition featuring "picket signs" describing the events of 1968.

A Changing America

While the modern Civil Rights Movement achieved many victories, it did not end the struggle for freedom. As African Americans have continued to pursue goals of equity and justice, the definition of African American identity has also continued to evolve.
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The central "hub" in the Power of Place exhibition with visitors standing around an interactive table.

Power of Place

African American communities have formed in all corners of the country and influenced the regions around them. Their stories reflect the resiliency of African Americans in making places for themselves and overcoming the challenges they faced.
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Entrance to Double Victory exhibition. A large blue flag is framed in the center of the wall.

Double Victory

From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror, African Americans have served in the United States military. In defending their country, they hoped to earn freedom and citizenship and contribute to a changed America where racial equality was possible.
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Entrance to Taking the Stage exhibition. Framed photographs of African American artists on the stage and screen are featured on the walls.

Taking the Stage

Through their achievements on the stage and screen, African Americans have expressed creative visions, enriched American culture, and inspired audiences around the world. They have also used the power of performance to fuel social change.
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View of the Cultural Expressions exhibition with a large 360 degree video screen around the center of the room.

Cultural Expressions

Culture shapes lives. It’s in the food people eat, the languages they speak, the art they create, and many other ways they express themselves. These traditions reflect the history and creative spirit of African American and other cultures of the African diaspora.
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James Baldwin at the Welcome Table outside his home in St. Paul de Vence

Chez Baldwin

James Baldwin’s house in the South of France serves as a powerful lens to explore his life and works. From 1971 to 1987, his home in St. Paul de Vence was his permanent, vibrant abode and an important social center for artists and intellectuals from Europe, Africa, America, and around the world.
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Past Special Exhibitions

Past Special

City of Hope

In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference launched The Poor People's Campaign — a national, multiethnic, multicultural movement to demand equal access to economic opportunities and security for all people.
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Photograph of a man wearing glasses standing in front of a long electronic table with photographs on it. The walls of the room are red and have numerous framed photographs on them.
Past Special

Everyday Beauty

On view from September 24, 2016 – February 4, 2019, "Everyday Beauty: Photographs and Films from the Permanent Collection" demonstrated how people have used media arts to document African Americans’ everyday lives, as well as challenge negative perceptions, demonstrate the strength of the human spirit, and promote social reform.
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Central "vortex" in More Than A Picture with photographs hanging from the ceiling.
Past Special

More Than A Picture

Photographs are more than just pictures. They record memories and document moments of pride, joy, and celebration, and sometimes conflict and confrontation. Every photograph has a deeper story that has shaped the histories of individuals, cultures, and communities.
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A lobby card with a color image of a woman on the right side with wavy brown hair and a blue top with green pants sitting with her left hand up to her mouth. Another woman on the left has curly hair and is wearing a brimmed hat, pearl earrings, a brown dress, gloves, and a fur stole. There is a blue box below it with white text that reads [CLAUDETTE / Colbert / in / Fannie Hurst’s GREAT NOVEL / IMITATION of LIFE].
Past Special

Now Showing

In November 2019, the Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts (CAAMA) opened Now Showing: Posters from African American Movies, a temporary exhibition exploring the art of movie posters, specifically examining films by black filmmakers or works featuring black performers. The exhibition is on view November 22, 2019 – December 5, 2021.
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Entrance to Lens exhibition with exhibition title on right side of the wall and images along both sides of the entrance.
Past Special

Through the African American Lens

On view from May 2015-October 2017, Through the African American Lens demonstrated how the African American story is quintessentially an American one of determination, faith, perseverance, pride, and resilience. The exhibition’s three sections—history, culture, and community—reflect the thematic strands of the new museum.
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We Return Fighting World War I Exhibition
Past Special

We Return Fighting

We Return Fighting is a temporary exhibition at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It explores the African American experience during World War I. This exhibition closed on September 6, 2020.
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