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...Read More

The entrance to the A Changing America exhibition featuring

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...Read More

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...Read More


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.Read More

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...Read More

The entrance to the Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom exhibition with a large log cabin in the center.

Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom

With the end of slavery, African Americans had hoped to attain full citizenship. Instead they confronted a new form of oppression—segregation. Through their century-long struggle for civil rights, they challenged the nation to live up to its...Read More

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...Read More

Everyday Beauty exhibition with a man standing at an interactive table.

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...Read More

Second Floor Interactives; Photo credit: Walter Larrimore

Explore More!

Explore More! is an interactive, multifaceted educational space dedicated to helping visitors connect and engage with African American history and culture in ways that expand perspectives, spark curiosity and creativity, and increase knowledge. Read More

The entrance to the Making a Way exhibition.

Making a Way Out of No Way

Through education, religious institutions, businesses, the press, and voluntary associations, African Americans created ways to serve and strengthen their communities. They also developed a tradition of activism that paved the way for broader...Read More


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...Read More

View of Chuck Berry's red Cadillac inside the Musical Crossroads exhibition.

Musical Crossroads

African American musical creativity has generated and enriched a vast array of musical styles, from folk and blues, to classical and spiritual, to jazz and hip-hop. These musical creations are a soundtrack to stories of African American history,...Read More


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...Read More

Pauli Murray as a toddler with her family two years before the tragic death of her mother, Agnes Fitzgerald Murray.

Pauli Murray's Proud Shoes

Pauli Murray’s Proud Shoes: A Classic in African American Genealogy explores the family history of Pauli Murray, a pioneering lawyer, priest and writer. Her book, Proud Shoes: An African American Family, showcases the racial and social dynamics...Read More

The central

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.Read More

Represent: Hip-Hop Photography


“Represent: Hip-Hop Photography,” on view from March 5, 2018 – November 3, 2019, highlighted images from the Museum’s Eyejammie Hip-Hop Photography Collection and paired them with historical photos and other hip-hop related-objects. These unique...Read More

The Paradox of Liberty section of Slavery and Freedom featuring bronze statues of famous figures at the founding of America.

Slavery and Freedom

Five hundred years ago, the emergence of the Transatlantic Slave Trade transformed Africa, Europe, and the Americas. The United States was created in this context, forged by slavery as well as a radical new concept, freedom.Read More

The entrance to the Sports exhibition featuring statues of John Carlos and Tommie Smith with their fists raised at the 1968 Olympics.


Sports matter far beyond the playing fields. Though historically denied opportunities to compete at the highest levels, African American athletes have recorded impressive achievements and also utilized sports to fight for greater rights and freedoms.Read More

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.Read More

Entrance to Lens exhibition with exhibition title on right side of the wall and images along both sides of the entrance.

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...Read More

Entrance to Visual Art exhibition with a colorful painting on a dark blue wall.

Visual Art and the American Experience

The visual arts play a vital role in illuminating the American experience through an African American lens. Paintings, sculptures, and works on paper reveal how artists viewed and interpreted their world and also contribute to our understanding of...Read More

We Return Fighting World War I Exhibition

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. Read More