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. 

Located on the museum’s second floor, the space is designed to complement and expand on themes and topics presented in the permanent exhibition galleries on the History, Community, and Culture floors. Through the combined use of multimedia technology, exhibits and collections, live performance, and hands-on activities, Explore More! offers a dynamic and personalized museum experience for visitors of all ages.

About the Exhibition

  • When: Ongoing
  • Where: Level 2 (L2), Target Learning Center, Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts and Robert Frederick Smith Explore Your Family History Center

Target Learning Center

At the heart of the Explore More! floor is the Target Learning Center, a 6,000-square-foot interactive gallery with 1,650 square feet of adjoining classrooms. Interactive experiences in the gallery include:

  • The Arc, a 30-foot-long curved digital wall populated with objects and stories from the museum’s collections
  • Search for the São José: investigate the wreck of an eighteenth-century slave ship discovered and documented through the efforts of the Slave Wrecks Project
  • Follow the Green Book: travel back in time and take a cross-country trip with help from the Green Book, a travel guide for African Americans published by Victor H. Green from the 1930s to the 1960s
  • Join the Step Show: learn about the cultural dance form of stepping and practice your moves with members of the professional dance company Step Afrika!
  • Google 3D interactive: explore virtual 3D models of museum artifacts to discover clues about their history and significance

Public programs and hands-on learning activities are also regularly offered in the interactive gallery. The classrooms provide flexible spaces for student and teacher programs, workshops, demonstrations, and other group-learning activities. Learn more about teaching and learning at NMAAHC.

Robert Frederick Smith Explore Your Family History Center

How does your family’s story connect to African American history? In the Robert Frederick Smith Explore Your Family History Center, you can delve into digital resources related to family history, including the Freedmen’s Bureau digital archives and genealogical databases, receive expert guidance on how to conduct genealogical research and oral history interviews, see examples of objects from the museum collections relating to family history, and learn how to preserve your own family photographs, documents, and heirlooms. The center also features an interactive digital experience, Transitions in Freedom, which traces the histories of African American families from slavery to freedom through records from the Freedmen’s Bureau and other archival documents, maps, and photographs. Public programs and workshops provide more in-depth information and hands-on learning opportunities related to family history research and preservation.

Learn More About the Family History Center

Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts

Located at the entrance to the Explore More! floor, the Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts (CAAMA) is dedicated to examining the formation of African American history and culture through the media arts, including photography, film, video, and audio recordings. In its space—a dramatic red glass-enclosed “jewel box”—CAAMA offers a regular schedule of changing exhibitions that showcase historical themes and current trends in the media arts. An interactive table provides digital access to the museum’s growing collection of visual and aural media. CAAMA also operates a media conservation laboratory on the second floor, where members of the public can make appointments to digitize their home movies.

Learn More About CAAMA

Explore Objects in 3D

When we look at an object from different perspectives and in multiple dimensions, we get a richer understanding not only of the object itself, but also of the past and the world around us. The National Museum of African American History and Culture has partnered with Google and the Smithsonian Digitization Program Office to create interactive 3D models of objects from the collection. 

Watch NMAAHC curator Kathleen Kendrick and Google's Travis McPhail discuss the process behind making our objects available in 3D!

Select any of the images below to start exploring!

Tin for Madam C. J. Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower, 1920s
Tin for Madam C. J. Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower, 1920s
Letter opener advertising Ghana’s Black Star Line, ca. 1960
Letter opener advertising Ghana’s Black Star Line, ca. 1960
Light brown egg carton for one dozen eggs. Top left of carton lid has black and white image of a farm printed on it. Superimposed over it is a yellow circle with black border and letters is in center of farm image. "YOUR/BRAND/EGGS." On top right side of carton list are black letters "GRADE A LARGE/ EGGS/ PACKED BY MUSLIM FARMS, INC/ KRT#3 CASSOPOLIS, MICHIGAN 49031/ ONE DOZEN/ FROM THE MUSLIM FARMS." The last line is highlighted in bright yellow. "70 Cents" is stamped on the carton in blue ink.
Egg carton from Muslim Farms, 1968
A patent model of Thomas Elkins' refrigerator design. The model is metal with ceramic interior. The exterior is tarnished and has a design on the top. On one end there is a spout that looks like a funnel. There is a wood base with eighteen holes in the bottom of the model.
Patent model for refrigerator invented by Thomas Elkins, 1879
Two ski boots worn by Seba Johnson in the 1988 and/or 1992 Winter Olympics. The boots are yellow and black plastic with yellow plastic and metal clasps. The interior are made of synthetic fabric.
Ski boots worn by Seba Johnson in the 1988 and/or 1992 Winter Olympics., ca. 1988
The basket is made of coils of dried sweetgrass bound with strips of dried palmetto, with pine needles sewn in for color. The base of the basket has a flat bottom, with pine needles creating a darker circle in the middle of the base. Rising up from the base are straight sides with one coil of sweetgrass sewn in around the exterior of the basket in a decorative pattern that rises up straight from the base, runs along the top for several inches, then straight back down to the base.
Sweetgrass basket made by Sue Middleton, ca. 1984
A green velveteen hat with a layered design made by Vanilla Beane. The hat is circular with a rounded peak and constructed by layering a strip of fabric over itself in a wrapped design. The base of the fabric is a light green while the pile is a darker green, giving the hat a two-tone appearance. The interior is supported by a molded buckram form to which the exterior of the hat has been sewn.
Wrap hat made by Vanilla Beane, 1950s-1960s
This pair of white ankle-length platform boots are part of a costume worn by Carl Hall as the Wizard in the 1984 revival of "The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical 'Wonderful Wizard of Oz'" on Broadway. The boots are made from leather that is painted white. They have a rounded toe and a decorative seam along the top of the toe box that extends up the front of the ankle. The boots close at the inner side of each ankle with a metal zipper that has a long shoe string knotted as a pull tab.
Costume boots from The Wiz on Broadway, ca. 1977
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