Lift Every Voice Planning Guide

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), situated on the National Mall, is a place where everyone can learn about the richness and diversity of the African American experience. NMAAHC is a place that transcends the boundaries of race and culture, and weaves together a story that unites us all.

Lift Every Voice is a global initiative to showcase the depth and breadth of African American history and culture across the nation and around the world. We look to you to make NMAAHC’s much anticipated opening accessible to all who want to participate. We will feature public registered events on our website throughout our inaugural year (September 2016 - December 2017).

Co-Celebration Options:
1. Watch Party
2. Signature Event(s)
3. Social Media Campaign

What is a Watch Party?

Host or organize a group to watch the museum’s dedication ceremony, live or recorded, from your site.

What time should I host my party?

The NMAAHC dedication ceremony will occur on Saturday, September 24th, 2016, at 10:00AM EST. The formal ceremony will last approximately one (1) hour.*

Please be advised, technology can be unpredictable, so please plan accordingly. 

How do I watch the ceremony?

NMAAHC’s dedication ceremony will be live-streamed via a link on the museum’s website: You may also access the live-stream on the museum's Facebook page:

Live-streaming should begin at least 10-15 minutes prior to the beginning of the ceremony. The dedication may also be televised (check your local listings).

Please be advised, technology can be unpredictable, so please plan accordingly. 

*Due to the large number of dignitaries expected at this event and subsequent security requirements, all times are subject to change. Please continue to check our website for updates.

What is a Signature Event?

Present a program, exhibit or other event co-branded with NMAAHC. Registering your signature event is an opportunity to showcase and highlight the work your institution does to preserve, honor, and share the many stories of African American and African Diaspora people and their contributions to the American story.

When should I host my signature event?

Your signature event can occur anytime within the museum’s inaugural year, which runs from September 24, 2016, through December 2017.

What are examples of signature events?

Possible signature events include, but are not limited to, the following:

How do I participate?

Share with us how you mark this occasion using #LiftNMAAHC. Post messages, photos, or videos in celebration of the museum’s opening. We encourage you  to also include the museum's opening hashtag #APeoplesJourney.

Your social media posts can occur any time – during the lead up to our opening, grand opening weekend, or any time during our inaugural year (September 2016 – December 2017).

How can we connect to NMAAHC social media platforms?

Click below to connect to NMAAHC:

Why should I register my event?

Registered public events will be pre-screened for possible inclusion in the global directory of celebrations on our website.

What information will appear on the website?

Featured events will include: Event Name, Organization Name, Web Address, Country, City, and State.

Events and activities can occur any time within our inaugural year (September 2016-December 2017) to be acknowledged as part of the campaign.

How do I co-brand my event?

The following logos, taglines, and boilerplate are approved for use to co-brand your watch party, signature event and/or social media involvement.

Logo Usage Standards Guide
Please do not download and use NMAAHC logos without first reading Logo Standards Guide.

When using the NMAAHC logo, you must include the following disclaimer statement:

"The views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this [watch party, program, exhibit, event name] do not necessarily represent those of the National Museum of African American History and Culture."

After reading the Logo Standards Guide, download NMAAHC logos.

How can we show that our event is aligned with the Lift Every Voice campaign?

Make sure you register your event. Registered public events will be pre-screened for possible inclusion in a global directory of celebrations.

Is there a required tagline?

If you are using the logo, you must also use the following tag line on event collateral or web materials:

"This [watch party/event name] is presented in celebration of the Grand Opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture."

You may use the following boilerplate language on event collateral or web materials:

"The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the 19th museum of the Smithsonian Institution and is located at the foot of the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The museum provides for the collection, study, and establishment of programs and exhibitions related to African American life, history, art, and culture. It is a place where people can learn about the richness and diversity of the African American experience; it is a place of meaning, memory, reflection, laughter, and hope."  

We encourage you to use the inaugural grand opening year (September 2016-December 2017) to highlight the work your organization does to promote African American and African Diaspora history and culture. Show how your organization exists as part of a nation’s story.

Engage Others
Use this opportunity to collaborate with other organizations in your community. Grow existing relationships and discover new partners. Think about social organizations, civic groups, faith-based and community outreach organizations, schools, etc.

Document the Experience
Document your event from planning through implementation; hire a photographer or take photos/videos to post on social media. Solicit participant feedback via surveys, guest books, and informal interviews; collect anecdotes to use in future publications and promotional materials.

Build Membership
Use your event to increase membership of your institution– and ours!

Use this as an opportunity to strengthen your bottom line by incorporating a fundraising element into your event.

Public vs. Private Event
Determine whether your event is public or private:​

  • Invitation-only
  • Ticketed
  • Open access

Spread the Word
Use social media and other marketing efforts to promote your event; make sure your local and regional officials (mayor, town council, representatives, senators, funders, etc.) are aware of your efforts.

Determine Your Media Needs
Make sure you have the appropriate media and can stream live video feeds to avoid any technical difficulties at the time of the dedication.

Establish a Theme
Utilize food, music, and décor relevant to the occasion. Consider a theme focused on a prominent historical figure or event, or even a treasured artifact.

Historically, food and music has played a role in bringing people together. Whether you are hosting a small or large gathering, consider incorporating the museum’s culinary expertise into your event.  

Dr. Jessica Harris, award-winning author and scholar, serves as NMAAHC’s expert on African American and African Diasporic food ways. She has developed the menu for the museum café, showcasing traditional African-American cuisine from the Northern States, the Agricultural South, the Creole Coast, and the Western Range.

View sample menus and music

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by an Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts. Nearly 140,000 individuals have become charter members of the museum. When the NMAAHC opens on September 24, 2016, it will be the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution.

There are four pillars upon which the NMAAHC stands:

  1. It provides an opportunity for those who are interested in African American culture to explore and revel in this history through interactive exhibitions;
  2. It helps all Americans see how their stories, their histories, and their cultures are shaped and informed by global influences;
  3. It explores what it means to be an American and share how American values like resiliency, optimism, and spirituality are reflected in African American history and culture; and
  4. It serves as a place of collaboration that reaches beyond Washington to engage new audiences and to collaborate with the myriad of museums and educational institutions that have explored and preserved this important history well before this museum was created.

The NMAAHC is a public institution open to all, where anyone is welcome to participate, collaborate, and learn more about African American history and culture. In the words of Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of the NMAAHC, “there are few things as powerful and as important as a people, as a nation that is steeped in its history.”