Grand Opening Schedule

Freedom Sounds: A Community Celebration

Washington Monument Grounds
Entrances - 17th Street & Constitution Avenue N.W.  &  17th Street S.W. near Independence Avenue

Friday, September 23, 2016
12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m - Festival Program

Saturday, September 24, 2016
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. - Festival Program
​6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. - Concert featuring Living Colour, Public Enemy, and The Roots

Sunday, September 25, 2016
12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. - Festival Program
​6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  -  Concert featuring Experience Unlimited (EU), Meshell Ndegeocello, and Angélique Kidjo

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Beginning Friday, September 23, 2016, on the Washington Monument grounds, the National Museum of African American History and Culture presents Freedom Sounds: A Community Celebration. Conceived and presented in festival fashion, Freedom Sounds programming will include musical performances, dance, spoken word, oral history activities and two evening concerts. A drum circle, storytelling, and interactive workshops and a mural wall by artist Cey Adams offer opportunities to explore and celebrate the museum’s rich content and stories. The festival will include food concessions such as Southern BBQ, Soul Food, Gulf Coast Kitchen Po’ Boys, Kenyan Curries, Caribbean Jerk, and more.

This three-day music festival presents artists who represent the numerous cultural threads encompassing our shared African diasporic histories and traditions. Two tented stages will offer local, national and international performers including the Stax Music Academy, Len Chandler, Josh White Jr., Dom Flemons, Rising Star Fife and Drum Band, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the Original Liberty Jazz Band, Medoune Gueye, Jean Carne, the McIntosh County Shouters, Bobi Cespedes, Paito y los Gaiteros de Punta Brava, Morgan State University Choir, the Dixie Hummingbirds, the Freedom Singers, Sonia Sanchez, Robert Randolph, Sweet Honey in the Rock, 9th Wonder, Stanley Clarke, Louise Toppin, the National Hand Dance Association, the National Association of Black Storytellers Inc. and Urban Artistry. View full list of artists with biographies.

The Freedom Sounds festival is free and open to the public, with no tickets required. The event is co-produced by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Festival Accessibility Information

Dedication Ceremony

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Saturday, September 24, 2016
9:00 a.m. Gathering and Musical Prelude
10:00 a.m. Dedication Ceremony Begins

On Saturday, September 24, 2016, the public witnesses the outdoor Dedication Ceremony of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In the afternoon, the museum officially opens to the public. Tickets are not required for the public to view the outdoor Dedication Ceremony. Extensive large-screen viewing areas are well-positioned for crowds during the Dedication Ceremony.

Museum Opens to the Public

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Saturday, September 24, 2016, 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 25, 2016, 7:00 a.m. – Midnight

The Museum officially opens to the public following the Dedication Ceremony on Saturday, September 24, 2016. The museum will keep its doors open for extended hours Monday through Friday, September 26 – 30, 10 a.m.– 7:30 p.m, Saturday, October 1, 10 a.m.– midnight, and Sunday, October 2, 10 a.m.– 10 p.m. 

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