We were recently in Washington, DC, and had an opportunity to visit the newest museum of the Smithsonian, the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. You might be aware that tickets have been very much in-demand, but after spending a few hours there, I have to say--it's completely worth the wait.
This museum has been a long time coming. The idea for the museum was first proposed in the 1920s, but it took a massive amount of private donations (at least 13 million from Oprah Winfrey, alone), and many, many decades until Congress and former President George W. Bush finally authorized the museum's construction.
There are two main parts to the building--the history section, and the culture section. Each section is about three floors of exhibits, with the history sections starting three floors below ground, as you slowly make your way to ground level. Above ground, in the ligher, airy part of the museum, is the celebration of black culture in America.
The history section is incredibly moving, taking you on a journey from the slave trade, through the Civil War and Reconstruction, into the modern civil rights movement, up until the present day. The sections devoted to culture are really comprehensive, covering popular culture, art, literature, culinary achievements and food culture, and much, much more.
There are so many worthwhile museums at the Smithsonian, that it's hard to know where to start. Of course, the Air and Space Museum is a real hit with families. And personally, we're partial to the Museum of the American Indian (which has a phenomenal café, by the way). But if you're planning a trip to our nation's capital any time soon (and we're happy to help with that), we strongly recommend planning a visit to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.