This past Friday I had the good fortune of accompanying my daughter and her Girl Scouts troop to Washington DC by train. The main event was a visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall. I’d never yet made it to this museum and WOW, it’s incredible. From David Adjaye and Philip Freelon’s building design to the breadth and depth of the collection and exhibits, it was nearly overwhelming. Black history IS American history, and Black culture is a critical component of American culture (whether acknowledged or ripped off), so exhibits ranging from Black innovators to educational history, from the performing arts to the world of sports, presented a rich assortment of artifacts and informative displays.
I really need to revisit when I’m not with a large group of largely elementary school girls. When half of your attention is ensuring that everybody stays together and behaves, you cannot fully appreciate all this museum has to offer. I could spend an entire day just exploring the exhibition hall for Black contributions to music, for example. Which is where I stumbled upon The Mothership:
I was also delighted to stumble upon a display all about Richmond’s own Maggie Lena Walker, complete with a number of artifacts and news clippings on loan from the Maggie L. Walker Historic Site, somewhere in a hall about Black entrepreneurship and innovation (3rd floor, I believe).
The weather was otherwise kind of crummy that day, so our secondary plans to have a scavenger hunt around The Mall were scuttled. But it was a great day traveling with my kid and her troop.