I took a “quick” two-hour tour of the new Museum of African American History and Culture. Here are a few observations.
The building is beautiful and I now understand what they wanted to do with the unusual exterior by allowing exterior views of the National Mall from inside the building. Judge the exterior once you’ve seen it from the interior.
The best way to see the museum is from the bottom to top that starts with the slavery era, continues through the Civil War and then the 1968 civil rights movement (see the Greenboro lunch counter above) before escalating to floors for sports and entertainment.
I’ve been a sports writer in Washington since 1978 so the sports floor is big for me. Understandably, it’s the dessert after the harsh lessons of the past, but it’s still a grand story. So many great athletes are honored. You could spend all day on that floor alone.
The entertainment floor devoted to actors and musicians is a who’s who of American music. Chuck Berry’s red Cadillac is cool. I noticed the generation gap on this floor with older visitors checking out artists more from the 1960s and youngsters looking for modern performers.
The restaurant matches the American Indian museum’s as the finest on the mall. Most museum cafes are fried junk. Both the American Indian and African American provide healthy food that pertain to the culture. I’d put up the macaroni and cheese in the African American and the salmon in the American Indian as fine as anything served in any restaurant around town. (Wow, I wrote the largest paragraph on food.)
Tickets aren’t easy to get and the January-March tickets are available online on Oct. 3. The spring will be impossible to get tickets given the student groups that flood town. You can also get four tickets at 9:30 a.m. daily at the museum on first-come basis. Go online at 9 a.m. on Oct. 3 for winter tickets at the African American museum.