National Museum of African American History and Culture | Washington D.C.
Back in October I jumped on the opportunity to order tickets for the new National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Of course the tickets weren't until March so I didn't really worry about planning this because I had plenty of time to make it happen. It just so happened that my postponed trip to New York was going to be in March so I made it a full blown seven day vacation. I prefer two or three day trips but this was going to be special. Although my time in DC was short it was full of fun, emotions, reflection and visiting this museum was well worth the wait and it's worth going back again.
Because we were only there really for one night we opted for an Airbnb. It wasn't too far from the museum and I was in a great neighborhood that had great bars and food. My friend Cara from New Orleans joined me on this trip and we had a blast that first night. Well let me back up once, I got to the Airbnb I slammed my finger in the door of my Uber and had to struggle to get in using one hand and not drip blood everywhere. I then had to Uber to the nearest pharmacy to get Band-Aids and supplies to wrap my hand up so I could make it through the rest of this trip. Once I got through that ordeal we definitely had a lot of fun. The local bar in the neighborhood gave us our neo-soul, bad and boujee lives! Let's just say the night ended with shots of Jameson on the house.
The next day wasn't early rise because we had a 10:15 start time at the museum and you definitely need the entire time to get through to see everything. To be honest we really needed at least 2 to 3 days to get through everything and really take it in. There is security at the museum so don't think you're going to go through with your portable wine opener in your purse because tried it and they made her walk to the end of the sidewalk to throw it out. Once you get through there they walk you through an area and show you where you're going and give you instructions before you actually get into the museum. Once you get on the elevator it takes you down to the very bottom of the building and as you are going down you see the years that you're going by and when the elevator stops you're in year 1400.
I honestly can't put the experience into words. There's so much to read and so many exhibits and artifacts. The first three floors are very moving. From the Atlantic Slave Trade to the Women's Movement, it touches your soul. I think the most important part of the museum was the Emmitt Till Memorial. It's the one. Area where photography is not allowed. His actual casket is in the exhibit. His family donated it with the agreement of no photography. There's a video that plays at the end and you'll be in tears when you walk out. The coolest feature in the museum are the booths located on the floors that allow you to select a question and answer it as a reflection. They send you a copy and also run your thoughts just outside the museum entrance. It was wonderful to see how other were thinking and feeling as they made their way through.
The upper levels were way more light hearted. They were broken up into genres like music and art, sports, education, etc. the amount of information on things like black women and our hair and those who were pioneers in health made you proud and allowed you to see that as a black person in this country today that anything and everything is possible. They have a space where you can pretend your in a record shop and select the music that plays in the room. There are tons of interactive features. There's also an art gallery featuring some amazing black artists.
I don't really know how else to explain this great learning tool. I definitely have to go back because there's so much that was missed because there's so much to learn. I highly encourage people to take their children and themselves and make it a family event. There will be questions from kids but it's information that I believe will help shape these young minds into well informed kids who become successful adults because they see the struggles their ancestors endured and the greatness they could become.
I can't forget that the restaurant inside is slamming!!!!! The shrimp and grits we ate were killer and the fried chicken was glorious. With chef Carla Hall as the culinary ambassador, Sweet Home Café showcases the rich culture and history of the African American people with traditional, authentic offerings. They have multiple stations that cover different regions and their culinary flavors.