National Museum of African American History and Culture
The National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. The museum helps all Americans see how their stories, their histories, and their cultures are shaped and informed by global influences. It explores what it means to be an American and shares how values like resiliency, optimism, and spirituality are reflected in African American history and culture.
RAA was asked to design twelve galleries, taking visitors on a historically rooted journey that embraces community and celebrates culture. The History galleries cover 400 years of America’s history: Slavery and Freedom, the Era of Segregation, and Beyond 1968. The Community galleries tell the stories of Making a Way Out of No Way, the Power of Place, Military History, and Sports. The Culture galleries present Cultural Expressions, Taking the Stage, Musical Crossroads, and Visual Arts.
The national response to the museum has been significant, with visitation topping one million visitors in little over four months after opening, and more than three million in its first full year of operation. In addition to the remarkable visitation, people are engaged three to four times longer than the average museum visit with durations of six to eight hours. It has, according to The Washington Post, “changed the center of gravity on the Mall.”
Size 85,000 square feet
Architect Adjaye Associates David Brody Bond Freelon Group
MEPWSP Flack + Kurtz, Inc.
Structural EngineerSilman Associates
Prime Exhibit Fabricator and A/V IntegrationD&P
Exhibit FabricatorsHadley, Pacific Studios
Lighting DesignerLuce Group
Acoustical EngineeringSH Acoustics
Sound DesignerCharles Morrow Associates
Media ConsultantsResident Genius, Leslie Gladsjo, Local Projects
A/V Design and EngineeringElectrosonic
Specialty CastingsStudio EIS
Executive Media ProducerSmithsonian Channel
AwardsDezeen Award: Longlist, Civic and Cultural InteriorInternational Design Award (IDA): Silver, Interior Design / Exhibits, Pavilions and ExhibitionsRed Dot Award: Winner, Spatial CommunicationThe Society for Enviromental Graphic Design (SEGD) Global Design Award: Merit AwardACEC/MA Engineering Excellence Award: GoldWashington Building Congress, Craftsmanship Award: WinnerFast Company Innovation by Design Award: Honorable Mention, Spaces, Places, and CitiesGOOD DESIGN® Award: Winner, EnvironmentsGraphis Design Annual: SilverInternational Design and Communication Award (IDCA): Gold, Best Scenography for a Permanent CollectionIndustrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), International Design Excellence Award (IDEA): Finalist, EnvironmentsThemed Entertainment Association (TEA): Winner, Outstanding Achievement: MuseumContract Magazine, Interiors Awards: Winner, Civic/Public
Photography Ron Blunt