Groundbreaking for the National Museum of African American History and Culture

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  • The Smithsonian broke ground for its 19th museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Wednesday, February 22, 2012 in an invitation-only ceremony on the National Mall. President Barack Obama spoke at the ceremony which took place on the museum's five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument and west of the National Museum of American History at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W.
  • The ceremony is presided over by Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough and Museum Director Lonnie G. Bunch III. Dick Parsons, Patty Stonesifer, Laura Bush, G. Wayne Clough, Lonnie G. Bunch III, Richard Kurin, France Cordova, and Linda Johnson Rice turned the first soil. Other honored guests included First Lady Michelle Obama, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Gov. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.).
  • Created by an Act of Congress in 2003, it is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation and displat of African American life, art, culture, and history. The museum is set to open September 23, 2016.


  • Lewis, John 1940 Feb. 21-
  • Obama, Barack
  • Obama, Michelle 1964-
  • Brownback, Sam 1956-
  • Bunch, Lonnie G
  • Bush, Laura Welch 1946-
  • Clough, G. Wayne
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • SI Email Announcements, 2/21/2012
  • "National Museum of African American History and Culture Groundbreaking," Jacqueline Trescott and Maura Judkis, The Washington Post (online), 2/22/2012,
  • "Groundbreaking for National Museum of African American History and Culture Media Kit." Smithsonian Institution. February 22, 2012.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


February 22, 2012


  • Groundbreaking
  • New Museums
  • Presidents' spouses
  • First ladies
  • History
  • Special events
  • Washington Monument (Washington, D.C.)
  • African Americans--History
  • African Americans


  • Washington Monument (Washington, D.C.)
  • Mall, The (Washington, D.C.)

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