National Museum of African American History and Culture Illuminated

Photo by PoPville flickr user John Sonderman

From National Museum of African American History and Culture:

“On the evenings of November 16-18, to kick off the countdown to its grand opening next fall, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will come alive for three nights as the façade of the building will be illuminated with moving images in a spectacular display.

The event commemorates three important milestones in African American history:

150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment
150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War
50th anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act

Featuring state-of-the-art digital projection imagery, the south (facing Madison Drive) and west exterior (facing 15th Street and the Washington Monument) facades will be transformed into a five-story-tall, one-block-long 3-D canvas. The video display will be seven minutes long and run continuously all three nights from 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

The event is best viewed from the mound area of the Washington Monument and the knoll area adjacent to Madison Drive, at 14th Street, NW.”

Photo by PoPville flickr user John Sonderman

Photo by PoPville flickr user John Sonderman

25 Comment

  • This has got to be one of the ugliest buildings on the mall. I cringe every time i drive past it.

  • That place just gets cooler and cooler. I am very excited for its opening.

  • The building is going to have to grow on me. Hopefully the exhibits won’t go the way of the Indian Museum… long on verbiage, short on interesting artifacts.

  • Ok- I must admit. I drive by this everyday and I long ago decided that I didn’t like the façade of the building. But if they will do cool stuff like this, then I’m on board with the design.

  • I think that this facade is so beautiful, especially in sunlight. I really like that they’re doing interesting things with it at night.

    • I’m with you. I was lukewarm to the design when it was just drawings, but as it’s been built (I pass it every day on my commute) it’s zoomed close to the top of my list.
      Can’t wait to see what it’s like inside.

      • Me too – it’s turning out way better than I expected. I feared that it would interrupt the sight lines on the mall and stick out like a sore thumb, but I LOVE it. It does stand out, but it’s set back enough that it doesn’t overwhelm its surroundings. And the façade is intriguing (is it supposed to look like a woven basket? That’s what it reminds me of.)

    • Agree. I like it.

    • I agree. I think it looks especially good up close, where you can see the intricate details. Thankfully the armchair architects among us didn’t have any input on the design.

    • Agreed. I love this building, it’s gorgeous at sunset. It’s really unique – I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it before.
      The opening of this will be the perfect feather in Obama’s cap at the end of his Presidency (yes, I know the museum was pushed forward and approved by GWB….this will be one of his positive historical footnotes).

  • sadly, this building doesn’t enhance the landscape of the mall. it looked much better in renderings and they can’t get the facade material right… there were better options than this

  • I wish they could have built it in such a way that it didn’t completely blot out the Washington Monument from 14th Street. The building by itself is ok, but its placement has destroyed what used to be a great view.

    • I agree about the placement. Good for the museum as has the best location out of all the them, but sucks that that open space view of the monument from 14th os gone.

    • Agreed. That is such a weird choice of sites. It not only blocks out the Washington Monument, but the site feels like a weird afterthought, not like a destination in its own right.

    • It’s an absolute travesty that location ever got approved. That space should have remained empty, just like the parallel space on the south side. It obliterates all symmetry of the Mall and places a (clearly arguably not attractive) building entirely too close to the Washington monument.

      I absolutely support the museum, don’t have strong feelings on the architecture, but absolutely HATE where they put it. This is, to me, so much more egregious than the WWII memorial that received even greater criticism.

  • The interior is amazing and all I know is….the cafeteria will be AWESOME! Can’t wait!

  • Wow. A lot of people here with bad taste is architecture. The building looks amazing and especially at night with the video projection by Stanley Nelson and Marcia Smith

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