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Smithsonian breaks ground on African-American history museum

Courtesy the NMAAHC

WASHINGTON – On Feb. 23, construction started on the Smithsonian Institution’s 19th museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum will highlight African-American culture and importance in the country’s history.

Opening in 2015, the museum will stand on a five-acre site in the National Mall. The $500 million museum will be the first environmentally sensitive structure on the Mall.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, President Barack Obama spoke about the significance of the museum’s location.

“It was on this ground long ago that lives were once traded, where hundreds of thousands once marched for jobs and for freedom,” said Obama. “It was here that the pillars of our democracy were built, often by black hands. [The museum] will be a place where all Americans can learn bout the richness and diversity of the African-American experience, what it means to their lives and how it helped us shape this nation.”

Also in attendance were former first lady Laura Bush, Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis and Wayne Clough, secretary of the Smithsonian.

“This was true bipartisan effort, echoing the museum’s message of unity,” said Clough. “What a magnificent location, in view of powerful symbolism. It is a fitting home for this museum, invoking the indelible threads that connect African-American stories to the American tapestry.”

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