So much to explore at the African-American museum in D.C., including Harlem's outsize role in bl


You could easily spend a few days making your way through the National Museum of African American History & Culture, the Smithsonian museum that opened in Washington, D.C. in late 2016.

There is so much absorbing history to cover, from the barbaric years of the African slave trade (included are the remnants of a slave ship) all the way to the election of President Barack Obama (one of Michelle Obama's dresses is part of the exhibit).

In between you'll get to see an actual plantation slave cabin, a segregated train car and, maybe most moving of all, Emmett Till's coffin. And that's just the lower-level galleries.

Then there are the packed upper floors dedicated to community and culture, highlighting the contributions of African Americans in fields including the military, sports, and music.

No matter how much time you end up devoting to your visit, it quickly becomes apparent that certain portions of the U.S., like the American South and the Northeast, have bigger stories to tell.

Naturally, Harlem gets its due. In the historical galleries, the neighborhood is credited for its central role in the "New Negro Movement" (what the Harlem Renaissance was called during the actual era), and in campaigns like the Double V Movement for full citizenship rights. Upstairs in the culture galleries Harlem crops up again and again, noted for its importance as a jazz mecca as well as its role in the birth of hip hop.

The museum's popularity means you either have to get timed entry passes three months in advance, or jump through other scheduling hoops to go the same day. However you decide to get there, the effort is definitely worth it (no matter where you come from).

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