On February 22, the Smithsonian Institution broke ground for its 19th museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in a ceremony on the National Mall. The event took place on the museum’s five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W.
President Barack Obama spoke at the ceremony. Other honored guests included First Lady Michelle Obama, former First Lady Laura Bush, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Gov. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.).
The National Museum of African American History and Culture was created in 2003 by an Act of Congress, establishing it as part of the Smithsonian Institution. The museum will be the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to showcasing African American life, art, history and culture.
The construction of the museum will begin in summer 2012 and is expected to take three years. FreelonAdjayeBond/SmithGroup was selected as the museum’s architectural and engineering firm in April 2009, and Clark/Smoot/Russell was selected as the construction firm in July 2011. The museum is expected to cost about $500 million, with half of the funds being raised by the museum and half of the funds provided by Congress.