Grand Opening - National Museum of African American History and Culture

On Friday, September 23rd, 2016, the Atlanta Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) boarded a bus for a 10+ hour trip to Washington, DC for the grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Among those in attendance from the Atlanta area were local architects, emerging professionals, students, family and friends. 

The weekend of events kicked off on Saturday, September 24th with the opening of the Museum for the first time as they welcomed visitors from around the country. Attendees also had an opportunity to see and hear many celebrities and national figures who served as speakers, visitors themselves, or participants in the Freedom Sounds Festival and Dedication Ceremony.  

The symbolism of the NMAAHC not only celebrates the history of African Americans, but African American architects as well. Of the 225,429 licensed architects in the US, 2,078 represent the African American population, while 337 represent African American women. David Adjaye, lead designer, and Philip Freelon, lead architect, who are both African American architects were among the winning team in 2009 selected to carry the honor of creating the image of what the museum has become today. 

Monica Fenderson, Senior Architect for MOSA Design Studios, was able to participate in the weekend's festivities and states, "It was truly and honor to be a part of such a momentous occasion in the design and African American communities. The sense of comradery among the crowd was amazing and to hear the speeches of so many notable figures and celebrities was something I will never forget. Congratulations to Freelon, Adjaye and Max Bond Collaboration on an exceptional monumental building added to our architecture history." Phil Freelon later attended the Grand Opening reception hosted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) where Fenderson was able to congratulate him on his many accomplishments (photo above). 

A joint reception, hosted by the AIA and NOMA, highlighted the power of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

To gather all the architects who had traveled to Washington, DC, to attend the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the AIA and the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) held a celebratory reception at AIA National headquarters.

Among the attendees was Philip G. Freelon, FAIA, lead architect of the museum's design. "It was an incredible privilege and honor to have played a central role in the creation of the museum," he said to the almost 200 architects and AIA members in attendance. "As an African American man, I feel a great sense of pride in helping to showcase the history, struggles and, more importantly, the contributions and achievements that are such an important part of our nation’s history." Please continue reading, by following the link listed below: 

Photo Credits: Timothy W. Matthews, II