Ground was broken this week on the National Mall for the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The museum will feature artifacts from far and wide to illustrate aspects of life and history, from the African slave trade to our own time.
It is scheduled to open in 2015 and will stand next to the Washington Monument. It will cost around $500 million, half covered by Congress and half by private donations, which are still being raised.
Some 25,000 items have already been acquired, among them, a Spirit of Tuskegee World War II biplane that was flown across country during a monthlong trip in August. The owner, a young Air Force captain, donated the plane, which had been used to train the Tuskegee Airmen in the 1940s.
And the family of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old murdered in Mississippi in 1955, donated the casket in which he was buried. There are other artifacts from historic figures: Harriet Tubman's hymnbook, Rosa Parks' dress, Nat Turner's Bible. And many from popular culture: Chuck Berry's red Cadillac, Michael Jackson's fedora and Louis Armstrong's trumpet.
"I have said I am not interested in creating an African-American museum for African-Americans. What I'm interested in is taking this culture and using it as another lens to understand what it means to be an American," - Lonnie Bunch, director, National Museum of African-American History and Culture.
1. What is an artifact?
2. What is a museum?
3. Do you think it's important to display artifacts in a museum for all to see? Why or why not?
4. What is the National Mall and where is it located?
I. In the story, the museum's founding directors said, "I have said I am not interested in creating an African-American museum for African-Americans. What I'm interested in is taking this culture and using it as another lens to understand what it means to be an American."
What do you think she means by this? Explain.
2. Would you be interested in visiting this museum? Why or why not?