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Major Festival Celebrates the Opening of the New African American Museum

Celebrities and officials will kick off the free festivities at the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, the 19th member of the Smithsonian family

An exhibit is displayed during a press preview at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC

Preston Keres/AFP/Getty Images

The National Museum of African American History and Culture’s festival, "Freedom Sounds: A Community Celebration," begins at noon September 23 in Washington, D.C.

The long-awaited grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture celebration, called  “Freedom Sounds: A Community Celebration,” will be Sept. 23-25 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. President Barack Obama will speak at the Sept. 24 opening ceremony, with first lady Michelle Obama, former president George W. Bush and his wife, Laura Bush, among the attendees.


Performers will include the iconic hip-hop group Public Enemy, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon house band the Roots and jazz great Wynton Marsalis. Additional musical performances will showcase R&B, gospel, folk, classical and more.

Events will spotlight African American culture with dance, storytelling, a drum circle, interactive workshops and a collaborative mural. And food concessions will reflect the culture, ranging from Southern barbecue to Caribbean jerk.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Greg Kahn

The National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall is steps away from the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial.

The museum has been 10 years in the making. The National Mall was selected as the site in 2006, and construction began in November 2012. Doors officially open to the public Sept. 24; free timed-entry tickets are required.

AARP is a founding donor to the museum. For more information about events, visit https://nmaahc.si.edu/.

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