As the only national museum that focuses solely on the culture, history and lives of African Americans, the 36,000 artifacts span in time from the 1760s to the modern era, addressing topics like civil rights, literature, slavery, segregation, religion and more. Included in the artifacts are badges, Bibles, clothing, photography, newspaper clippings, letters and a wide variety of other objects that highlight historical events, renowned people and distrinct eras. The museum contains a variety of items in its collection with an Oklahoma connection, including an array of artifacts from the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. The riot left an unknown number dead after a one-night race riot in the Greenwood District of Tulsa. Artifacts of the riot include charred riot pennies, photographs of protestors and subsequent damage to Tulsa, letters, protest signs and more.

President Obama delivered a speech at the opening ceremony on the National Mall, explaining that the story of American Americans “perhaps needs to be told now more than ever.” Hundreds lined up on Sunday – the first full day the museum was open to the public – for a chance to explore the museum and its many offerings.

To explore the wide array of artifacts, see pictures and learn more about the mission of the museum, head to nmaahc.si.edu.