Here's Why You NEED to Go to the National Museum of African American History & Culture

Last weekend I got lucky and scored tickets to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in our nation’s capital. (I’ll explain how later) If I could describe my experience in one word, it would be…overwhelming.

But, overwhelming in an overjoyed, hopeful, relatable, and most proud…way.

Being from Baltimore, the only museums that represent my blackness are The Great Blacks in Wax Museum and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum.

I have to admit, visiting The Great Blacks in Wax museum as a child was DEVASTATING! I mean touring a “slave ship” and seeing the Jim Crow era in life like wax figures was just a lot… for a person like myself. So I think I’m probably good for the rest of my life on that museum.

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Additionally, The Great Blacks in Wax museum ends with Obama. No offense to BO, but our journey as blacks doesn’t end with him.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for these museums, but the National Museum of African American History and Culture is the Greatest of All Time. It changed my whole life. (I’m dramatic). This museum occupied EVERY nook and cranny of black culture.

From being kings and queens in Africa, to our contributions in the World Wars, to our diasporic presence pre Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. It exhibited our influence on culture and much, MUCH more. I never felt so proud to be Black.

I mean seriously. Our deeply rooted faith in God? Covered. Black’s coining Rock & Roll, Country and Blues? Got those receipts. How they cruelly packed our ancestors on slave ships? Got it. How we dominated damn near every sport, even FENCING? A whole exhibit dedicated to it. Why we love soul food and seasoning so much? Check! They even have Emmett Till’s casket in there.

Our slang, gestures, style, academic excellence, inventions, pride in our HBCUs, dance moves, etc. We really influence the world and it feels so good to be a part of the coolest race on Earth.

I was aware black people touched everything, but to actually have itemized proof on display was incredible to witness. #BeenWoke

Honestly, my favorite part being surrounded by so many black people. The energy was staggering. I was just walking around the museum smiling at everyone; so elated and proud and that feeling was reciprocated.

Ok, so circling back to the tickets. People have been HYPING how hard it is to get admission to the museum. I asked around and kept hearing “Oh, I got connections” and “I reserved them 5 months in advance” which may have been true when they first opened. However, when I went they were literally handing out tickets outside of the museum. So I basically just tried my luck and it worked out.

Disclaimer: Results with getting tickets may vary…I just have God’s favor.

In conclusion, just go. Tell your white friends to go too. It’s an amazing experience and you’re guaranteed to learn something new. WIN-WIN.

Cortney Watson