1 year later: Smithsonian’s African-American museum celebrates on the Mall

WASHINGTON — “From the time I stepped off the bus, I had the feeling of my ancestors here.”

With a crack in her voice, Sheila Davis shared her experience at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. She had traveled from Harlem, New York, to join the still-lively crowds at the D.C. museum near its one-year anniversary.

“Most museums have an initial period of excitement, and then it dies down and it becomes routine. We haven’t reached that point yet,” said John Franklin of the museum’s Office of External Affairs.

Since the museum opened on Sept. 24, 2016, Franklin said around 2.5 million people have visited, averaging at 8,000 visitors a day. Although it’s free to enter, timed passes are needed and they’re always grabbed up quickly.

Even if you don’t have timed passes for this weekend, there will be plenty to do outside in celebration of the museum’s first year. The two-day event is packed with dance and music performances. For those inside the museum, hours have been extended to 7:30 p.m. until Sunday. And there may be a possibility for visitors to get walk-up passes in the late afternoon.

Davis had been planning her visit since February, but only managed to come because someone in her group had gotten sick and she took their place.

“It was divine order,” she said.

While she had enjoyed her visit, it was intensely personal, she said.

“All of the pain and suffering from my people, from my ancestors, gave me a chance to be here and to accomplish what I’ve accomplished. I have stepped on their shoulders. I was able to stand on their shoulders,” she said.

“If they had not made it, I would not have been here today, so we are truly survivors.”

It’s nearly impossible to get through the newest Smithsonian in a few hours, let alone a day. The museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts, many of which can also be viewed online. But nothing compares to the in-person experience.

Bernadette Crosson (left) and her mother Helen James (right) visit the museum on Saturday. "To witness this on the anniversary weekend, it's such a fantastic feeling," said James, a 14-year cancer survivor. "Seventy one-years old, born 1946 ... I was born during segregation ... to come here and experience this museum is just tearful." (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Bernadette Crosson (left) and her mother Helen James (right) visit the museum on Saturday. “To witness this on the anniversary weekend, it’s such a fantastic feeling,” said James, a 14-year cancer survivor. “Seventy one-years old, born 1946 … I was born during segregation … and to come here and experience this museum is just tearful.” (WTOP/Kathy Stewart) (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Russ and Betty Minton visited the museum from Florida. "The history is always emotionally trying for anybody that goes through," said Betty. "It brings tears to your eyes, always." Even so, she says she is happy with the museum and the way it is presenting African American history "because more and more people will see it and understand, and that's important." (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Russ and Betty Minton visited the museum from Florida. “The history is always emotionally trying for anybody that goes through,” said Betty. “It brings tears to your eyes, always.” Even so, she says she is happy with the museum and the way it is presenting African American history “because more and more people will see it and understand, and that’s important.” (WTOP/Kathy Stewart) (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Crowds form outside of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Crowds form outside of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart) (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
On it's one year anniversary, the National Museum of African American History and Culture saw many visitors during the two-day anniversary. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
On it’s one year anniversary, the National Museum of African American History and Culture saw many visitors during the two-day anniversary. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart) (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
(WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
It’s nearly impossible to get through the newest Smithsonian in a few hours, let alone a day. The museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts, many of which can also be viewed online. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty) (WTOP/Megan Cloherty )
(WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
“Most museums have an initial period of excitement, and then it dies down and it becomes routine. We haven’t reached that point yet,” said John Franklin of the museum’s Office of External Affairs. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty) (WTOP/Megan Cloherty )
(WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
“From the time I stepped off the bus, I had the feeling of my ancestors here,” said Sheila Davis of Harlem, New York. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty) (WTOP/Megan Cloherty )
(WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
Since the museum opened on Sept. 24, 2016, Franklin said around 2.5 million people have visited, averaging at 8,000 visitors a day. Although it’s free to enter, timed passes are needed and they’re always grabbed up quickly. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty) (WTOP/Megan Cloherty )
Chuck Berry's 1973 Cadillac Eldorado is on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, during a press preview. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Chuck Berry’s 1973 Cadillac Eldorado is on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, during a press preview. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (AP/Susan Walsh)
The front of a slave cabin from Edisto Island, S.C. on display at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, Tuesday, April 11, 2017. The two-room wood cabin dates to the 1850's and is prominently displayed in the history galleries of the museum. It is believed to be one of the oldest preserved slave cabins in the U.S. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The front of a slave cabin from Edisto Island, S.C. on display at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, Tuesday, April 11, 2017. The two-room wood cabin dates to the 1850’s and is prominently displayed in the history galleries of the museum. It is believed to be one of the oldest preserved slave cabins in the U.S. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14:  Guests sample dishes like Son-of-a-Gun stew, pan-roasted oysters, smoked haddock, corn croquettes with a gribiche sauce, slow cooked collards and other traditional foods at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture's Sweet Home Cafe September 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. Filled with exhibits and artifacts telling the story of the first Africans in the United States and their descendents, the 400,000-square-foot museum will open to the public on September 24.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Guests sample dishes like Son-of-a-Gun stew, pan-roasted oysters, smoked haddock, corn croquettes with a gribiche sauce, slow cooked collards and other traditional foods at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Sweet Home Cafe Sept. 14, 2016 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14:  Guests sample dishes like Son-of-a-Gun stew, pan-roasted oysters, smoked haddock, corn croquettes with a gribiche sauce, slow cooked collards and other traditional foods at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture's Sweet Home Cafe September 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. Filled with exhibits and artifacts telling the story of the first Africans in the United States and their descendents, the 400,000-square-foot museum will open to the public on September 24.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Guests sample dishes like Son-of-a-Gun stew, pan-roasted oysters, smoked haddock, corn croquettes with a gribiche sauce, slow cooked collards and other traditional foods at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Sweet Home Cafe Sept. 14, 2016 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)
Jerome Grant
FILE – In this Sept. 14, 2016 file photo, chef Jerome Grant poses for a photo inside the North Star Cafe at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington. The Sweet Home Cafe is the museum’s restaurant, with a menu featuring culturally authentic fare and modern-day-inspired foods. The restaurant is a journey through the agricultural south, Creole coast, northern states and the Southwest. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) (AP)
A statue of the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, is part of the sports exhibit at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
A statue of the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, is part of the sports exhibit at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (AP/Susan Walsh)
In this photo taken July 18, 2016, an exhibit depicting the presidency and the life of President Barack Obama and his family is seen during a media preview tour at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington. The museum's grand opening will be on Sept. 24. (AP Photo/Paul Holston)
In this photo taken July 18, 2016, an exhibit depicting the presidency and the life of President Barack Obama and his family is seen during a media preview tour at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington. (AP Photo/Paul Holston) (AP/Paul Holston)
An exhibit on music is on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, during a press preview. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
An exhibit on music is on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, during a press preview. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (AP/Susan Walsh)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14:  Instruments, costumes and other artifacts fill the Taking the Stage section of the fourth floor Culture Galleries at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture during the press preview on the National Mall September 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. Filled with exhibits and artifacts telling the story of the first Africans in the United States and their descendents, the 400,000-square-foot museum will open to the public on September 24.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Instruments, costumes and other artifacts fill the Taking the Stage section of the fourth floor Culture Galleries at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture during the press preview on the National Mall Sept. 14, 2016 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14:  Costumes, props, posters and other artifacts are on display in the Taking the Stage section of the fourth floor Culture Galleries at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture during the press preview on the National Mall September 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. Filled with exhibits and artifacts telling the story of the first Africans in the United States and their descendents, the 400,000-square-foot museum will open to the public on September 24.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Costumes, props, posters and other artifacts are on display in the Taking the Stage section of the fourth floor Culture Galleries at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture during the press preview on the National Mall Sept. 14, 2016 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14:  An interactive touch screen is part of a exhibit about civil rights lunch counter sit-ins at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall September 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. Filled with exhibits and artifacts telling the story of the first Africans in the United States and their descendents, the 400,000-square-foot museum will open to the public on September 24.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
An interactive touch screen is part of an exhibit about civil rights lunch counter sit-ins at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall Sept. 14, 2016 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14: The Spirit of Tuskegee, a PT-13 Stearman biplane flown by Tuskegee Airmen training to fight in WWII, hangs from the ceiling above the concourse galleries at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall September 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. Filled with exhibits and artifacts telling the story of the first Africans in the United States and their descendents, the 400,000-square-foot museum will open to the public on September 24. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
The Spirit of Tuskegee, a PT-13 Stearman biplane flown by Tuskegee Airmen training to fight in WWII, hangs from the ceiling above the concourse galleries at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall Sept. 14, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) (Chip Somodevilla)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19:  Singer Solange Knowles performs onstage at the Busboys and Poets' Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance at National Museum Of African American History & Culture on January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Busboys and Poets)
Singer Solange Knowles performs onstage at the Busboys and Poets’ Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance at National Museum of African American History & Culture on Jan. 19, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Busboys and Poets) (Mike Coppola)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19:  Singer Solange Knowles performs onstage at the Busboys and Poets' Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance at National Museum Of African American History & Culture on January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Busboys and Poets)
Singer Solange Knowles performs onstage at the Busboys and Poets’ Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance at National Museum of African American History & Culture on Jan. 19, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Busboys and Poets) (Mike Coppola)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19:  Bassist Esperanza Spalding performs onstage at the Busboys and Poets' Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance at National Museum Of African American History & Culture on January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Busboys and Poets)
Esperanza Spalding performs onstage at the Busboys and Poets’ Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance at National Museum Of African American History & Culture on Jan. 19, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Busboys and Poets) (Mike Coppola)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19:  "Dances of Resistance" directed by Karen Bradley Smooth and EZ Hand Dance performed onstage at the Busboys and Poets' Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance at National Museum Of African American History & Culture on January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Busboys and Poets)
“Dances of Resistance” directed by Karen Bradley Smooth and EZ Hand Dance performed onstage at the Busboys and Poets’ Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance at National Museum of African American History & Culture on Jan. 19, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Busboys and Poets) (Mike Coppola)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19:  Politcal Activist Angela Davis speaks onstage at the Busboys and Poets' Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance at National Museum Of African American History & Culture on January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Busboys and Poets)
Activist Angela Davis speaks onstage at the Busboys and Poets’ Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance at National Museum of African American History & Culture on Jan. 19, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Busboys and Poets) (Mike Coppola)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 24:   Oprah Winfrey, and Will Smith speak at the opening ceremony of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on September 24, 2016 in Washington, DC. The museum is opening thirteen years after Congress and President George W. Bush authorized its construction.   (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith speak at the opening ceremony of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on Sept. 24, 2016 in Washington, D.C. The museum is opening thirteen years after Congress and President George W. Bush authorized its construction. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Pool)
Lucille Simpson, Gwendolyn Norman
FILE- In this May 1, 2017, file photo, people wait in line to enter the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Cultural on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
Visitors have their ticket scanned as they wait in line outside the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Cultural on the National Mall in Washington, Monday, May 1, 2017. The hottest ticket in Washington right now is for the new museum, where thousands of tickets are snapped up each month within minutes of being released, a full seven months after the museum opened. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Visitors have their ticket scanned as they wait in line outside the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Cultural on the National Mall in Washington, Monday, May 1, 2017. The hottest ticket in Washington right now is for the new museum, where thousands of tickets are snapped up each month within minutes of being released. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
A school group waits in line to enter Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Cultural on the National Mall in Washington, Monday, May 1, 2017. The hottest ticket in Washington right now is for the new museum, where thousands of tickets are snapped up each month within minutes of being released, a full seven months after the museum opened. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
A school group waits in line to enter Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Cultural on the National Mall in Washington, Monday, May 1, 2017. The hottest ticket in Washington right now is for the new museum, where thousands of tickets are snapped up each month within minutes of being released, a full seven months after the museum opened. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
(1/31)
Bernadette Crosson (left) and her mother Helen James (right) visit the museum on Saturday. "To witness this on the anniversary weekend, it's such a fantastic feeling," said James, a 14-year cancer survivor. "Seventy one-years old, born 1946 ... I was born during segregation ... to come here and experience this museum is just tearful." (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Russ and Betty Minton visited the museum from Florida. "The history is always emotionally trying for anybody that goes through," said Betty. "It brings tears to your eyes, always." Even so, she says she is happy with the museum and the way it is presenting African American history "because more and more people will see it and understand, and that's important." (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Crowds form outside of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
On it's one year anniversary, the National Museum of African American History and Culture saw many visitors during the two-day anniversary. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
(WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
(WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
(WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
(WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
Chuck Berry's 1973 Cadillac Eldorado is on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, during a press preview. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
The front of a slave cabin from Edisto Island, S.C. on display at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, Tuesday, April 11, 2017. The two-room wood cabin dates to the 1850's and is prominently displayed in the history galleries of the museum. It is believed to be one of the oldest preserved slave cabins in the U.S. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14:  Guests sample dishes like Son-of-a-Gun stew, pan-roasted oysters, smoked haddock, corn croquettes with a gribiche sauce, slow cooked collards and other traditional foods at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture's Sweet Home Cafe September 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. Filled with exhibits and artifacts telling the story of the first Africans in the United States and their descendents, the 400,000-square-foot museum will open to the public on September 24.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14:  Guests sample dishes like Son-of-a-Gun stew, pan-roasted oysters, smoked haddock, corn croquettes with a gribiche sauce, slow cooked collards and other traditional foods at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture's Sweet Home Cafe September 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. Filled with exhibits and artifacts telling the story of the first Africans in the United States and their descendents, the 400,000-square-foot museum will open to the public on September 24.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Jerome Grant
A statue of the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, is part of the sports exhibit at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
In this photo taken July 18, 2016, an exhibit depicting the presidency and the life of President Barack Obama and his family is seen during a media preview tour at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington. The museum's grand opening will be on Sept. 24. (AP Photo/Paul Holston)
An exhibit on music is on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, during a press preview. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14:  Instruments, costumes and other artifacts fill the Taking the Stage section of the fourth floor Culture Galleries at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture during the press preview on the National Mall September 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. Filled with exhibits and artifacts telling the story of the first Africans in the United States and their descendents, the 400,000-square-foot museum will open to the public on September 24.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14:  Costumes, props, posters and other artifacts are on display in the Taking the Stage section of the fourth floor Culture Galleries at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture during the press preview on the National Mall September 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. Filled with exhibits and artifacts telling the story of the first Africans in the United States and their descendents, the 400,000-square-foot museum will open to the public on September 24.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14:  An interactive touch screen is part of a exhibit about civil rights lunch counter sit-ins at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall September 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. Filled with exhibits and artifacts telling the story of the first Africans in the United States and their descendents, the 400,000-square-foot museum will open to the public on September 24.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14: The Spirit of Tuskegee, a PT-13 Stearman biplane flown by Tuskegee Airmen training to fight in WWII, hangs from the ceiling above the concourse galleries at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall September 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. Filled with exhibits and artifacts telling the story of the first Africans in the United States and their descendents, the 400,000-square-foot museum will open to the public on September 24. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19:  Singer Solange Knowles performs onstage at the Busboys and Poets' Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance at National Museum Of African American History & Culture on January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Busboys and Poets)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19:  Singer Solange Knowles performs onstage at the Busboys and Poets' Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance at National Museum Of African American History & Culture on January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Busboys and Poets)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19:  Bassist Esperanza Spalding performs onstage at the Busboys and Poets' Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance at National Museum Of African American History & Culture on January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Busboys and Poets)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19:  "Dances of Resistance" directed by Karen Bradley Smooth and EZ Hand Dance performed onstage at the Busboys and Poets' Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance at National Museum Of African American History & Culture on January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Busboys and Poets)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19:  Politcal Activist Angela Davis speaks onstage at the Busboys and Poets' Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance at National Museum Of African American History & Culture on January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Busboys and Poets)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 24:   Oprah Winfrey, and Will Smith speak at the opening ceremony of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on September 24, 2016 in Washington, DC. The museum is opening thirteen years after Congress and President George W. Bush authorized its construction.   (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
Lucille Simpson, Gwendolyn Norman
Visitors have their ticket scanned as they wait in line outside the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Cultural on the National Mall in Washington, Monday, May 1, 2017. The hottest ticket in Washington right now is for the new museum, where thousands of tickets are snapped up each month within minutes of being released, a full seven months after the museum opened. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
A school group waits in line to enter Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Cultural on the National Mall in Washington, Monday, May 1, 2017. The hottest ticket in Washington right now is for the new museum, where thousands of tickets are snapped up each month within minutes of being released, a full seven months after the museum opened. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

For Doris Smiley, a visitor from Michigan, an exhibit that centers Emmett Till’s casket was especially emotional. Till was brutally lynched when he was just 14 years old in 1955 Mississippi. His death was a galvanizing point in the growing civil rights movement.

“I was a little girl when that happened, so I remember that,” she said.

Exhibits surrounding moments in ’60s also touched her.

“We were coming of age at that time and we lived that,” said Smiley, who had gotten her ticket through a tour group.

The museum had “history that needs to be shared,” Smiley said, and although she enjoyed her time going through some exhibits, it was not enough. She said she would definitely return.

From historic artifacts to personal stories and cultural items, the museum has become a must-visit D.C. location.

“To walk the history of my people was just beautiful; it was wonderful,” Davis said. “And to know that I’m here, that they were able to endure all of this pain, and I was able to make it, and if they hadn’t been strong people, I would not have been here today.”


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