‘The Searchable Museum’: African American history museum unveils digital rendition of exhibits

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) launched a new initiative Wednesday to allow people to experience exhibits from anywhere they want — as long as it has an internet connection.

Dubbed “the Searchable Museum,” the NMAAHC said it is part of an initiative to engage with people on a global scale and deliver online exhibitions, virtual symposia and digital programs.

According to the NMAAHC, the Searchable Museum combines emerging technologies and scholarly experience to create digital versions of the kinds of exhibits visitors would find inside the walls of the museum.

“By marshaling the latest technology and harnessing the scholarly and educational experience of the museum’s teams, the Searchable Museum tells the complex story of our nation’s history in ways only the National Museum of African American History and Culture can,” said Kevin Young, the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the museum. “This ongoing project provides a chance for Americans to realize our shared past, bringing the unique museum experience to their homes and on their phones.”

The first exhibit rolled out for the Searchable Museum is “Slavery and Freedom,” an exploration of the roots of slavery in the foundation of America, even as it positioned itself as a beacon of freedom in the world.

“Allowing the public to virtually revisit the originating struggle for American freedom in the ‘Slavery and Freedom’ exhibition reminds us of the centrality of the African American journey to the American experience — a story of triumph, resilience and joy over the centuries,” Young said. “With this launch, we look forward to continuing the museum’s digital outreach and efforts.”

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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