When the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture was established in 2003, it had no collection. Since then, museum leaders have acquired approximately 40,000 objects, of which some 3,500 will be on view. They document the tragedy and triumph of the African American experience, from the Colonial era of slavery to the election of the nation’s first African American president. Here are 36 of the most emotionally and historically resonant treasures in the collection that no visitor should miss.
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