The Smithsonian's newest museum looks like nothing else on the Mall, and it brings an African influence to a place that could not be more American.
You approach it on walkways that largely trace paths worn in the grass by visitors to the Washington Monument.
The shape of its bronze-colored outer corona was inspired by a Nigerian artist’s carving, which is displayed in the “Cultural Expressions” gallery. The intricate filigree pattern resembles railings made by enslaved 19th-century craftsmen in New Orleans and Charleston, S.C.
Its three tiers — 3,600 panels of cast aluminum — are hung at the same angle as the Washington Monument’s capstone. (Be sure to take a photo with the two buildings lined up.)
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