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After nearly thirteen years of planning and construction, the beautiful bronze building on the National Mall will open for the first time.

The long-awaited National Museum of African American History and Culture, which was authorized by Congress in 2003, will open September 24 with a three-day festival and a dedication by President Barack Obama. The $540 million, 400,000 square foot building features more than 35,000 artifacts and 12 separate exhibitions on African American culture and history.



According to the museum’s founding Director, Lonnie Bunch, the museum aims to contextualize African American contributions to greater society.

“Museums that specialize in a given ethnic group usually focus solely on an insider’s perspective of that group. But the story we’re going to tell is bigger than that; it embraces not only African-American history and culture, but how that history has shaped America’s identity” Bunch wrote in an article on Smithsonian.com.

If you want a ticket, it’s shouldn’t be a surprise that everyone else in the DMV wants one too. To prevent overcrowding, the museum has designated a limited number of free timed passes for the months of September through December. Timed passes for September sold out in minutes, but October passes are still available here. November and December passes will go up later on in September. If you want to try your luck, a very limited number of walk-in passes will be available each day at the museum.

To learn more about the upcoming exhibits, check out the NMAAHC website.