October 01, 2007
By Elisabeth Grant
Even though construction on the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) isn’t scheduled to start until July of 2012, visitors can already access a wealth of information at the NMAAHC web site. The innovative design allows users of the site to find content through an interactive relationship map (see image below) that adjusts depending on the page a user is on. The graphic helps create a sense of context. For instance, if you’re on the A. Philip Randolph biography page the relationship map shows connections to photographs, civil rights, resistance, and more. Those subjects are further linked by threads to other people, subjects, and events, presenting a visual and metaphorical view of how actors and events in African American history connect. For those who like the more traditional approach to surfing web sites, there is also navigation at the top of each page, and a well-organized site map.
The site currently features a number of exhibitions and programs, including:
- Let Your Motto Be Resistance – A collection of African American portraits accompanied by biographies, culled from the National Portrait Gallery by guest curator Deborah Willis.
- Save Our African American Treasures – An initiative that brings together “cultural institutions, community leaders, and the public to preserve and collect African American material culture.” The program focuses on preserving books, furniture, paper, photographs, clothing, and other items.
- StoryCorps Griot – Supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), this initiative aims to collect oral histories of a variety of African Americans. The site features over 50 audio recordings that cover topics from memories of New Orleans, to childhood in Alabama, to a cadet’s first day at the Virginia Military Institute.
The NMAAHC site also provides excellent educational resources, like curriculum for elementary school teachers, a timeline of African American history events, and links to related sites. So go online today, and experience all that the web site of the National Museum of African American History and Culture has to offer.