The latest digital roll out for the NMAAHC is first class, and the time to board is now. This past Thursday, the museum launched its first digital initiative, aptly named, The Searchable Museum. The innovative platform will host a wealth of rotating exhibitions, archives, and videos of the museum’s 40,000 artifacts.
Since doors opened in 2016, the museum has in large sold timed tickets for entry. And although tickets have remained free, they are often claimed quickly. (Tickets for December are nearly sold out.)
Museum director Kevin Young has communicated a plan to broaden the reach of the museum since stepping into the role in March of this year.
“By marshalling 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 via the Smithsonian news release. “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. 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. With this launch, we look forward to continuing the museum’s digital outreach and efforts.”
The first exhibition to receive the new digital treatment is Slavery & Freedom. NMAAHC Curator of American Slavery, Mary Elliott offers a video introduction to each section of historical teachings, while the explore tab allows you to get a close up look of the artifacts on view. The next exhibition, Making a Way out of No Way, will go live this upcoming spring.
“This is just the start,” Young communicated to The Washington Post. “We’re looking right now at phase two and stories we can tell next.”
Although you may have to play your own GoGo and cook your own DC delicacies, a museum visit from the comfort of your couch might not be the worst way to go.