How many times do we say to family and friends that we "never" go visit ______ , even though we live that close? I am thankful to live in an area with beautiful museums and historical places of significance, and decided to take advantage of one today; the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Smithsonian's newest museum on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
Usually, the tickets are timed, and need to be reserved at least a day in advance (more like days or weeks than one day) because this museum is quite new (about two years old). From what I learned, "everyone" wants to get in and see it. For the month of September, the NMAAHC began offering walk-up weekdays, allowing museum-goers to go to the museum without advance passes.
Even more exciting on this rainy Tuesday was that I found a parking space right across the street from the museum, and possibly a little "fate" that there was no line when I arrived around 10:20am. I snuck right in to explore this spectacular museum. The lower three levels are quite sobering, as you can imagine, with meaningful topics covering the years of slavery and freedom (1400-1877); the era of segregation (1876-1968) and a changing America (Civil Rights); 1968 and beyond. It was thoughtful in presentation and thought-provoking at the same time.
The upper few galleries were much more interactive with culture, music, community and exploring ancestry. The sports gallery was fantastic, as well as all the wonderful music dating back many generations including the blues, country, big band/jazz, Motown, hip hop and all the latest music playing on the radio today.
I was thrilled to spend several hours viewing a lot of the exhibits (lots of reading I must admit), and I especially loved the temporary Oprah Winfrey gallery called: "Watching Oprah." The gallery had many of her dresses and outfits from her shows; costumes from the movies she "starred" in, and artifacts from the set of her talk show. It was a "small" glimpse of Oprah's 25 years hosting 4,561 shows! It was Oprah who gave me, and millions of viewers around the world, the "permission" to live an authentic life and to "just be you." Shouldn't we all Live Our Best Life? I think we do....
If local, please take a day to check out this brilliant and impactful Smithsonian Museum (hey, it's free!); and if you need to travel to DC, please try to visit when you get the chance. It's that good and not to be missed.
Below photo: my sister Kimberly Kocan and I were in the audience for the taping of Oprah’s last two shows in Chicago, IL.