Reviewed by KT Horning
Tonya Bolden recounts the 100 year (100 years!) history behind getting the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) built which started at a GAR gathering of African-American Civil War veterans in 1915 (1915!) with a desire to build a national monument to honor these men.
With little to no power to lobby Congress, the members of the National Memorial Association didn’t make much progress but kept going. All the while their dream was growing until it had expanded into a full museum to honor African-American history. Continue reading.
How to Build a Museum by Tonya Bolden
Published by Penguin on January 11th 2016
Genres: African American, OwnVoices, U.S. History
Reading Level: Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8
Review Source: Reading While White
Buy at Powell's Books
Also by this author: Crossing Ebenezer Creek, Cause
Publisher's synopsis: Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture is truly groundbreaking! The first national museum whose mission is to illuminate for all people, the rich, diverse, complicated, and important experiences and contributions of African Americans in America is opening. And the history of NMAAHC--the last museum to be built on the National Mall--is the history of America. The campaign to set up a museum honoring black citizens is nearly 100 years old; building the museum and assembling its incredibly far-reaching collections is a modern story that involves all kinds of people, from educators and activists, to politicians, architects, curators, construction workers, and ordinary Americans who donated cherished belongings to be included in NMAAHC's thematically-organized exhibits. Award-winning author Tonya Bolden has written a fascinating chronicle of how all of these ideas, ambitions, and actual objects came together in one incredible museum. Includes behind-the-scenes photos of literally "how to build a museum" that holds everything from an entire segregated railroad car to a tiny West African amulet worn to ward off slave traders."