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Smithsonian picks Durham design firm for black-history museum

Posted April 14, 2009

— The architectural group responsible for San Francisco's Museum of the African Diaspora will design the new black history museum on the National Mall in Washington.

A Smithsonian Institution jury announced the pick Tuesday. The firm Freelon Adjaye Bond in association with SmithGroup proposed a layered, glowing structure topped with a bronze crown.

Durham-based Freelon Group, led by Philip Freelon, was part of the winning bid. The firm also was selected last month with partner HOK of Atlanta to design the $125 million Center for Civil & Human Rights in Atlanta.

The lead designer of the Smithsonian project will be David Adjaye, who designed the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver.

The institution, scheduled to open in 2015, will be called the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It could be the final museum added to the expanse between the U.S. Capitol and Washington Monument.


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  • dshell99 Apr 14, 2009

    i've found that ppl who try to bring up the accomplishments of a minority group to the mainstream are typically shut down by the powers that be. i have several theories as to why. i feel that it's mostly a fear thing. the fear of looking ignorant. the fear of looking bad. no one wants to be told how to feel about something. but when things pop up that kick up certain emotions on their own, that's the worst of all. by separating things (african american this, native american that) it makes the pill of minority accomplishment easier to swallow. sure, EVERY ethnic group in this country should be commended for what they contributed, but it ain't gonna happen. so we take what we can get.....

  • alx Apr 14, 2009

    Wasn't there a speaker on the National Mall who once said that we should judge people not for the color of their skin but the content of their character? Maybe that statement was something that was just made up.

  • alx Apr 14, 2009

    It seems to me that this is another attempt to segregate our nation. I thought our nation was beyond race. the purpose of this is nothing but recognition of one race above another. If this goes through, every race in our nation should have a museum on the national mall. btw im black!

  • BigUNCFan Apr 14, 2009

    Why can't the achievements of African Americans be incorporated into the existing museums where their achievements were appropriate (history for those of historical note, art for artists, etc.).

    This has just gotten ridiculous. It seems like a money grab for a lot of contractors to build this thing. I thought we were going through tough times.

  • bnice1984 Apr 14, 2009

    this is great! always good for people to be educated on the contributions and sacrifices blacks have made throughout history for America. its not about separation, its about recognition.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Apr 14, 2009

    My company, as with most companies, make a product that works for all races. We don't have a separate product for each race. It doesn't make sense. There are a few that are VERY GOOD at using our product. We don't judge them as the best Chinese person that uses the product. Or the best African-American that can use the product. They're all the same. Its the best of the best. I thought America had accepted integration. Then why are the African-Americans wanting to segregate everything again? Its like they are going backwards. I don't see the logic with where African Americans are trying to go.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Apr 14, 2009

    This is getting ridiculous. Will there be an Smithsonian Indian History Museum? How about a Smithsonian Chinese-American History Museum? Or especially how about a Smithsonian Caucasian-American History Museum? When will this ridiculous stuff stop?