In 1929 Congress authorized to build a museum as a “Tribute to the Negroes’ Contribution to the Achievements of America.” But the project was stalled partly because of the Great Depression and a lack of funds. In the 1980s, African-American museums started to open in various states but there was no national structure.
More than 80 years later, a museum dedicated to African American history and culture is finally taking shape. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) will be open in 2016 on the National Mall. The collection includes “artifacts of slavery and freedom, mementos of military service, symbols of the civil rights movement and the Harlem Renaissance,” among other objects including a horn played by Louis Armstrong and protective headgear worn by Muhammad Ali. 60 Minutes will air an interview with NMAAHC founding director Lonnie Bunch on May 17, 7pm on CBS.