Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture Opens “More Than a Picture” May 5

Selection of Photographs From Collection Is Museum’s First Special Exhibition

More than 150 photographs and related objects will be on display in the exhibition “More Than a Picture: Selections From the Photography Collection at the National Museum of African American History and Culture” opening May 5. This will be the first exhibition opening in the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Special Exhibitions Gallery on the Concourse Level, which will be used to mount temporary, short-term exhibitions in addition to the museum’s permanent inaugural exhibitions.

Complementing the museum’s popular series of photography books, Double Exposure, the exhibition encourages visitors to explore the ways photographs reflect important moments in history and memory and continue to shape the understanding of African American experiences. The photography showcases a striking visual account of key historical events, cultural touchstones and private and communal moments to illuminate African American life. From the eras of slavery and Jim Crow to Black Lives Matter, “More Than a Picture” presents a range of American experiences that look beyond the surface to see the photographs’ significance to history and cultural meaning.

“The power of photographs is not only the ability to depict events but to bring human scale to those experiences,” said Lonnie G. Bunch III, the museum’s director. “Photography plays an important role in constructing memory. Images act not only as repositories of memory but also as stimulants and beacons for remembering.”

Iconic portraits of Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Queen Latifah and Grace Jones will be seen alongside historical and recognizable images from the civil rights movement, Hurricane Katrina and the initial uprisings in Ferguson and Baltimore.


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