Historical Background of museums:
According to Wateren, J. V. (2012), the term ‘museum’ arises with the Musaion, the temple of the Muses, in Alexandria. This Musaion, however, is also known as the Great Library of Alexandria which was established in the 3rd century AD and which provided the final resting place of Aristotle’s famed library. This musaion was in fact a place dedicated to the muses and to study where one engaged oneself in noble disciplines.
In time the term museum became strongly identified with a building type, namely, according to the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language, «a building used as a repository for the preservation and exhibition of objects illustrative of antiquities, natural history, fine and industrial art».
Importance of museums:
A museum helps people understand the world by using objects and ideas to interpret the past and present and explore the future. A museum preserves and researches collections, and makes objects and information accessible in actual and virtual environments. Museums are established in the public interest as permanent, not-for-profit organisations that contribute long-term value to communities. Museums Australia recognises that museums of science, history and art may be designated by many other names (including gallery and Keeping Place).
Types of museums:
There is some types of museums, according to Burcaw, G. E. (1997),
• Art museums:
A museum devoted to one or more of the art fields (dealing with objects). The emphasis here is on the ownership and presentation pf important collections.
A building equipped with tanks for a collection of animals that live in water.
• General museum:
A museum dealing with several or all fields instead of just art.
• Encyclopedic museum:
A general museum that has practically no limitation as to time, and subject placed on its collections, and which seeks broad coverage in all fields.
• Historical building or site:
A structure or location of significant historic connections, often associated with a famous person or event or a significant social or economic development; may include exhibits of pertinent objects
• Botanical museums:
Grounds with or without greenhouses, for the scientific cultivation of plants for study and display.
• Children’s museums:
A museum intended exclusively for young children, with everything scaled to their physical size and mental capacity, often managed by elementary school teachers and including such activities as hobby classes.
• Zoological museums :
A professionally designed and managed compound where live animals are kept for study and display, and that is often concerned with the preservation of endangered animal species.
• National museums:
The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)
Figure 1: The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)
• Project type: Museum
• Location: National Mall, Washington DC
• Start year: 2012 (February)
• Estimated investment: $500m
• Completed: September 2016
• Gross area: 300,000ft²
• Architects: SmithGroup, Freelon Group, Adjaye Associates and Davis Brody Bond
• Sponsors: IBM, Aflac Inc, Boeing (design and construction)
According to the National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. The Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution by President Barack Obama during a three day festival on the National Mall produced by Quincy Jones, a member of the museum’s advisory board. The only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. (Archives, 2016)
According to Smithsonian Instituation Archives, Its goals are:
1) Provide an opportunity for those who are interested in African American culture to explore and revel in this history through interactive exhibitions.
2) Help all Americans see how their stories, their histories, and their cultures are shaped and informed by global influences.
3) Explore what it means to be an American and share how American values like resiliency, optimism, and spirituality are reflected in African American history and culture.
4) Serve as a place of collaboration that reaches beyond Washington to engage new audiences and to collaborate with the myriad of museums and educational institutions that have explored and preserved this important history well before this museum was created.
History: Site Selection January 2006 (Sanchez, 2017)
• 2004: Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents appoints a 19 member National Museum of African American History and Culture Council
• March 2005: Dr. Lonnie bunch is named Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture
• January 2006: The Board of Regents selects the Monument Site for the new Museum.
PRE-DESIGN: Programming 2007- 2008 (Sanchez, 2017)
Master Facilities Programming:
• Visitation Estimates
• Audience Research
• Public Engagement and Outreach
• Exhibition Master Planning
• Collections and General Museum Requirements
• Site Analysis
• Facilities Program
PRE-DESIGN: Design Competition 2009 (Sanchez, 2017)
Figure 2: Devreaux and Purnell
Figure 3: Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup
Figure 4: Diller Scofidio Renfro
Figure 5: Moody Nolan/Antoine Predock
Figure 6: Foster and Partners
Figure 7: Safdie Architects
DESIGN: Design Concepts 2010 (Sanchez, 2017)
Place of Inspiration reflecting African American Resiliency and Spirituality
• American History
• International Considerations
Figure 8: conceptual Sketches of NMAAHC
DESIGN: Structure 2010 – 2011
• Four Pillars (4 Cores)
• Deep steel trusses spanning between the four cores in the corona
• Corona floor framing and slabs supported by the deep steel trusses
• Façade structure supported at roof level
• Two below-grade floors
• Materials: Steel above grade and Concrete below
Figure 9: Primary Components of Corona Structure in all there shemes
DESIGN: Sustainability 2010-2011 (Sanchez, 2017)
1. Passive Design
2. Maximize potential of Corona
3. Develop a comprehensive water management strategy
4. Understand energy drivers for the Museum
5. Specify simple systems that can be maintained efficiently (geothermal later explored but discarded).
6. Use daylight
Collections at the National Museum of African American History and Culture:
The collections and educational programming in the museum include different topics such as slavery, post-Civil War reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance and the civil rights movement.
Prior to beginning construction, the museum collected artefacts, conducted seminars and symposia on the African American culture and created travelling exhibitions. It also gathered oral histories of African Americans through the StoryCorps program in collaboration with National Public Radio and the Library of Congress.
Architectural design: based on Yoruban art for the NMAAHC
The museum’s architectural design is based on tribal Yoruban art, comprising classical tripartite columns or wooden posts crafted with a capital and shaft, bearing a crown or corona form.
Archives, S. I. (2016). Smithsonian Instituation Archives. Retrieved from https://siarchives.si.edu/history/national-museum-african-american-history-and-culture
Burcaw, G. E. (1997). Introduction to Museum Work (3 ed.). New York: Altamira Press.
Culture, N. M. (2016). National Museum of African American History & Culture. Retrieved from https://nmaahc.si.edu/about/museum
English Oxford living dictionaries. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/museum
Sanchez, B. (2017). National Museum of African. Washington, USA: Smithsonian Institution.
Wateren, J. v. (2012). THE IMPORTANCE OF MUSEUM LIBRARIES. INSPEL, 33(4), 190-198.