Begin With The Past
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Begin With The Past

3.66 (6 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

The Building of the National Museum of African American History and Culture traces the making of this unparalleled museum. Founding director Lonnie G. Bunch III described it as "ten years in the making, and 100 years in the making," and Mabel O. Wilson explores that effort in her narrative. As she discovers, initial calls for a permanent place to collect, study, and present African American history and culture in the early twentieth century never got off the ground. In the late 1990s, the notion began to gain momentum from increasing public interest and Congressional support. In 2003 the museum was officially established. Yet the work of the museum was only just beginning. Wilson takes an in-depth look at the selection of the director, site, and architects in the years that followed. Rising on the National Mall next to the Washington Monument, the museum is a tiered bronze beacon inviting us to understand our past and embrace our future. Wilson explores how the "four pillars" of the museum's mission shaped its powerful structure, and she teases out the rich cultural symbols and homages layered into the design of the building and its surrounding landscape. This book is an important inside look at the making of a monument.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 176 pages
  • 211 x 261 x 15mm | 690g
  • Smithsonian Books
  • Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press
  • Washington, United States
  • English
  • 122 COLOR ILLUSTRATIONS
  • 1588345696
  • 9781588345691
  • 1,185,461

Review quote

The Architect's NewspaperCommissioned by the [National Museum of African American History and Culture] to mark its recent launch, Wilson delivers with a history of its genesis from century-long civic intent to the intricate teamwork of curators, scholars, and (above all) architects and engineers, who together shaped its conceptual vision. This is an all-too-rare look at what a modern building requires in its realization, especially when the stakes are no less than the historic record itself and a site at the hinge of L'Enfant's plan. [...] The chapter "Inside the African American Story" stands out as a standard of well-explained problem solving; its welcome inclusion of design elevations and blueprints cements this comprehensive intent. What the author describes as "a spiritual feeling like that of a cathedral," comes as much from a soaring interior of long vistas as the combined efforts the book affirms. This is a building that blends strife with hope as its historical mandate deserved. Wilson's book helps show us not only why but how.show more

About Mabel O. Wilson

MABEL O. WILSON is an associate professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and a senior fellow at the Institute for Research in African American Studies. Her research investigates space and cultural memory in black America, race and modern architecture, and new technologies and the social production of space. She has written numerous articles and books, most recently Negro Building: Black Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums.show more

Rating details

6 ratings
3.66 out of 5 stars
5 17% (1)
4 33% (2)
3 50% (3)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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