The Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is an american jewel. Nearly three years after its long-awaited opening, to gain entry visitors still have to be lucky enough to nab precious advance ticketsthree months prior to their visit. Of course military and several special designations can gain entry without having to obtain advance tickets.
You need a plan
The museum operation is smooth and well organized. What if you’ve planned your journey, invested a tidy sum to get there and discover something has occurred forcing the museum to close? Although that is a rarity, it did happen during our recent visit on Saturday, August 24, 2019. No doubt Saturday has to be one of the biggest days of the week for attendance. Once we arrived from the Metro eagerly to start our museum journey we were met at the line where you assemble for entry. NMAAHC staff Seymour was gracious under fire as he had to calm the nerves of those also in line who were in disbelief the museum would not open.
The museum will be closed for the remainder of the day today due to an internal power outage. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. You may use your passes to visit the museum any day the museum is open. #NMAAHC
Anyway, things happen. I couldn’t help but think about all the people who made personal sacrifices to attend the museum for THAT DAY. There was no tomorrow as they put everything they had in planning for that one special moment. Lucky for us, we had ordered tickets for three days during our trek so with some schedule adjustments we recovered.
Those who were not as fortunate had to scramble to fill in the time during their visit. Of course, the NMAAHC is in prime territory and with the new Circulator bus there are many alternative options to make your journey worthwhile.
What to do?
The question remains what to do should you find yourself in the dubious spot of scheduling a day at NMAAHC and not being able to get in due to technical issues? The most reasonable or practical solution is:
When ordering tickets (online) I would suggest getting a couple of days.
Once you arrive for your big day BE SURE TO CHECK YOUR EMAIL!!!! as should something arise you will be contacting from the email you reserved that was used to reserve your ticket.
The District of Columbia was created by Charles L'Enfant and it's famous quadrant layout was completed by Benjamin Banneker, noted African-American scientist and city planner
gerund or present participle: trekking
go on a long arduous journey, typically on foot.
We just completed our EastCoast v2019 trek. It is called “EastCoast” because we normally cover the states of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. This year we were gifted with five days and decided to spend it all in D.C. Trekking is not for the weary or those not flexible or those needing lots of pampering. Indeed it is a vacation but not the kind that you might imagine. It is better!!!! Trekking requires you to get off your butt or comfort zone, immerse yourself and explore. Normally trekking requires a commitment to public transportation (the Metro) and some good old-fashioned walking. For our 2019 version we included some Uber/Lfyt and even got snakebit taking a taxi.
If someone had told our crew before they made the journey the trek would require walking 20-25 miles……..Judith and I would have been by ourselves.
In addition to Judith and myself, we were joined by our good friend Del Huff, her friend Willie Cravins, who is now considered family and of course my aunt Maryum, who over the years has elevating her trekking skills and ranks with the best. In 2012 when the long-awaited MLK Memorial was completed and ready for unvieling, Hurricane Irene had other plans. Through that incident I was blessed to meet Renie Hale…….at all places, Ben’s Chili Bowl. Since then he has joined our family and from his perch in Laurel Maryland always fits in to round out those making the journey. He has been an active participant ever since then.
What’s so special about the EastCoast or DC?
Our commitment to HBCU’s
Judith and I first visited DC in 2005 as we were exploring Howard University where our son, Fred IV wanted to attend (He eventually decided on Bethune Cookman University).
DC is a city full of national history. Ever since then we have annual visits centered around the last week of August, which coincided with the historic March on Washington which was August 28th. It is our gesture to pay homage and reflect on a small piece of our heritage.
The Foodie Craze
Each trek has offered a different blessing. Starting in 2010 as the foodie craze became popular, we added a foodie excursion to our agenda. In 2019 we were not disappointed as in five days we covered ALL quadrants that DC had offer.
Managing the NMAAHC
Fortunate enough to attend the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture which happened to be President Obama’s last official event ceremony we have tried to warn folk on how to manager their experience to the museum. YOU CANNOT DO THE FULL MUSEUM IN ONE DAY, that is if you are truly serious about absorbing the history! This year we carefully planned our trek to include three visits to the museum. The plan payed off.
A Rarity at NMAAHC
The National Museum of African-American History & Culture runs smooth like a fine-tuned machine. Call it intuition, luck or just plain blessed but I knew there was a reason we were lucky to have tickets to the museum for three days during our trek?
Saturday’s are the busiest time for the museum. Having arrived early for our 12 pm tickets we noticed a line but that is not out of the ordinary. Shortly thereafter, I met the customer service extraordinaire Seymour who was part of staff and had been dispatched to deal with the folk waiting to get into the museum. Seymour had the responsibility to tell folk, the museum would be CLOSED FOR THE DAY, due to some type of power issue. For us it wasn’t that big of a deal as one down, two to go. Po’ Seymour was mortified in explaining to folk who had made financial and personal sacrifices for THAT DAY that they would not be getting into the museum. Anyway, the issue was resolved and the museum promptly opened up on Sunday. Hats off to Seymour as somebody had to communicate with the crowd and he did a remarkable job.
Photos and Media
Finally, as you can imagine, a trek is not complete without lots of photos and documentation. We split our media into categories for easier consumption. Simply click on the link and you will be directed to the appropriate page.