#BLACKFACTS: Zena Howard The Architect Responsible For DC’s African American Museum

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B.L.A.C.K Facts: A Female, Afrikan American, Architect We Dont See Many.

Zena Howard is the architect behind the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture! That’s two amazing things! One, the Afrikan American museum is opening this fall September 24th in DC, and the architect for this unbelievably amazing building is an Afrikan American woman! Now relax, all of you; “why does it matter if its an Afrikan American and a Woman” people, its amazing because its not something that is often seen, and that we can all agree on. Most architects that get major promotion are white men, so I celebrate Zena for accomplishing something that has never been done before.

CURBED;

“While some may focus on the building’s flashy copper facade, Howard zeroes in on its sweeping porch. On the south side of the property, the porch spans 200 feet and serves as an intermediary space between the museum’s exterior and its interior.

‘I think that the porch is…quintessential America,’ says Howard. ‘In African American history, we use the porch in a different way.’ It’s more ‘an extension of the indoor living space than probably in any other culture.’ She explains that as a child ‘everything was done on the porch. We ate on the porch. We sang on the porch.'”

‘…Sometimes, when I come [to the building site] I like to walk the project bottom to top at night. Just this past Thursday, I took three hours…and I got to the roof of the little balcony, the fifth floor that overlooks the Washington Monument at one end and the Capitol at the other. I was just thinking, ‘This is phenomenal. It’s phenomenal and fabulous…’

Zena Howard - theblackmedia-2016
Photo by Michelle Goldchain

Smithsonian;

“Metaphor and profound significance is crafted into the building itself, which offers a number of prismatic angles and viewpoints known as “lenses,” or opportunities for visitors to view the White House and the Washington Monument, as well as other locations around the National Mall from unique framed perspectives—’a view of America through the lens of the African American Experience.’

The 11 inaugural exhibitions will feature some of the 34,000 artifacts, including a railroad passenger car that dates to the Jim Crow era, a shawl worn by Harriet Tubman, a traveling trunk that belonged to the family of the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, an airplane used to train Tuskegee airmen, Nat Turner’s Bible and hundreds of other rare and rarely seen objects that curators have been steadily collecting since the museum was established. In addition, the museum will open with a formidable collection of art and photography, works by Charles Alston, Elizabeth Catlett, Romare Bearden and Henry O. Tanner.”

#SOULdiers, Are We Taking A Trip?! Or NAH?!

– :) Thanks For Reading #SOULdiers

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