Go behind the scenes of the vast new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture to look at how a Smithsonian is created, artifacts are acquired, and narratives and exhibits are crafted. We will ask what role the Smithsonian can play in the 21st century and whether exhibits can present both a brutal past and moments of joy. Can remembering foster a healing dialogue about race? What is the power of objects — and why do they move us?
Cecilia O’ Leary is a professor of history at California State University, Monterey Bay, advisor to the director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and an editorial board member of the journal Social Justice. She is the author of To Die For: The Paradox of American Patriotism.