The museum’s concourse level documents slavery in the US from the slave trade to emancipation with moving exhibits including artifacts such as Harriet Tubman’s personal hymnal and a shawl gifted to her by Queen Victoria. Other floors delve into segregation and run through to the present day, telling stories of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and President Barack Obama as they relate to African American culture. The Community and Culture galleries showcase collective contributions to athletics, the military, and more. Also here, visitors can explore family histories through digital resources and get help conducting genealogical research and oral history interviews.
Museum entry requires a free timed-entry pass. Same-day and advance passes are available online, and some walk-up passes are distributed after 1pm on weekdays. Thousands flock to the museum daily, making it one of the most-visited Smithsonian institutions, and passes sell out quickly—plan ahead.