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9 Things You Need to Know About the National Mall's Newest Museum

When it finally opens its doors, the National Museum of African American History and Culture will be one of the most contradictory institutions on the National Mall.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture, pictured under construction at sunrise in March.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture, pictured under construction at sunrise in March.Michael Barnes/Smithsonian Institution

Ten years ago, the National Museum of African American History and Culture had a staff of two. There was no site locked down for the building. No design attached to it. And no stuff to put in it.

"We knew we were going to have to raise millions of dollars, but we didn't have a penny to our name," said Lonnie G. Bunch III, the museum’s director since 2005, during a press conference this week. ”And also, unlike most museums, we didn’t have a single artifact in our collection.”