Thea Awards Recipients

Thea Awards 2018

Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement - Museum

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington DC, USA

"...stories of resilience, joy, hope, inspiration and commitment,
from lessons in history." Photo: NMAAHC

Taking its place in Washington, DC on the iconic National Mall, the newest Smithsonian museum opened September 24, 2016, and as of this writing (spring 2018) had welcomed more than one million visitors to date. The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAC) is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life in all aspects, from a new perspective.

Like an exquisite sculpture, the elegant bronze 400,000 square foot building includes 12 inaugural exhibitions and 37,000 treasured artifacts on three separate floors. NMAAHC is a magnificent example of excellence in dimensional storytelling, by unfolding the African American experience in a beautifully creative and emotionally stirring way.

The primary spirit behind the architecture is one of “praise,” as the form of the building suggests upward movement. The interior floor plan takes visitors from the darkest struggles for freedom in the lower History Gallery, rising to the third floor, which displays the spectacular achievements made as free Americans, including examples in science, architecture, entertainment, music, art and sports. This is not a story of people brought down, but of a people that overcame and helped to transform a country.

A 360-degree virtual tour is available, augmenting the modern museum experience by making its exhibits available worldwide. Collection highlights include Nat Turner’s original Bible, a segregation era Southern Railway car, the slavery block, Louis Armstrong’s trumpet, Michael Jackson’s fedora, and an extensive display of photography and artwork, displayed in a variety of innovative ways, from touchscreens to interactive videos inside props and recreated sets.

Visitors to the museum may experience moments of introspection and the pain of the past. But they will also embrace stories of resilience, joy, hope, inspiration and commitment, from lessons in history. The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture is a reconciliation; an experience for all, a place in history and an attraction for the ages. -- 2017-18 TEA Thea Awards Committee


Find out more about TEA member Cortina Productions

Award Credits