National Museum of African American History and Culture Opening

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National Museum of African American History and Culture Opening

Washington, D.C.

2016

Challenge:

• Create and Produce an historical event on the steps of this new museum for 50,000 people on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
• Balance the requirement of celebratory speeches while capturing the emotion of the moment for a large, outdoor audience.
• Manage an audience of super VIPs (President of the United States and 3 past presidents)Solution:
• Bring together a world class team of creative collaborators, and work with the Smithsonian on creating an event that had gravity, emotion and was uplifting to all who attended.
• Use the themes of music, family and passing stories from generation to generation.
• Create a stage that architecturally blends into the museum to make the museum the star.
• Use music and a children’s choir to emotionally punctuate stories.
• Create an emotional opening moment that tied the themes together. We did this by having 4 generations of 1 family on stage - The 104 year old daughter of an enslaved man who escaped to freedom, her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. To open the museum they rang a bell from one of the oldest black churches in America. A bell that rang 153 years prior to celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation. They, along with the First Family entered the museum.


Results:

• Overwhelming attendee reactions
• Positive Press coverage
• High water mark set for Smithsonian events

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