Please Note: All galleries will be closed from May 7 though July 29 for renovation. The administrative offices, archives and library will remain open.
Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence
Now - September 21, 2014
Ndwango (means "cloth") is a new form of bead art developed by a community of women living and working together in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The Ubuhle (means "beautiful") artists' community was established in 1999 by local resident Bev Gibson and master beader Ntombephi Ntombela [En-Tom-be-Fi En-tom-bell-la] to empower local women with the means to provide for their families through their art. The flat surface of the textile onto which the Ubuhle women bead is reminiscent of the Xhosa headscarves and skirts that many of them grew up wearing. Using black fabric as a canvas and different colored Czech glass beads as the medium of expression, the Ubuhle community has re-imagined the longstanding beading tradition as a contemporary art form. Twenty-nine works are featured, including The African Cruxifixion.
Ubuhle: pronounced Uh-Buk-lay in Xhosa (Ho-Sa)
Home Sewn: Quilts from the Lower Mississippi Valley
Now - September 21, 2014
The first in a series of collections-focused exhibitions, Home Sewn features quilts created by Annie Dennis (1904–1997) and Emma Russell (1909–2004). Quilts represent classic American quilt patterns and techniques passed down through five generations. This exhibition examine the generational, social, and economic fabric of an African American quilting community in rural Mississippi. In addition, fieldwork and interviews with present-day African American women quilters give voice to the continuing tradition of quilting in these communities.
Separate and Unequaled: Black Baseball in the District of Columbia
After a recent successful run at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., a condensed version of this popular exhibition is on view at the museum. From Reconstruction to the second half of the 20th century, baseball, the great American pastime, was played in Washington, D.C., on segregated fields. This exhibition looks at the phenomenal popularity and community draw of this sport when played by African Americans. Featured are such personalities as Josh Gibson and "Buck" Leonard, star players of the Negro Leagues most celebrated team, the Washington Homestead Grays. The show also highlights community teams that gave rise to the various amateur, collegiate, and semi-pro black baseball teams and leagues.
Please Note: Call first to check the monthly viewing schedule as the exhibition may not be available when an activity is taking place in the Program Room: 202-633-4820 (recording).
Near front entrance
Real Justice, the museum's first public sculpture installed May, 26, 2004, was created by Washington, D.C.'s metal sculptor Allen Uzikee Nelson. This 15-foot weathered iron sculpture is dedicated to the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and is reflective of African art, as Adinkra symbols are used to depict the justice system and aspects of Marshall's life.