Yesterday, I went to the National Museum of African American History and Culture with my professors and classmates. First, we came to Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute early in the morning at 8:00 AM. Then, at 8:30 AM, we all went together walking to the metro station , and we took the metro down to Washington DC. We arrived at 9:30 to Washington DC, and we walked down to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum was so close to the metro station we walked a couple of minutes. There were a lot of people standing outside the museum waiting in lines to get into the museum, and we waited in line too. After that,we got into the museum and went to the fourth floor. There was a woman who introduced herself to us, and then started to talk about the museum. The woman said that the museum was planned many years ago and it finally got open last year when Barack Obama was the president of The United States of America. Then, we all went together inside a big room with our guide. I was so surprised and excited about what was inside the room. There were big screens everywhere with a nonstop show. I loved it so much the screens looked amazing. Moreover, there were different outfits including dresses and suits hanging everywhere in a glass with a written paper next to each outfit and also a picture of the person who wore the outfit in the past. The outfits explained a lot about the fashion of the African American people. I was so surprised because the outfits I saw were the original outfits that were worn in the past, not a copy. Furthermore, we saw videos on the screens about the songs and dances of the African American people. It was so exciting. I loved their music and dance so much. After that, we walked all around the room looking at different styles, shows and music in the past. There were a lot of names that I cannot remember, and also there were a lot of pictures of people I do not know. Finally, we went to the shop to get a souvenir of the museum, and then we went back home. I loved the place and I also enjoyed the field trip a lot.
Yesterday it was such a great day that gave me the opportunity to know more about the African American history and culture. First of all, I had to be there at 10:00; however because of the traffic, I got there at 10:11, and I was worried about losing this trip. After I arrived, I went to the fourth floor with my professors and my friends, and we met a nice African American woman who helped us to understand everything. I asked her if they presented many different kind of religions in this museum, and she said yes. In the beginning, I saw video of Muslim people that really got my attention and made me feel like I had to see more. I went to other floors with my husband, and on the third floor we saw the military section. The military section was really interesting because they show many types of guns that were used in the Second World War and in the USA and Korea war. Then, we saw a section that teaches people African American dances, and they have like big screen that shows dancers. Also, we saw our holy book which is called Qur’an. I couldn’t believe that they had this kind of book because I thought they are not interested in it. However, I found out that they have a lot of information about Islam in their society, and they do care about it even though they faced racism. After I read the information in general, I admit that those people really fought to kill racism and to practice their religions. Honestly, I can’t summarize all the parts that I saw, but mostly it is an incredible museum. Lastly, I was surprised because I realized that there are no white people working there, only African American people. I believe that is a good strategy to make the visitors listen and talk to African American people because, of course, they know about their culture more than anyone else.
BY SAUD A
First of all, our institute was the first point to the museum, however, some students went to museum directly and I was one of them. After that, we met an African American woman who works there. She was wearing a necklace that had words “ASK ME”. She was an older woman but she was energetic and she was smiling all the time. We started from the fourth floor by using the escalators. She started to give us general ideas about each floor. Then, she said the museum was established around one year ago in the Obama period even though there were many people who had tried to open the museum throughout the last 100 years. We listened to her explanations about African American culture and how they had been enslaved since several European countries started their empires. She talked about many things such as styles and clothes, and how that has changed from the past until today. Also, she talked about African American religions such as Islam and Christianity. After that, she gave a brief report on the African American struggle to get their rights. I saw many things such as paintings and military tools and weapons as well as holy books such as Quran and the Bible.
On September 19, the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute organized a field trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture for us. The museum was opened on September 24, 2016; almost a year ago, and it has been booked almost all the time since it was opened. When we arrived we recognized the museum by its well-designed structure, which was inspired by a statue in the Culture Gallery of the museum. We were really amazed by the huge amount of people who were waiting. We waited for almost half an hour just to get in even though we had our tickets. The security officers were really efficient and did their work swiftly. Then, we took off to explore the Culture Gallery, which had an enormous bottle tree that people from the south of the United States claimed catches the evil spirits around you. Then, we had the opportunity to improve our knowledge of the African Americans’ art styles and music.
Clearly, African-Americans faced many hardships regarding their rights and freedom in the United States; for instance, they were not allowed to be on TV shows. Thankfully, that has changed. After that, we went to see some African-American artworks like the painting “The Fulfillment” and “The Mothership”, which was really meticulous. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to cover the whole museum; however, I continued exploring it on my own because I knew how difficult it is to get a ticket due to the huge number of people who visit the museum regularly. I learned many things about the African-American culture and I had wanted to visit it since it was opened, so I am really glad that I visited it with VTLCI.
We spent a wonderful morning together in the National Museum of African American History and Culture on September 19th. The weather was really nice yesterday, and all the VTLCI students were led by our professors to the museum by metro. This museum was built almost a year ago. Therefore, it is very popular among people who live around here.
After we got into the museum, we went to the 4th floor, and started our journey with a nice lady, who gave us many details while we were in the Culture Gallery. In the Culture Gallery, there are many different themes you can enjoy. For me, I was attracted by the video played in a big screen that is around the lobby. It displayed many different faces. Some of them are singers, some of them are athletes, some of them are dancers. Different people have one characteristic in common: they are all very energetic. The video shows their passion for their lives and culture even though they were treated unfairly at that time in history. This spirit inspired me greatly, and drove me to know more about African American history and culture. Furthermore, the music and the language they created also impressed me. They tried to tell people things they wanted to say via music, which is the best way to share something around the whole world, I believe. Also, they created their unique pronunciation of English in many cases.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to visit all the galleries in the museum. There are too many things on display and activities to engage in while you are there. I really want to go again with my friend. This museum doesn’t just express the history of African Americans, but also sings a beautiful song about their spirit.
Away from the classroom, Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute prepares cultural and academic field trips for the students as a part of its program and a part of its responsibility toward the country. Those filed trips introduce the history of the U.S in an enjoyable way.
On the last trip, students and professors went to The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. After we went through security, we went to the fourth floor, the culture galleries. The first gallery was about cultural expressions. It shows different aspect in the African American culture such as food, clothes, industries, and entertainment. After that, we went to the “Musical crossroads gallery”, which displays the revolution of music in the African-American culture like Jazz, Soul music, R&B, and Pop music. Then, we were taken to the visual art and the American experience gallery. There, various fine art works illustrate the role African American artists played in shaping the history of American art.
Dear RW 300,
I’m impressed and moved by your writing samples on the blog! Thank you taking the task so seriously, and for opening up and sharing so much about yourselves. Thank you for allowing us, instructors, to get to know you better. This type of communication is so important in education!
Thank you, Prof. McKenney, for embarking on this adventure with your talented and hard-working students. You all have made the blog project so much richer and more meaningful. I couldn’t be happier!
Looking forward to reading more.