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Smithsonian offers six design concepts for National Museum of African American History and Culture

March 28, 2009|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Six design concepts for the future national black history museum planned for the National Mall were unveiled Friday, mostly breaking with the tradition of boxy Smithsonian Institution museums by showcasing earthy elements and varied shapes.

Any one of the proposed designs for the National Museum of African American History and Culture could mark a sharp departure in the architecture between the Capitol and Washington Monument for what could be the final museum added to the area.

"The mall is a place of evolution," said museum director Lonnie Bunch, who will lead a jury in selecting a final design team by April 14 to recommend to the Smithsonian secretary and governing board. "In some ways, this is pushing the mall to the next stage of evolution."

The proposed designs will be on view through April 6 in the Smithsonian Castle, where visitors can submit comment cards, Bunch said. The building is slated to open in 2015, with groundbreaking in 2012.

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