The five-story museum houses 12,000 SF of dedicated permanent exhibition space and 3,500 SF for special temporary exhibits. It features an interactive learning environment, auditorium, resource center, oral history recording studio, museum shop, café/eatery, outside terrace and reception area.
The project has been designed to reflect the accomplishments of Maryland’s African American community, a ‘spirited’ building, forming a strong, challenging and dynamic statement, expressing an emotional sense of architecture.
The overall design revolves around seven concepts that relate to spirituality, joy, vibrancy, resilience, the power of knowledge, values and principles, the importance of family, and cultural continuity. Thus, the visitor experience revolves around ‘discovering’ these principles and elements of the African American identity. The site design continues from within the museum with a bridged entry through a misting water feature to symbolize the journey of the African American from slavery to freedom. The western edge is also part of a streetscape to other destinations like the Shot Tower and Metro stops.