New African American history museum set to open soon

The newest addition to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will open the weekend of Sept. 24 with a dedication ceremony that’s expected to draw many prominent guests, including President Barack Obama and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, who was instrumental in the landmark’s creation.

Here’s everything you need to know about opening weekend for Smithsonian’s latest museum:

When do the festivities begin?

The Freedom Sounds Festival kicks off on the nearby grounds of the Washington Monument the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 23 and will stretch through the weekend. The festival will include concerts, a drum circle, oral history activities and spoken word presentations.

The grand opening ceremony begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24. It will also be live streamed at nmaahc.si.edu. The museum officially opens at 2 p.m. that day, but tickets are required to enter. An invitation-only gala will be held Saturday evening at the nearby John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to midnight on Sunday, Sept. 25, to people with tickets acquired in advance.

What can I expect for opening weekend?

Long lines and crowds, according to the museum. You don’t need tickets to attend the outdoor portion of the dedication ceremony on Saturday, which will be broadcast on screens throughout the area.

Hotels and parking spots that weekend will likely be hard to come by.

Does it cost anything to attend?

Entry to the museum is free.

How else can I get tickets to the museum?

Tickets are available at the museum’s website. Passes for opening weekend have already been snapped up, according to the Washington Post, but there are still tickets available for weekdays in mid- and late-October.

The museum will start giving out same-day passes starting Sept. 26 on a first come, first served basis. It will be open 364 days a year from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.