Guided Tour of the National Museum of African Art on February 23

AAFSW members and guests are cordially invited to a guided tour of the National Museum of African Art on Tuesday, February 23 at 11:45 a.m. Depending on the size of the AAFSW group visiting the museum, there will be one or more docents leading the tour. The group led by Judy Livingston, who was an AAFSW member for over 30 years, will focus on the complex role of women in african society as seen in the works of the African mosaic exhibit.

There is no charge for the tour. But if you wish to attend the luncheon offered at the Museum after the tour, there will be a charge of $18.00.

Please RSVP to AAFSW ( or 703-820-5420) and mail your check for $18.00 (made out to AAFSW) to AAFSW Reservations, 4001 North Ninth Street, Suite 214, Arlington, Virginia 22203, before Friday, February 19.

The mission of the National Museum of African Art is to foster conversations about the beauty, power, and diversity of the cultures of Africa and to foster cross cultural communication.

Warren M. Robbins, a retired Foreign Service Officer, founded the Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. in 1964 as an effort toward communication between cultures and to address the inequities that were being visited upon African Americans. He believed that if white people understood the arts and culture of Africa, they would look at African Americans with respect, and that if black Americans could come to understand their own heritage lost through the diaspora of slavery, they would embrace their history and gain the personal dignity that accompanies pride.

The museum was originally housed in a Capitol Hill townhouse once occupied by the great abolitionist and former slave, Frederick Douglass. It opened to the public one month before President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law.

After ten years, the museum was attracting 55,000 visitors a year. The collection of 7,000 objects was a gathering place for Africans and international diplomats, and thousands of school children were being introduced to African art and culture through an extensive public education program.

Robbins realized that the museum needed a permanent home and funding and he worked with members of Congress and prominent individuals to bring this about. In 1979, by an act of Congress, the museum became part of the Smithsonian Institution and in 1987, it moved to its current quarters, 25,000 square feet of public space on the Federal Mall sharing a largely underground facility with the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Asian Art.

The Museum is located at 950 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC. The closest metro station is Smithsonian (Blue, Orange and Silver lines). You may find parking on the street.

We look forward to seeing you,

Sheila Switzer
AAFSW Programs Chair