Recently I had the honor to attend the opening celebration for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C.
More than 30,000 visitors arrived from far and wide, on buses and in wheelchairs, to experience the magnetic pull of shared history.
No less than President Barack Obama, our nation’s first African American president, dedicated the museum in his opening speech.
“African American history is not somehow separate than the American story,” Obama intoned. “It is not the underside of the American story. It is central to the American story.
I too felt a poignant family tie to the museum. My dad, Matthias Breuer, designed and managed production of the commercial display cases used in a section of the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum. So when 3M had the opportunity to help build the Smithsonian’s newest museum, I was excited to follow in my father’s footsteps.
Our company’s contributions can be found throughout the museum. One hundred 3M touchscreens help bring history to life in a way that connects with the digital generation. I was personally involved in the installation of our fire barrier wrap to help protect the precious artifacts in the 400,000-square-foot museum. All told, 3M contributed $5 million in resources to this important cause.
My heart swells with pride when I hear people on the street, in hotels and other public places marvel at the design of the NMAAHC and express interest in going. I know my father would be proud too.