The Smithsonian opened the National Museum of African American History and Culture on September 24, 2016, and in the next year or two, it is expected to include some San Francisco 49ers memorabilia in its sports display.
49ers psychologist, and noted sociologist Dr. Harry Edwards told USA Today reporter Jarrett Bell that he sent along some items of Colin Kaepernick’s to put on display.
“I said, ‘Don’t wait 50 years to try to get some memorabilia and so forth on Kaepernick,’ ” Edwards told USA TODAY Sports. “ ‘Let me give you a game jersey, some shoes, a picture … And it should be put right there alongside Muhammad Ali. He’s this generation’s Ali.’ ”
Edwards wanted them on display quickly, but according to the museum’s curator of sports, new items likely will not be rotated into the collection for a year or two. There are 19 Smithsonian Museums, and for the ones that have extensive collections of things to put on display, it can take time to show them off. With the African American history museum, the donations have been so extensive that it will take time to get through some of it.
For those that are unaware, I live in Washington, DC. I had a chance to check out the museum earlier this year, and it quickly climbed near the top of the list as one of my favorite Smithsonian museums. I like the Air & Space and American History museums. The National Zoo is pretty cool as well. I have only spent a little time in the Natural History museum, but it seems pretty cool. The Portrait Gallery might be one of the more chill options among the Smithsonian museums. It’s a good place to go and relax.
But the African American History museum is without a doubt the most intense. There are six floors, with the bottom three floor (all below ground level) taking you through the black experience in the Americas. It starts with the first slaves being sent over and takes you to the present day. The first floor is from the start of slavery to the beginning of Reconstruction following the Civil War. The second floor is Reconstruction to the Civil Rights movement. The third floor brings us to the present.
I went for two or three hours on my first trip, and only got through the first floor. They’ve got an old slave cabin, and a separate exhibit is a reconstructed slave ship, made from the materials found off the coast of South Africa. On that first floor, the most intense part might have been in the slave ship where they had the actual chains used on people, including chains for infants. It’s an unforgettable experience.
In addition to the walk through history, they have two floors dedicated to African American culture. It includes everything from art to television, movies, and music, to sports. The Kaepernick memorabilia will go in that latter portion, and obviously I’ll make sure and get some pictures of it when it arrives. Given what is going on in the world today, and the discussion Kaepernick’s protest help push further forward, it is fitting that it gets a spot in the African American History museum.
If you have a trip planned to DC, I highly recommend checking out the museum. It is hard to get advance tickets, with September tickets being given out (they’re free) on June 7. However, if you’re in town, I’ve heard from several people that you can often get day-of tickets, and sometimes they’ll just let people in if they are on their own. But make sure and check it out.