The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is already inspiring a sense of pride throughout the city since its September opening.
Partly due to its focus on African American heritage and partly due to the balance it strikes between eye-catching aesthetics and environmentally friendly design. The LEED Gold certified building will offer another 300 seats, as well as expansive reception areas to the city’s overall meeting space. Aside from being an eye-catching addition of DC culture and featuring cutting edge technology such as photovoltaic panels that heat water throughout the building, the façade consists of 3,600 bronze-colored cast-aluminum panels. The building is quite possibly a scaled down version of the city itself: cultural, historic and inventive.
Lead designer David Adjaye calls this the “corona,” as it was inspired by the Yoruban caryatid, a traditional wooden column that features a crown or corona at its top. A three-day festival, complete with music and dance performances, oral history activities, a drum circle, concerts and interactive workshops, introduced the museum to the public ahead of its official opening.
DC’s F&B scene is also getting downright innovative. Along with being named “Restaurant City of the Year” by Bon Appetit, the city became the fourth in the US to receive a Michelin Guide this past October. The neighborhood around the convention center saw 16 new restaurants open since late 2015 and another 10 are on the horizon. It’s hard to say just what tickled the fancy of the undercover Michelin inspectors, but we’d venture to say mezcal whipped up by a master mezcalier, a 10-ft open wood-burning hearth and meatballs filled with oozing mozzarella had something to do with it.
“Like a Local” Tips
President and CEO of Destination DC, Elliott Ferguson, urges groups to explore U Street and other neighborhoods for a truly hyperlocal destination experience. “Start with a half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl, a DC institution, and check out the street mural right by the restaurant. Go shopping at a local store and stop for a drink on Restaurant Marvin’s rooftop. Groups can also take a metro or rent a bike from Capital Bikeshare to get around the city like a local.”