National Museum of African American History and Culture opens ... virtually

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IBM and the Smithsonian Institution today announced the virtual opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Smithsonian's 19th and newest museum. This online presence marks the first time a major museum has opened its doors on the Web prior to the construction of its building.

While the physical museum will be built on the National Mall in Washington in 2015, it is opening online now to serve as a place of collaboration among scholars and the general public.

"The Smithsonian is honored to work with IBM to create this virtual platform for the National Museum of African American History and Culture," said Lonnie G. Bunch, founding director of the museum. "This initiative allows us to share the rich culture, to preserve the important history and to make the African American past available to millions globally. Because of this partnership we can build a new community of supporters and enrich the educational resources of children in America and around the world."

A key Web site feature is The Memory Book which allows site visitors to upload their memories in the form of a story, an image or an audio recording. An online map, which can be navigated, shows how these diverse memories are linked to each other and to content created by the museum to spotlight people, places, issues and moments in African American history.

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