Last preparations are made before President Obama attends the dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Sept. 24, before the museum opens to the public later that day. The museum is a Smithsonian Institution museum located on the National Mall.
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder greets the current U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch at the opening ceremonies of the 85,000-square-foot museum.
First Lady Michelle Obama hugs former President George W. Bush while President Barack Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush look on.
The push for the museum began in 1915 with African-American Civil War veterans looking for a way to commemorate America's black experience. Former President George W. Bush signed the law authorizing the construction in 2003.
Congressman John Lewis is embraced by President Barack Obama after his speech. Lewis was a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights movement. He co-sponsored legislation authorizing its construction, said the bronze-colored museum "is more than a building, it is a dream come true."
A crowd listens to the presidential address during the dedication ceremony for the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.Sept. 24.
With thousands of items occupying 85,000 square feet of exhibition space, the new Smithsonian will chronicle the complex relationship between the United States and a people it once enslaved, and tell the story of those who worked to make the necessary changes to bring the country to where it is today.