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Arts & Industries Building

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The Arts and Industries Building

Site of James Garfield’s inaugural Ball, the Arts and Industries Building houses changing exhibits from other Smithsonian Museums as well as its own collection of Victorian era machinery.

The Arts and Industries Building was originally constructed to exhibit pieces acquired from the 1876 Centennial Exposition. Some of these works are still on display. They include carriages, steam engines, a printing press and a locomotive.

Today, the Arts and Industries Building is a Museum in transition. It houses pieces from the National Museum of Natural History in its exhibit entitled " Museums at the Smithsonian: 150 Years of Collecting". It also has changing exhibits from the Anacostia Museum and the Center for African American History and Culture. The Smithsonian hopes this site will become the National African American Museum sometime in early 2002.

Sept. – July the Arts and Industries Building features plays and activities for children in the Discovery Theater.

One of the currently featured exhibits at the Arts and Industries Building is "Speak to My Heart: African American Communities of Faith and Contemporary Society". It is an interesting examination of the role churches have played in the African-American experience.


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