President Barack Obama and former first lady Laura Bush will celebrate the groundbreaking for a new national museum showcasing black life, art and history on the National Mall.
The Smithsonian Institution announced that Obama will speak at the Feb. 22 groundbreaking for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Actress Phylicia Rashad will host the event.
The ceremony, featuring remarks by President Barack Obama, will be webcast at http://nmaahc.si.edu/Events/Groundbreaking
. The pre-ceremony music will begin at 9:00am ET, and the ceremony will begin at 10:00am ET.
Early construction work has already begun at the museum site near the Washington Monument. Officials have said the museum is on track to open in 2015. Congress has pledged to provide half the cost of the $500 million museum project.
Designers for the project have been planning a layered bronze structure with a stone base.
Bush serves on the museum's advisory council with Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones and others.
The NMAAHC collection includes artifacts such as Michael Jackson's stage-worn fedora hat, caught by an audience member attending the star's "Victory Tour" on July 31, 1984 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and Harriet Tubmans personal effects, including family photographs, a hymnal and a framed portraitone of the few photographic images of Tubman known to exist. Images and more details on the NMAAHC collections are available at http://nmaahc.si.edu/
The groundbreaking on the National Mall is a milestone that fulfills the dreams and aspirations of many generations. Attending the ceremony will be civil rights leaders, dignitaries, Congressional representatives, and prominent African Americans from business, academia, arts and entertainment. The journey to build the NMAAHC dates back more than 90 years. The groundbreaking ceremony on February 22 is confirmation that it has become reality.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.