Ever since it opened its doors in 2016, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture has emerged into an institution that poignantly captures the essence of the Black experience. The museum is ensuring the rich history encompassed within its walls can reach the masses through the creation of a new digital project, the Washington Post reported.
The institution recently unveiled an initiative dubbed the Searchable Museum. Through the platform, individuals can virtually explore a collection of videos, photographs and interactive narratives. Among the exhibitions is “Slavery & Freedom,” which gives an in-depth lens into the harrowing experiences of enslaved people. This project explores the journeys of unsung African American trailblazers and stories that examine how current issues surrounding things like healthcare, land ownership, education and law are directly correlated to historic social injustices.
Kevin Young—who serves as the museum’s director—says the digitization of the institution’s content will be instrumental in making education about significant parts of history more accessible.
“I used to talk about the digital future, but it’s really the digital present,” he said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “We’re bringing the museum beyond its four walls. It’s like a museum in your pocket. The goal was really to think about how we could bring history in your hands. I really think the experience of going to the museum is transformative. What we wanted out of the site is something transformative as well.”
There have been projects launched to preserve significant elements of Black history digitally. In June, Getty Images announced it would provide grants for the digitization of historic HBCU images. The initiative was designed to give a lens into the legacies of these educational pillars.