WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWBT) - Tens of thousands are expected at the grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, so expect large crowds, extra security screenings and street closures.
Some areas are gated off. The museum is free to get into; however, you will need a timed pass to get in. The passes do not limit the amount of time you can spend once your inside, but it gives you a specific time for you to show up.
"Was born and raise in the civil rights era," said Sylvia Donahue. "Things we thought we would never see are now happening. President Obama being the president, the museum dedicated to the things we learned about."
Learned about, lived through, and experienced first hand.
"It is extremely emotional," said Andreatta Jones. "I was in school when Emmett Till was killed. I'm going to tear up. Just to think you're going to be so close to his casket."
The historic significance of the museum opening is bringing unprecedented interest. Security will be heightened. Certain items, like tripods and coolers, will not be allowed during the ceremonies. Anyone can come for the outdoor festivities, but you will need a pass to get inside the museum.
Same-day passes will not be available until Monday. The Smithsonian will be streaming the ceremony online if you cannot make it out here.
The building's main entrance is a welcoming porch. The entire building is wrapped to honor the intricate ironwork crafted by enslaved African Americans.
"It goes way beyond the artifacts, it's a very emotional feeling," said Donahue.
Also important to note, there are currently no companies authorized to set up tours or sell tickets on behalf of the Smithsonian for this museum – it doesn't cost you anything to get inside here, so be cautious of any deals you may see from companies claiming to have tickets for sale.
Organizers expect the crowds to continue into next week, and you'll continue to need that timed pass.
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