Google and the National Museum of African American History and Culture rounded out this year’s Congressional Black Caucus week with an impressive invite-only celebration at the Howard Theatre (620 T St NW, Washington, DC 20001).
The co-sponsored event meshed 21st century technology with the colorful and historic elements of African American culture to celebrate the newest, and highly-anticipated, addition to the Smithsonian family.
D.C.’s famous soul-food supper club was furnished in true Google fashion, with innovative tech destinations and demonstrations including a 360 photo activation where guests posed for interactive pics; virtual reality stations where attendees explored the remarkable streets of New Orleans; and a 3D Tile Exhibit where guests interacted with artifacts featured in the museum. Event attendees also got to take home NMAAHC branded versions of the low-cost virtual reality headsets offered by Google.
The buffet and passed h’ors d’oeuvres provided a sneak preview of the regional dish concept featured at the NMAAHC’s Sweet Home Café. Guests enjoyed flavorful dishes – my favorite being the collard greens and bacon flatbread pizza – in between sips of wine and specialty cocktails from the open bar. Other crowd-pleasing dishes included fried oysters, sweet potato fries with garlic aioli sauce, BBQ chicken sliders, crab cakes, creole style shrimp po’boys, and avocado & crab rolls.
The evening effortlessly and intentionally transitioned from a laid-back smooth jazz climate to a sophisticated turn-up with live orchestra performances and soulful renditions of today’s hip-hop, funk and soul hits from D.C. based band Black Alley.
Google didn’t only celebrate the museum during CBC Week. In fact, the technology behemoth gave a $1 million grant and 3D exhibit to the museum.
The weekend long celebration surrounding the opening of the museum will include a Freedom Sounds Festival with performances from The Roots, Living Colour and Public Enemy.
Tomorrow, President Barack Obama is scheduled to cut the ribbon at the dedication and grand opening of the African American Museum of History and Culture. What a time to be alive!