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Lonnie Bunch leans forward to peer inside a slave cabin from Edisto Island, South Carolina. The dark and cramped interior defies his attempts to showcase the small living space its occupants subsisted on.
Bunch flips on the flashlight on a borrowed smartphone, illuminating for his guests the craftsmanship, the hard work and the love that the cabin’s former occupants put into what little they had.
The unification of the old and the new, and the use of modern techniques to explain the historical past — that’s what the National Museum of African American History and Culture and Bunch, its founding director, are striving for when the newest Smithsonian museum opens on the National Mall next month. President Barack Obama will help dedicate the museum on Sept. 24.
Proud of the striking, dark brown angular museum, Bunch sees its goal as helping all Americans understand and appreciate the rich cultural history of African-Americans, and to shine a light on the contributions and achievements of blacks to what the United States has become.