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National African American History Museum Activity

This activity is a non-threatening way to get students to discuss diversity-related issues in a group setting.


The goal of the activity is to facilitate productive conversation about race and racism in the United States.

Estimated Time

25-35 minutes

Group Size

This activity works best with a class size of 30 or fewer; if used with larger groups, limit the group size to between 7 and 10 and have more than one group consider each question.


Have the class listen to the story.  You can also show photos from the museum archives (available at the story link) while the audio is playing.  Then, divide the class into four groups by assigning each person a letter from A through D.  Each group gets a different set of questions.  Allow the groups to talk among themselves for 10-15 minutes.  Have the group members assign one person to be the reporter.  Bring the groups back together and ask each reporter to read the group's questions aloud (one at a time) and summarize the group's discussion of that question.  After each group explains its answers, open the floor for students from other groups to share their thoughts about the question.


  • Access to a media player and the following story from National Public Radio: Susan Stamberg interviews Lonnie Bunch, the museum curator about the artifacts being assembled for the National Museum of African American History and Culture being built in the National Mall. ("Assembling Artifacts of African-American History").