MLK collection at Smithsonian's newest museum

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- This Martin Luther King Day, visitors to our nation’s capital have a new place to pay tribute to the civil rights leader and the entire movement.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture opened last fall. More than 30,000 people came the first weekend alone. It’s so popular, visitors still have to secure timed entry passes online.

“It’s the only one of our buildings constructed without a pre-existing collection," explained Secretary of the Smithsonian, David Skorton.

But now, the number of artifacts is close to 37,000, thanks to people who donated and loaned items to the museum. Many are devoted to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. -- photographs from his life, work, and funeral. The museum also has in its possession magazines, records, and buttons related to King.

But there are so many other stories told at the museum -- from slavery to the Black Lives Matter movement to the cultural impact of African Americans.

Skorton says the collection is as diverse as the people associated with it.

“At a time when social and political discord remind us that racism is, unfortunately, not a thing of the past, this museum can, and, I believe, will help advance the public conversation," he said.

For more information about the museum's collection, and how to secure tickets, click on "related links."

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