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National Museum of African American History and Culture celebrates 1 year anniversary

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The National Museum of African American History and Culture changed the landscape of the National Mall, and it has become one of the Smithsonian's most popular museums, according to our local affiliate WJLA.

Known as one of the most sought after spots to visit in Washington, D.C., the museum celebrated its first anniversary this weekend.

The NMAAHC is just as popular today as it was on opening day, and it's being called a triumph and a treasure.

"There is so much you can't see it all," said Toni Garrett, who drove down from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to mark the anniversary.

For many people like Garret, it takes more than one visit to take in the entire experience.

"The first time I was here for six hours and I felt like I was rushing through the top to see more, and I came back and feel like I'm seeing things I didn't see the first time," said Garrett.

The beloved museum officially opened last year with President Barack Obama ringing a bell. Since then, nearly 3 million visitors have passed through taking in the stories of African American history, from slavery to the civil rights movement.

"There's some unpleasant and sad parts of this museum, but that makes it a part of life and I think people actually appreciate our ability to tell those stories that way and then show the fun parts and overcoming those obstacles," said Bill Pretzer, senior curator of history.

A year later, timed passes are still being snatched up months in advance.

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To mark the anniversary, the museum is extending its hours this weekend for two community days dubbed, 'A People's Gift.'

"It's our way of thanking those who have come to the museum, those who've donated objects to the museum and those who've done things to make the museum what it is," said Rex Ellis, associate director for curatorial affairs.

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