16 photos to get you hyped for the Smithsonian's new black history museum.

On Sept. 24, 2016, more than 100 years after the idea was conceived, the National Museum of African-American History and Culture will open its doors.

The NMAAHC sits on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., just minutes away from the Washington Monument and the Capitol. It will soon be among the 19 museums and galleries of the Smithsonian Institution.

Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.


And though it's a dream decades in the making, like most good dreams, it's worth the wait.

"This Museum will tell the American story through the lens of African American history and culture," NMAAHC founding director Lonnie Bunch III said in a statement. "This is America’s Story and this museum is for all Americans."

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

The museum's collection was made possible thanks, in large part, to donated antiques, heirlooms, and treasures from ordinary people.

Curators hosted events across the country encouraging people to go through their homes in search of these rich artifacts that tell the story of African-American history.

From family heirlooms to things long-forgotten in attics and closets, the museum collected close to 40,000 items, just from helpful citizens. Their contributions fill the 400,000-square-foot museum and add character and context to these moving stories.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Visitors to the museum's Slavery and Freedom Gallery will come face to face with legends like Robert Smalls, a slave who stole his master's boat, rescued his family, and sailed to freedom.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

You'll also see symbols of oppression and violence, like these iron shackles.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Or this lash used to punish and intimidate without forgiveness.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Some of the items in the museum are larger than life, like this preserved slave cabin, complete with statue of freed slave turned entrepreneur Clara Brown.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Don't forget to look up or you'll miss this real plane used by the Tuskegee Airmen as they trained for World War II.

I'm guessing they didn't find this in someone's attic.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Guests can even see the dress Rosa Parks was wearing when her act of civil disobedience helped change the course of history.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

The role that African-Americans play in shaping popular culture in America cannot be denied. Which is why gold and platinum records from some of the world's most popular artists are on display too.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Not to mention Chuck Berry's iconic red Cadillac.

Chuck Berry's 1973 Cadillac. Photo by Preston Keres/AFP/Getty Images.

It doesn't end there. There's an entire exhibit on black film and African-Americans in Hollywood, complete with props and costumes.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

And were you looking for Carl Lewis' Olympic medals? Say no more.

He's still the only man to win gold in the long jump four Olympics in a row.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

How about a pair of Dr. Ben Carson's scrubs? The NMAAHC has you covered.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

No matter the exhibit, the National Museum of African-American History and Culture is truly a celebration of African-American persistence and achievement.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

And if you can't get to the museum but want to see more, don't worry: Some pieces may be on tour near you.

The museum's traveling exhibition, “Changing America,” has been on display at museums, universities, libraries, and cultural centers across the country since 2014, and it will continue through at least February 2018.

But if you're able to get to Washington, D.C., stop in. Like all of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., admission to the NMAAHC is completely free.

Plus, you'll get to see America like you've never seen it before: through the eyes of the builders, dreamers, fighters, and innovators that made so much of it possible.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

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But there, in the heart of Germany's capital city, strangers sat across from one another, staring into each other's eyes. To the uninitiated, it may look as though you've witnessed some sort of icy standoff. The truth, however, couldn't be more different.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."