Now Showing is the first exhibition in the National Museum of African American History and Culture to feature augmented reality (AR). Through AR, visitors will have the unique opportunity to have an interactive experience with objects inside the gallery by using their mobile devices. Once inside the exhibition, visitors will go to hi.si.edu on their mobile web browser from their smart device and view exclusive content on various objects inside the exhibition.
Many of the items featured in Now Showing are from the Larry Richards Collection, a poster collection acquired by the museum in 2013 that includes more than 700 objects. This exhibition features original posters, lobby cards and select ephemera highlighting more than 70 years of African American image-making.
The exhibition is divided into four sections: Film Pioneers, The Problem of the Color Line, A Star Is Born and Black Power & “Blaxploitation”. Each thematic category highlights the role African American films have played on the perception of African American culture and broader society.
“Film can serve as a peek into ideals about culture and society,” said Rhea L. Combs, curator and head of CAAMA. “This exhibition introduces visitors to films featuring African Americans they may be less familiar with, and at the same time, it recognizes some of the most historically and culturally relevant films made over a 70-year period. The significant artistry and design work that goes into creating not only the films, but the posters that promote the films, are not to be underestimated. When one explores the long-standing history of African American images on screen, these posters become significant artifacts about the perception and perspective of race, gender and culture that have been a part of our social landscape for decades.”