(SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION) – Speaking at the opening of the National Museum of African-American History, former U.S. President George W. Bush, said the the landmark institution shows America’s “commitment to truth” and its “capacity to change”.
Bush approved the creation of museum as president in 2003.
“It shows our commitment to truth,” he said at a ceremony attended by President Barack Obama and a numerous high profile celebrities and politicians.
“A great nation does not hide its history, it faces its flaws and corrects them,” he added.
The bronze-colored museum’s showcase sits on Washington’s National Mall, known as “America’s Front Yard.”
The 36,000 items in the collection range from trade goods used to buy slaves in Africa to a segregated railway car from the 1920s and a red Cadillac convertible belonging to rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Chuck Berry.
“Even today the journey towards justice is not complete,” Bush said. “But this museum will inspire us to go farther and get there faster.”
The opening of the museum on the Washington D.C., National Mall on Saturday comes at a time of heightened racial tensions in the country, much of it centered around controversy over police killings of African-Americans.