The National Museum of African Art is the Smithsonian Institution's African art museum. Its collections include 9,000 works of traditional and contemporary African art from both Sub-Saharan and Arab North Africa, 300,000 photographs, and 50,000 library volumes.
The museum was founded in 1964 by a Foreign Service officer and layman who bought African art objects in Germany and multiple houses in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in which to display them. The collection focused on traditional African art and an educational mission to teach black cultural heritage. To ensure the museum's longevity, the founder lobbied the national legislature to adopt the museum under the Smithsonian's auspices. It joined the Smithsonian in 1979 and became the National Museum of African Art two years later.