It's a plain truth that national museums in the U.S. have been humdrum at best, composed mainly of bricks and compromises. But if the six shortlisted designs for Washington, D.C.'s new National Museum of African-American History & Culture are any indication, things are changing. Though in the works since 2001, the museum has moved forward at a trickling pace. But finally, the shortlisted designs are on display through Friday at the Smithsonian. The architects themselves don't cluster into any identifiable trend.
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