WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and former first lady Laura Bush will celebrate the groundbreaking for a new national museum showcasing black life, art and history on the National Mall.
The Smithsonian Institution announced Wednesday that Obama will speak at the Feb. 22 groundbreaking for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Actress Phylicia Rashad will host the event.
Early construction work has already begun at the museum site near the Washington Monument. Officials have said the museum is on track to open in 2015. Congress has pledged to provide half the cost of the $500 million museum project.
Designers for the project have been planning a layered bronze structure with a stone base.
Bush serves on the museum's advisory council with Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones and others.