Smithsonian’s African American Museum

And Bag End Bass

Bag End Installed at Ntional Museum of African American History and CultureThe National Museum of African American History and Culture at night. The exterior is turned into a giant 3D movie screen playing significant historic moments in the country’s history.


Smithsonian’s African American Museum is a 400,000-square-ft. five story building. The museum includes exhibition space, a theater, café, staff offices, and an education center. The museum also includes many custom Bag End speakers. The Bag End Infra Series PS10E-I and PS12E-I subwoofers were designed to fit into the tight spaces. In addition, cosmetic finishes were applied to help blend the speakers into the background. Audio programs and systems throughout the museum were tuned and calibrated. Consequently, they have the best combination of tonal shaping and control of sound bleed between exhibits.

Audio and Acoustic Challenges

The most challenging exhibit design at this Smithsonian was the Musical Crossroads Gallery.  For example, this gallery features no less than 15 separate genres of music all playing in the same open space. The Smithsonian’s executive producer said: “The audio installations are brilliant!  I could stand in front of the Genre video monitors and hear – clearly – the audio for each video.  In short, it felt like the sound was coming from the screen (even though I saw where the speakers were placed). Each video was distinct and clear. More importantly, there was no interference from the rest of the audio in the gallery.  It was a great experience.” Connecticut based SH Acoustics designed of all the audio and acoustic delivery solutions.

The African American Experience

The founding director Lonnie Bunch said: “The museum is a place where everyone can explore the story of America through the lens of the African-American experience.” For example, metaphor and significance are crafted into the building. In addition, there are a number of prismatic angles and viewpoints known as “lenses,” or opportunities for visitors. Visitors can view the White House, Washington Monument, and other locations around the National Mall. Each from a unique framed perspective.

Bag End Loudspeakers can be found in many Smithsonian Museums.