Published in The Washington Post

By Elizabeth Alexander

The story of a people is a million stories, and there are stories told in objects that let us remember but also teach us what we do not know.

Each family has its stories, and sometimes they come together as something collective, of a people. Objects of the sort that have been gathered in this museum—precious objects, handled by generations and thus infused with meaning and power—will allow visitors to recall known experience and passed-along tales. The mystery and force of collective memory is that we can access experiences that we might not have had ourselves but reside in a collective unconscious that the museum will make material.

The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent organization working to address inequality and build a future grounded in justice. For more than 85 years, it has supported visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. Today, with an endowment of $16 billion, the foundation has headquarters in New York and 10 regional offices across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

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