This museum would appeal greatly to anyone with an interest in African culture. The Museum is recognized worldwide as the pre-eminent organizer of exhibitions and publisher of books devoted exclusively to historical and contemporary African art.
The museum's main entrance is situated off the gardens in front of the Smithsonian Castle on Independence Avenue Southwest.
Like the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the National Museum of African Art is an underground museum.
It connects directly to the Sackler Gallery via a subterranean passageway.
This site is often confused with the Museum for African Art in New York City.
In 1963, Robbins purchased half of a home at 316-18 A Street Northeast that had been the residence of abolitionist Frederick Douglass from 1871 to 1877.
When it opened in May 1964, it was the first museum in the United States dedicated to African art exclusively.
The Frederick Douglass Institute of Negro Arts and History was established in 1966.
In succeeding years, Robbins raised money to acquire the remaining half of the Douglass house, naming it the Museum of African Art.
As the collection grew, he purchased adjoining residences, with his museum ultimately including nine townhouses, 16 garages and two carriage houses.