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Archived: Smithsonian to Exhibit 'Black Panther' Vibranium Suit, Other Items from History-making Film

Wakanda will now be officially a part of history.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has announced that it will feature a “Black Panther” exhibit. It will include Chadwick Boseman’s panther suit from the blockbuster film, copies of the script signed by director Ryan Coogler, production photos and pages from the initial script.


The items will also be featured at the inaugural Smithsonian African American Film Festival in D.C. from Oct. 24th-27th, which will also feature film screenings; discussions with filmmakers and scholars; and master classes on filmmaking, editing and storytelling.

“We are an institution that is committed to telling the story through the African American lens,” Rhea Combs, the museum’s curator of film and photography, told CNN. “What embodies the African American lens better than a film like ‘Black Panther'”

The movie that shattered box office records around the world brought life to the dreams Blacks have had for centuries. History records African slaves breaking free from Spanish colonization in the Caribbean mountains and hills in the 16th century and forming their own societies. Coogler (also of “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed”) has said Lesotho, the small kingdom in the middle of South Africa that escaped the worst of colonialism, influenced the movie in part.

Wakanda’s struggle to protect vibranium goes hand in hand with the real life Congo’s struggle, during the Cold War, to protect valuable uranium that had been used in the making of Hiroshima’s bomb.

The character of the Black Panther has also been claimed to pre-date the founding of the Black Panther Party by a few months, though its official Marvel debut was after the movement began.

It seems that history has had its less publicly celebrated Wakandas, but now it moves beyond the big screen to its formal place in American history as a movie that broke barriers in film and possibly in this country.

The “Black Panther” release has been called “a defining moment for Black America.”

The National Museum of African American History and Culture said it will reveal the exhibit open date and display details at a later time.

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