On Saturday, thousands of visitors are expected to attend the opening of the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Security is expected to be tight at the opening of the museum, especially with President Barack Obama expected not only to attend but also to give remarks. Other visitors of note include First Lady Michelle Obama as well as former president George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush.
“It’s a big event,’’ said Becky Haberacker, a spokeswoman for the museum. “It’s a big event here in the city of Washington and, of course, because the president is attending that always adds more security … We’re all working toward making sure this event is very safe and enjoyable for everybody coming.’’
Security efforts are being headed up by the National Park Service, working in concert with the Secret Service and Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department.
Lonnie Bunch, the museum’s director, noted that the biggest concern is simply the size of the crowd expected at the event.
“Basically the biggest challenge is preparing for the crowds,’’ he said. “The enthusiasm has been overwhelming … That is what of sort of keeps me up now — making sure that we can give the visitor the best experience when we open.’’