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Denzel and Pauletta Washington to host fundraiser for African American museum

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is expected to open Sept. 24. Fundraising for the $540 million building continues. (Photo by Michael R Barnes/National Museum of African American History and Culture)

Oprah Winfrey was an early supporter of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, but her Hollywood colleagues have been largely absent on the list of founding donors.

That could change this weekend.

Actor Denzel Washington and his wife Pauletta are hosting a fundraising event Saturday in their California home for the newest Smithsonian museum, set to open Sept. 24. Museum officials aren’t releasing a guest list, but the event should push them closer to their $270 million goal.

The NMAAHC has raised just over $252 million as of the end of last month, according to the Smithsonian campaign website. The federal government has already contributed $270 million, or half of the $540 million construction project.

Among the 104 donors who have given $1 million or more are Winfrey, who has donated at least $20 million, George Lucas and wife Mellody Hobson, Samuel L. Jackson and Smithsonian stalwarts  Robert and Arlene Kogod and David Rubenstein. Other notable contributors include Colin Powell, Hank Aaron and Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

Authorized by Congress in 2003, the museum is under construction on a five-acre site on the Mall, adjacent to the Washington Monument between 15th and 14th Streets. It will open with 11 inaugural exhibitions on the African American experience, including galleries on slavery, segregation and Civil Rights as well as music, sports and entertainment.

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