The National Museum of African American History and Culture, responding to criticism for including Bill Cosby items in an exhibition on black entertainers, said Thursday it would acknowledge the numerous allegations against the comedian.
“Visitors will leave the exhibition knowing more about Mr. Cosby’s impact on American entertainment, while recognizing that his legacy has been severely damaged by the recent accusations,” Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the Smithsonian-affiliated museum in Washington, D.C., said in a statement.
“Some people feel that the Smithsonian should eliminate all mention of Bill Cosby as a result of recent revelations” that the 78-year-old comedy icon allegedly engaged in serial sexual assault decades ago, Bunch said.
“We understand but respectfully disagree,” he continued, adding, “Like all of history, our interpretation of Bill Cosby is a work in progress, something that will continue to evolve as new evidence and insights come to the fore.” Cosby has denied all accusations and has not been charged with any crimes, though he faces civil suits.
The exhibition “Taking the Stage” is scheduled to begin Sept. 24, the new museum’s opening day.