Thirteen years in the making, the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is just a few days away from its massive public launch on September 24 (complete with a three-day festival featuring a badass musical lineup).

On our visit yesterday (September 14) as part of a media preview of the museum, construction was still underway to prep for opening day. Workers wired lighting and hung artifacts, curators spoke to microphone-wielding reporters near label-less installations marked off by yellow tape and an entire floor was still closed.

Still, the ongoing work did not outweigh the emotional impact the museum seeks to inspire in visitors. Those who experience the exhibits as the museum intends first descend three floors into a subterranean section, using ramps to navigate upward through a series of exhibits that explore African-American oppression and resilience and triumph from slavery to the present. The top four floors feature exhibits that highlight Black America’s contributions to sports, art and pop culture. All of the exhibits are comprehensive in scope and jaw-dropping in emotional intensity, whether channeling catharsis or joy.

While you’ll have to experience the museum yourself to understand the full scope, these ten photos from the museum will get you started.

Brown metal in intricate pattern on building side Close-up of the NMAAHC's metal exterior, patterned after Yoruban caryatids (wooden depictions of women), hair wraps worn by many Black women and hands in prayer. Photo: Sameer Rao/Colorlines.

Blue airplane with yellow stripes and white number A PT-13D airplane used by the Tuskeegee Airmen in preparation for their historic flights and battles during World War II. Photo: Sameer Rao/Colorlines

Grey guard tower against pink background Top of an old guard tower used at Louisiana's Angola Penitentiary plantation, where Black incarcerated people were forced into brutal labor reminiscent of slavery. Photo: Sameer Rao/Colorlines

red bar stool with silver metal behind class case Stool, behind protective glass, from the Woolworth in Greensboro, North Carolina where Black protesters staged sit-ins to protest segregation in 1960. Photo: Sameer Rao/Colorlines

brown stone block with green plaque Auction block from an antebellum slave auction site. Photo: Sameer Rao/Colorlines

Multi-colored pins assorted in three rows of three next to brown book with green lettering Campaign pins from Shirley Chisholm's historic 1972 presidential campaign next to a copy of her autobiography, "Unbought and Unbossed." Photo: Sameer Rao: Colorlines

Three multi-colored costumes from Costumes from the original Broadway production of "The Wiz." Photo: Sameer Rao/Colorlines

Black hat with gold plaque and black lettering Standard hat worn by Pullman Porters, who formed the country's first all-Black labor union. Photo: Sameer Rao/Colorlines

Pink dress next to red dress behind glass case Dresses worn in concert by iconic singers (L to R) Dionne Warwick and Whitney Houston. Photo: Sameer Rao/Colorlines

white outfit and red wig next to black space ship with multiple-colored lights Clothes worn in concert by George Clinton (L) next to the P-Funk Mothership. Photo: Sameer Rao/Colorlines

For more photos and video from the NMAAHC, including our video interviews with visual arts curator Tuliza Fleming and Sweet Home Cafe executive chef Jerome Grant, check out yesterday’s posts on our Facebook and Twitter pages.