Owner Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys became the second NFL team to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture on Monday, per the museum’s sports curator Dr. Damion Thomas.
Half the NBA teams have toured the museum since it opened in 2016.
Thomas said he was excited when the Cowboys called and asked to tour the museum as a team.
He personally led them on a two-hour guided tour Monday morning before they opened it to the public.
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“We want them to be engaged and think about their history,” Thomas said. “It was a great visit. We saw a range of emotions. There was anger, moments of joy and moments of contemplation.”
Thomas said one of the most powerful moments was when they stopped at the cotton gin exhibit and Jones shared his own experience with picking cotton.
“Jerry Jones talked about his family coming from a share cropping background and that he picked cotton himself,” Thomas said. “Many players know Jerry Jones the owner but they didn’t know he picked cotton. It was a great chance to tell part of his family history as well.”
Thomas said the bonding and shared experiences are what makes the group trips special.
“It’s an honor to be able to share the history with the team,” Thomas said. “Hopefully, it will inspire others to come as well.”
In addition to visiting the museum, the Cowboys also stopped by the Lincoln Memorial before returning to Dallas.
It capped a bittersweet weekend in the nation’s capital following a 20-17 loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
The Cowboys also had a post-game dinner at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History Sunday night.
Dallas has a history of taking education trips under coach Jason Garrett. The team has visited the Navy Seals, the Tower of London, Ground Zero and NASA.