Set for its grand opening Saturday, the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., is attracting media attention this week as the newest museum on the National Mall in the nation’s capital.

The museum houses more than 37,000 artifacts of African American history and includes an exhibit called Power of Place, featuring ten communities that represent various facets of American history, seen through the lens of the African American experience.

Oak Bluffs is among them.

For many Islanders, the town’s rich history as a place that welcomed vacationing African Americans, not too many years after the ink was dry on the Emancipation Proclamation, is well known. And that history, including some of its complexity and contradictions, has been documented in the pages of the Gazette across more than a century.

But even to those steeped in the past, it is no less stirring to see the artifacts and stories from the Shearer Cottage, an inn built in 1912 that took in African American families vacationing on the Island who were unwelcome at other inns and hotels, or the depiction of the Congressman Adam Clayton Powell’s summer home, known as the Bunny Cottage.

“You would be hard pressed to have an exhibit space on Oak Bluffs and not have it be comfortable, have it be cozy, to reflect the warmth of the area,” historian Keith Strait told the Gazette during a preview tour of the museum last week. “That’s why people go there. That’s why people enjoy themselves. That’s why people keep coming back to Oak Bluffs.”

Two years ago when the exhibit was in the early planning stages, curator Paul Gardullo told the Gazette that he had been interested in finding places of leisure. But during research, he found that Oak Bluffs was more than that; it was a place of refuge.

Saturday when President Obama dedicates the new museum, Oak Bluffs will be a place of pride — for the Island and beyond.