The exhibits can evolve later to show Obama's impact and what comes next.
In planning for the future display, Pretzer and other curators listened closely to Obama's inauguration speech.
"Part of the dynamic is no longer, if it ever were, white and black. The dynamic is now generational. It is gender; he mentioned gay rights, so sexuality; as well as race," Pretzer said. "It was an 'E Pluribus Unum' speech. It was 'out of many, one.'"
Museum Director Lonnie Bunch said Obama's speech was more progressive and aggressive than his first inaugural. It framed the ongoing issues of women's rights, gay rights and immigration in the context of the historic struggle for equality.
"It reminded people that the story of America is not just about today and tomorrow, but it's also about yesterday," Bunch said. "The way he framed his discussion was: 'This history is not a black history. This is a history that has transformed America.'
"The question becomes, how effective is his administration as a model for what the presidency can accomplish?"