By George Kevin Jordan
Even though the Anacostia Community Museum will be under renovation until the fall, off-site exhibits and activations are popping up all over D.C. Public Libraries and satellite spaces.
“What began as occasional program-based collaborations with the Library over the years has blossomed into a significant and supportive relationship,” said Lisa Sasaki, museum interim director, in a press release. “The renovation effort has afforded the museum an opportunity to extend the messages and themes of this exhibition, partner with a community-minded giant such as the Library and reach out to other agencies and audiences across the city in a new way.”
The satellite exhibits, which were based on the Adams Morgan, Anacostia, Brookland and Shaw sections of “A Right to the City,” are currently on view during regular library hours at the following locations: Mt. Pleasant, 3160 16th St. N.W.; Anacostia, 1800 Good Hope Rd. S.E.; Woodridge, 1801 Hamlin St. N.E. and Shaw, 1630 7th St. N.W.
There will also be community programming to compliment the satellite exhibits. Busboys and Poets, an “Offsite and in the City” partner, will present “A Right to the City Conversations Series,” a group of programs highlighting the satellite exhibit content. The first, a panel discussion entitled “Housing Rights in DC: Connecting Past and Present Struggles,” took place Wednesday, April 17 from 6:00 − 8:00 p.m. at the newly opened Anacostia location at 2003 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. S.E.
The museum has also partnered with the American University School of Communication to develop the D.C. Storytelling System, which features a telephone hotline (202) 335-7288, that allows listeners to hear oral history excerpts from the main exhibition and record their own personal stories. Other programming partners include: Martha’s Table, the Textile Museum at George Washington University and other Smithsonian institutions. An updated version of “A Right To City” exhibited is also expected when the museum reopens.
The museum’s $3.5 million renovation project will enhance its accessibility and make major improvements to the parking lot and entrance. The scope of the project requires the installation of barriers along the exterior perimeter, resulting in sidewalk and driveway closures and limited building access, according to information from the museum.
While the museum is the smallest of the Smithsonian’s entities, it is also the only one located in a residential area. In 2017 and 2018 the museum welcomed 37,000 and 33,705 visitors respectively.
According to data from the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems, about 82 percent of people live in urban areas. This is an increase from 64% in in 1950. Estimates have that number growing to 90% by 2050. The ACM continues to research and understand this dynamic while focusing on civic and community life, everyday traditions, art and creativity and the building of the natural environment.
The Anacostia Community Museum, located at 1901 Fort Place S.E., which was established in 1967, examines the impact of contemporary social issues on urban communities. The museum’s reopening is slated for mid-October. For general information, call (202) 633-4820; for program information, call (202) 633-4844. Website: anacostia.si.edu.
This article originally appeared in The Afro.