A Museum for the Community Historical

A Museum for the Community Historical (HM1WIL)

Location: Washington, DC 20020
Country: United States of America

N 38° 51.755', W 76° 59.547'

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An East-of-the-River View

—Anacostia Heritage Trail —

Across the street is the former Carver Theatre, built in 1948 as the first nonsegregated movie house in Southeast Washington. It closed in 1957 becoming, in turn, a roller rink, a church, and a funeral parlor.

Then a decade later, a museum moved in — one that changed the whole idea of what a museum can be.

Smithsonian Institution Secretary S. Dillon Ripley knew that most low­ income people did not go to museums, so he decided to bring a museum to them. Several DC neighborhoods vied for the privilege of having a branch of the Smithsonian, but Anacostia won, thanks to negotiating by DC Councilmember Stanley Anderson and citizens organized as the Greater Anacostia People's Corporation.

Until the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum opened in 1967, the Smithsonian had never produced a major exhibition on African American history or culture nor had it employed any African American curators. The museum tapped John Kinard, an anti-poverty worker and local activist with no museum experience, to run the new facility. Kinard later described the job as "a leap in the dark;' yet the creative risk paid off.

Many east-of-the-river residents now experienced museum-going for the first time. While early installations featured a model of a Mercury space capsule and dinosaur bones, soon, with community
input, the local story took center stage. Through exhibits on Anacostia's history, arts, and issues, visitors received the message: your history is important too. At Kinard's insistence, community youth helped design and produce much of the museums programming.

After the museum achieved national recognition for its exhibit "The Rat: Man's Invited Affliction" (featuring live rats), Kinard began looking for more space. In 1987 it moved to a new building at Fort Stanton Park and in 2006 became the Anacostia Community Museum.
Placed ByAnacostia Heritage Trail
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, January 16th, 2017 at 1:02pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 327129 N 4303413
Decimal Degrees38.86258333, -76.99245000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 51.755', W 76° 59.547'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 51' 45.3" N, 76° 59' 32.82" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2400-2404 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE, Washington DC 20020, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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