Anacostia Community Museum
Director: Camille Giraud Akeju
Total Full-time Employees: 18
Annual Budget (federal and trust) FY 2015: $3.2 million
Number of Artifacts: 2,978
Visitors (2014): 42,000
The Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum documents and interprets the impact of social and cultural issues on contemporary urban communities. Established in 1967 as the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, it served first as a Smithsonian outreach museum situated in one of the Washington, D.C.’s largely African American neighborhoods and later evolved into a museum which documented, preserved and interpreted African American history from local and community history perspectives. In 2006, the name of the institution was changed to the Anacostia Community Museum to reflect the expansion from ethnic themes and issues to broader cultural issues that resonate within communities.
Urban communities are primary sites where far-reaching economic, social and cultural changes are being played out. The museum’s research into issues and themes that resonate within urban communities allows residents in its surrounding neighborhoods to make links and connections between their communities and other urban centers. The Anacostia Community Museum brings scholarship and formal research to this inquiry, and engages memories and insights of community residents, stakeholders and others directly involved in the issues. The museum’s community-based documentation and research efforts include oral history interviewing, community survey and mapping projects, and community-based collecting. The museum’s Community Documentation Initiative makes museum research and collections accessible to the public. Subjects of interest include community development, gentrification and the effect of globalization and technological change on community life. This research is the basis for the development of exhibitions and programs under the museum’s expanded mission.
The museum collects artifacts, works of art, photographs, documents and paper records, audiovisual media, and other materials that help us understand how communities work. Collections development efforts focus on materials that document urban communities. The museum’s holdings include object, archival and media collections that explore and describe local, regional and national communities including extensive research and documentation material on east-of-the-river Washington, D.C., communities. Formerly, the Smithsonian Institution host museum for the Center for African American History and Culture, the museum also maintains object and archival collections on African American history. The archives, object collections and library are available to researchers by appointment.
The museum’s expanded emphasis on contemporary urban social and cultural issues guides the development and presentation of exhibitions which continue to enhance the museum’s world-wide reputation for cutting edge work. Exhibition themes explore issues such as urban waterways, immigration and urban community development.
Public Programming: The museum education department presents more than 100 stimulating public programs annually. Offerings include programs that interpret current exhibitions expanding on social, cultural and urban community issues as well as programs exploring family and community history and the natural environment. Designed to educate and entertain, programs are delivered in a variety of formats including workshops, films, concerts, lecture/demonstrations, panel discussions, symposia, artist studio tours and nature trips. Central to the department’s offerings are guided exhibition tours, which are available by request to families, community organizations, school groups and other groups visiting the museum.
Educational Programming: The department also offers educational programs to specialized audiences. The Museum Academy Program is a special two-tiered educational program that includes an after-school and summer program for elementary school students in targeted schools and a career awareness day for middle school students. Instituted in 1999, this program is designed to foster positive development through discovery, documentation and creative expression. The Museum Academy Program enables the museum to offer continuous age- and interest-appropriate opportunities in arts and culture, museum careers and specialized training.
Additional programs are delivered offsite to target specific groups such as seniors and at-risk youth. Also offered are professional development training sessions for teachers providing them strategies and resources on a variety of subjects. Most of these trainings can be provided for CEU credits.
About the Museum
The Anacostia Community Museum is located at 1901 Fort Place S.E. in Washington, D.C., and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. Information: (202) 633-4820; tours: (202) 633-4844; website: http://anacostia.si.edu. Follow the museum on Twitter@AnacostiaMuseum and like it on Facebook @Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum. Free summer weekend transportation to the museum from the National Mall and the Anacostia Metro is available from the Memorial Day weekend through Labor weekends on Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays. For more information, visit anacostia.si.edu.
# # #
Marcia Baird Burris
(202) 320-1735 (cell)